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York charity helps raise awareness for infant loss


It is one of the most devastating things any parent can experience. In the UK around 60,000 babies are born prematurely a year.

During the month of June the charity SANDS has created an awareness month, where everyone works together to increase awareness of stillbirth and neonatal death.

York SANDS is a local charity on a mission to try and support families, friends or anyone affected by infant loss in and around the York area.

Kim from York SANDS said there were two specialist rooms at York Hospital where families stay for up to 48 hours to say goodbye to their babies.

She added: “We have on call a group of volunteer photographers who come in and discreetly take beautiful pictures of the babies and their families. They will be given in time an album of their family.

“We offer home visits for as long as they are needed. At meetings parents will meet other parents in similar situations, at this point mothers usually make lasting friendships and support each other.”

‘Finding words’

SANDS are on a mission to change the taboo around infant loss. They have launched a ‘finding words‘ campaign to try and break the silence around baby loss.

They need your help to change this.

#FindingTheWords  is a vision of a world where fewer babies die and where every bereaved family, wherever they live in the UK, gets the care and support they need, when they need it, for as long as they need it.

The hashtag already has lots of support on twitter:

I’m #soproud to have birthed my daughter naturally. She was stillborn but I did it with help from my amazing Midwife. I’m #soproud to have held her, even just for a short time. @millihill #findingthewords #stillbirthisstillbirth— Clare Worgan (@clare_worgan) August 13, 2018

Thank you Helly for your words on what Sands means to you.#findingthewords— Sands (@SandsUK) May 9, 2019

There is also a short video to try and break the silence around infant loss. By sharing this video on social media, you’ll help people to find the words to talk about baby loss.

In 2017 the charity highlighted that 15 babies die every day, before, during or shortly after birth in the UK.

Their #15babiesaday initiative invited everyone to take part in a #90minutechallenge to help save babies’ lives.

Each day on average 15 families will experience the stillbirth or neonatal death of their precious and much-loved baby.

The butterfly appeal

York SANDS bereavement officer at the York hospital says that ‘ This is an appeal that has been launched by the hospital to raise money for a new bereavement room.’

‘The funds raised by the butterfly appeal will go towards a new bereavement room which will replace the current room.’

‘The hospital bereavement team have fantastic links with York SANDS which is so important and they hold drop in sessions at the hospital on the first wed of each month.’

Anyone affected by the death of a baby, at any stage of pregnancy, or any one that dies shortly after birth for any reason is welcome to attend the meetings run by York SANDS.

There are many ways that you can get involved such as; donating , running for York hospital in the York 10k or host your own fundraising event such as a coffee morning or dress down day with your colleagues, friends and family or school.

If you are affected by anything in this article and are from York and the surrounding areas wanting support visit the charities website, facebook or twitter.