Opening of the Myrtle Suite, Northwick Park, September 2018
After many months of hard work, the Myrtle Suite at Northwick Park Hospital was opened on Wednesday 12th September. The opening ceremony was performed by Rakhee Thakrar, actress and Sands Ambassador.
Marva Wilson, Bereavement Midwife, paid a special tribute to West London Sands for all the help and support, both practical and financial, that they have given in helping to create the Suite. She said that, having come across West London Sands seven years ago, she now has a new definition of the meaning of “support” which was simply “a combination of Paula, Karen, and Lynn!” Lynn commented that all the funds contributed to the Myrtle suite were a result of the fund-raising efforts of our parents, two of whom were there for the opening.
Located in a quiet area of the maternity ward, the room is decorated neutrally to keep it light and it offers a tranquil, private place for parents to grieve in comfort with their immediate family. There is a sofa, an ensuite bathroom, kitchen area with tea and coffee-making facilities and a television.
From the pictures you will see just how much care and thought has gone into creating this space for parents, where they will be able to spend time and create memories of their precious baby.
West London Parent ran two Marathons last year
Congratulations and heartfelt thanks to local parents Jess and Rahul. Last year Rahul ran 1992km including two marathons in Paris and Berlin for Sands and the Brain Research Trust. Rahul and Jess lost their son in 2013 and wanted to do something to raise awareness and funding for Sands research and practical support. They raised over £2000 for Sands and £1344.83 of this for West London Sands. This has helped us, amongst other things, to furnish the new Bereavement suite at Northwick Park hospital which officially opens on Wednesday 12 September 2018.
Read more from Rahul:
“When we lost our son in 2013, I would never have guessed how much he would have taught us in his short life and death. We felt the profound compassion of the staff who cared for my wife and son and saw their efforts to repurpose our room from one to welcome life to a gateway to limbo and healing. Sands and its members helped us grieve, and grow.”
“As time progressed, we wanted to give back to that community. My wife helped bring Northwick Park and Sands together and we supported training events. Three years on, I wanted to do something to raise awareness and funding for Sands’ research and practical support. So I decided to run a marathon. I ran for Sands and the Brain Research Trust. I enjoyed sharing the journey leading to the marathons with new and old friends. For some, it gave a first outlet to recognise or discuss what happened. The marathons ended up, in truth, being just certificates for the running I did over 20 months. And each of those hundreds of runs were powered by my love unspent, and the love I had received.”
West London Sands Befriender Donates Cuddle Cot for Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital
West London Sands Befriender, Karen and her husband Angus, recently donated a cuddle cot to Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital in memory of their son Rory, born on 5 December 1998, for his 20th anniversary this year. The cuddle cot will give parents an opportunity to spend as much time as possible with their babies in the room with them. This is something Karen and Angus never had and would have loved.
“Happy Mum, Happy Baby” Podcast about Baby Loss
If you have a quiet hour, this episode of the “Happy Mum, Happy Baby” podcast is worth a listen. Gi speaks about baby loss with Elle Wright and Michelle Cottle who share their experiences and thoughts on life, pregnancy and parenting after loss.
West London Sands Fund Recliner Chairs for Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital
West London Sands recently funded two new recliner chairs for Queen Charlotte’s and Chelsea Hospital.
West London Sands Fund Sofa-beds for Hillingdon Hospital and Northwick Park Hospital
West London Sands recently funded smart new sofa-beds for Hillingdon and Northwick Park Hospitals – thanks to the fund-raising efforts of our parents.
Here is the sofa-bed for Hillingdon’s delivery room:
And here is the Northwick Park sofa-bed, a vibrant colour specially chosen as the room is very dark:
There is no dedicated bereavement room at either of these hospitals, but we are working with staff to improve the rooms that are used for the birth of precious stillborn babies. Dads, or other friends or family, are now be able to stay overnight in comfort.
West London Parent runs London Marathon for Sands
A huge congratulations to one of our parents Nick who has run the 2017 London Marathon for Sands in a very impressive time of 4 hours 6 minutes. Nick ran the marathon in honour of his daughter Ella, who was very sadly stillborn at full term on 10th September 2015.
Nick has raised a staggering £50,000 making him the events second biggest fundraiser.
