There are thousands of charities out there all trying to raise awareness and support various causes. Many of them are well known nationally and internationally, and there are some you never know about. Some smaller, more specialist charities we never know about until we find ourself in a position where they are brought to our attention. In our case, Tommy’s is one of those charities. We never knew they existed until we found ourselves in their specialist bubble.
I wanted to dedicate a blog specifically to Tommy’s, because they have without a doubt, become a huge part of our lives. I’d like to talk about what Tommy’s have done for us, and what we are doing to try and give back.
Tommy’s is the UK’s largest charity which funds research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. They research the health complications that can increase the risk of pregnancy loss and ways of preventing it. Saving babies lives is their ultimate goal, as 1 in 4 babies dying is not acceptable! They have four research centres across the UK: St Thomas’ London, St Mary’s Manchester, The Royal Infirmary Edinburgh, and the newest National centre for Miscarriage research which runs across Birmingham, Coventry and London.
I will admit that I had never heard of Tommy’s until after my first miscarriage. A friend at work was asking for sponsorship for her little boy who was participating in a ‘Splashathon’ event at his swimming class. The money raised would go to ‘Tommy’s baby charity’. Intrigued by who they were, I went onto their website to investigate. I was drawn in immediately. Having lost our first pregnancy only a few weeks earlier, I felt a special bond for such an amazing charity. They touched my heart and I have never let them go.
Manchester Placenta Clinic
Little did I know that a few months later I would personally experience one of Tommy’s research centres. At our 20 week scan when we learned that Guy was growth restricted, we were offered a referral to the Placenta Clinic at St Mary’s in Manchester. We had no idea at the time that this clinic is funded by Tommy’s. How incredibly lucky are we that such a specialist centre is pretty much on our doorstep?
Here we met some amazing health care professionals, Consultant Ed Johnstone and Midwife Louise Stephens. We also met other members of their team, Emma and Jenny who I have spoken about in previous blogs, who are also extremely lovely. But Ed and Louise have left a huge imprint on our hearts, and we are eternally grateful to have met them. They put all the Tommy’s values and beliefs into practice, and run their clinics with such compassion, honesty and understanding.
Ed set up the placenta clinic at Manchester 5 years ago. He has collated huge amounts of research into the placenta and the risk factors that affect its ability to function properly. His knowledge are expertise are second to none, and he gave us the confidence to believe that we will be ok and get our rainbow baby (although that confidence is a little damaged at the moment given the recent miscarriage).
Louise has been our (my) rock these past 9 months and has remained by our side since Guy was (still)born. She always makes time to answer my queries when I ring or email, and has even made time for mini counselling sessions with a cuppa. She was there listening to my concerns through the last pregnancy, and found time to sit down with me and de-brief after the miscarriage.
Without Tommy’s funding this clinic and these brilliant professionals, we may never of met them. We’re so glad and so grateful that we did. They’re true Angels.
At the end of last year, Tommy’s launched a new campaign called #misCOURAGE. The aim and purpose was to encourage women to share their miscarriage stories to help break the silence and taboo of pregnancy loss. This gave me a great platform to share our story properly.
It was really difficult to talk through everything that had happened and then to read it back. It was so raw. We were able to share with people the true pain and tragedy we had gone through, and we were overwhelmed with the response. So many people opened up to me with their own miscarriage stories. It just shows how powerful and successful this campaign has been. You can read all the stories in their book of #misCOURAGE.
Our Fundraising so far
After Guy was (still)born, we asked friends and family to make donations to Tommy’s instead of sending flowers or gifts. Our work colleagues did collections for us, which we donated to the Manchester Placenta Clinic to help them renovate their counselling rooms. A small gesture for the wonderful care they gave us in those two weeks.
Martin signed up for the Manchester 10k in May and ran for Team Tommy’s, raising over £700! We were overwhelmed by everyones support. Along with family members, Louise even came to cheer Martin on. Talk about going the extra mile!
In July, my friend Michelle helped me organise a coffee morning as part of Tommy’s ‘Superhero Sensathon’ event. I prepared lots of cakes, and Michelle put her teacher skills to excellent use and created lots of sensory activities for the babies and toddlers. It was a huge success, and we raised over £400! We recently recieved a letter and prize from Tommy’s for being one of the top fundraisers for the sensathon event. Woop! Woop!
I don’t plan on stopping there. I’m going to plan another coffee morning/bake sale in November for Guy’s 1st birthday, and have set up a Tommy’s In Memory donation page for him (which can be found here if anyone would like to leave a gift in his name).
I’d like to think that by doing all this fundraising, we are not only helping our future babies, but also raising awareness of this wonderful charity and the work they do. Tommy’s give us hope for our future. Their hard work and research into miscarriage and Stillbirth gives us a lifeline, and that is something worth fundraising for.
A HUGE thank you to all our friends and family who have supported all our fundraising efforts this year. We couldn’t have done it without you!
I’m hoping that there will be a special part two to this blog, but it’s currently work in progress and may take a few weeks to put together. Keep your eyes pealed!