Peterborough SANDS is a regional division of the National Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity (SANDS). Tragically and without an obvious reason 17 babies every single day in the UK are born as stillbirths or die soon after (11 due to stillbirth and 6 neonatal deaths) this amounts to a staggering 6,500 deaths of babies every single year; on their website SANDS liken this to ’16 jumbo jets crashing every year with no survivors’. Like most people, I too thought that stillbirths and neonatal deaths were a relic from the distant past and not a common feature of our ‘advanced’ and ‘modern’ lives. The shocking truth is that 6,500 families every year are devastated by the loss of their baby; with ten times more stillbirths every year than cot deaths. For the majority of us these sad facts remain hidden and we only become aware of these issues when we read in the press about public figures such as Lily Allen and Amanda Holden losing their babies.
SANDS is charity that provides much needed support and guidance for parents and their families who are suffering from the loss of a baby. Although, SANDS is a national charity they now have almost 100 regional support groups such as Peterborough SANDS, which are run by and for bereaved parents. Helen Cross and her husband Steve established the Peterborough division of SANDS after their own son Jack was born a stillbirth in July 2008. They now use their own experience to help other grieving parents come to terms with the loss of their baby, as well as raising money for research and working alongside Peterborough City Hospital to help improve the maternity services for bereaved parents.
At present Peterborough SANDS is looking to provide Peterborough City Hospital with two portable CD/MP3/Radio systems for their bereavement suite. Helen explained to me that these music systems will be used by bereaved parents that will be staying in the hospital following the loss of their child as well as being used by labouring women who will be delivering a stillborn baby. These modest items will bring some much needed small comfort to parents in the darkest moments of their life and bring a modicum of distraction and focus. To this end, Peterborough SANDS is seeking donations from anyone who could provide one or both portable stereo systems or anyone who could provide a generous discount for such a worthy cause.
If you are local to Peterborough and have suffered the loss of baby either through stillbirth, miscarriage or neonatal death whether this is recently or a long time ago and you feel you need support then follow this link to the Peterborough SANDS contact page. For those who are in need of support that live outside of Peterborough then here is the link for the SANDS support page.
If you are reading this and would like to lend your support to those who have experienced the loss of a baby then SANDS are running a campaign entitled Why17? and are seeking pledges of support. You can also donate to Peterborough SANDS by following this link.
I urge you to help Peterborough SANDS to help bereaved parents by sharing this article through Facebook, Twitter, Email, Google + or any other social media you can.