Swindon Stillborn and Neonatal Death Support (SANDS) is a local charity operating on behalf of parents who have been devastated by the loss of a baby, either during pregnancy or shortly after birth.
Charity chair Cathy Milburn is herself a bereaved Mum, whose son Adam Lee was stillborn in January 2007. “When a baby dies your whole world stops. My little Adam was delivered in Torquay, where they had a SANDS sponsored suite at the hospital.
“When we moved to Swindon we found there was no support for families in our situation so I looked into setting up a SANDS group in the area, which began officially in July 2008.”
“One of the most helpful things when you have lost a baby is to be able to talk to someone who has been there, as you can feel so so alone and it really does take a long time to build yourself back up. You never get over it, you just find a way of living with it,” said Cathy.
The charity operates a support line, email, website, newsletters and monthly meetings. They also provide Great Western Hospital with precious Memory Boxes containing a blanket, a pair of teddy bears and a camera for parents to remember their baby.
“In my case the midwives were brilliant and encouraged us to hold Adam and spend time with him,” said Cathy. “But the worst feeling in the world is leaving the hospital empty-handed, which is why we wanted to provide the memory boxes, to help focus families’ minds on creating memories in the short time they have, and to leave the hospital holding something.”
The group is always looking for volunteers to knit the tiny baby blankets, especially for babies delivered between 14-20 weeks.
To help with all the funding the group is holding a masquerade ball on 28 August at Alexandra House Conference Centre in Wroughton. Tickets are £40 each. (See advert on right for details)
Contact www.swindonsands.org. Support line 01793 238788.