Here are some photos of Nick, his wife Laura and their family and friends on the big day:
West London Sands has dedicated a leaf on the memorial tree at Mortlake Crematorium to remember all the babies of our West London Sands parents.
West London Sands Fund Quiet Room for Hillingdon Hospital
West London Sands would like to thank parents for their fundraising and donations. Your kind donations have gone towards funding a quiet room for families in the antenatal clinic at Hillingdon Hospital.
Here are some photos of the newly decorated room and our chairwoman Lynn officially opening it.
West London Sands Receives Sizeable Donation from Mortlake Crematorium
West London Sands (WLS), part of the national Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity, has received a generous donation of £4,444 from Mortlake Crematorium.
WLS helps bereaved parents in the West London area, their families and their friends. They have trained volunteer Befrienders who can offer support over the phone and online, and through monthly group meetings. They also work closely with local hospitals, providing both specialised bereavement training and financial help to improve maternity facilities.
Mortlake Crematorium is very supportive of the work done by West London Sands and has also developed a lovely new children’s garden on site, which is where representatives of both organisations met for the celebratory handing over of the cheque
“We are extremely grateful to the Mortlake Crematorium for making this generous donation to West London Sands,” said Lynn Lacey, Chair, WLS. “It will help us to continue our work of helping bereaved parents, promoting staff training and supporting our local hospitals.”
“We have been aware for some time of the great work that WLS do in helping families who have suffered the loss of a baby,” said Natasha Bradshaw, Superintendent and Registrar at Mortlake. “We were keen to donate to a local charity and it was particularly fitting to hand over the cheque in our new children’s garden.”
The Waterbugs and Dragonflies Babies and Children’s Memorial Garden at Mortlake was completed in November 2015 and is dedicated to the memory of babies and children. The garden is based on the children’s story “Water bugs and Dragonflies” by Doris Stickley. WLS parent, Candace Moses, said: “The garden is a lovely tranquil space for bereaved parents.” There is a sculptured memorial tree where a leaf can be dedicated to remember a baby or child.
From left Karen, Paula, Candace, Natasha, Ruth and Lynn – all WLS committee members, apart from Natasha (Mortlake) and Candace, who is a WLS parent.
The Waterbugs and Dragonflies Babies and Children’s Memorial Garden
West London Sands are proud to sponsor the Mama Wellbeing Wallets for the Hillingdon Hospital NHS Trust.
MAMA Academy is positive about pregnancy and committed to raising awareness of what can be done to help save babies’ lives. The wallets are printed front and back with key health messages to help promote safer pregnancies.
To learn more about MAMA Academy please visit: www.mamaacademy.org.uk
Sands Awareness Month 2016
June is Sands Awareness Month, when we all work hard to increase awareness of stillbirth and neonatal death and the everlasting impact experienced when a precious baby dies during pregnancy, at birth or shortly afterwards. While many more people are aware of the pain of baby loss because of the work of Sands and others, many people still have no idea and it remains a taboo subject. More recently we’ve all made a lot of progress in breaking the silence, but there is a long way to go. This is a chance for us all to do our bit, no matter how small, to make people listen; to highlight the fact that over 100 babies will die each week during the month of June and to raise vital funds so that Sands can continue to support, research, and improve.
This year will see the launch of our Walk a Mile in My Shoes event, as well as continuing with the Sands orange themed events including our Orange Fridays and Orange Challenge Events, as well as Bake4Sands.
More information on events can be found here: www.uk-sands.org/get-involved
5 for 5 challenge
A brilliant, yet simple idea by Mum, Aoife, in honour of the year her first son should have turned five years old.
“The 5 for 5 Challenge is a completely personalised event. We want you to complete a challenge over the course of 2016 that will benefit you at the same time as benefiting our chosen charities, Sands and Tommy’s. Simply choose a challenge around the theme of FIVE!”
Simply decide how you’re going to challenge yourself – it could be by running your first 5k, or by knitting 5 sets of mittens – anything goes! If you can raise funds through sponsorship of your challenge, please create your own JustGiving page, linking it to the 5 for 5 Challengers team page. You will be able to track your progress individually as well as the team’s £5000 target.
If you’re stuck for ideas, take a look at Aoife’s ideas page for inspiration.