Thornbury midwives walk to help stillbirth charity

May 02 2022
Thornbury midwives walk to help stillbirth charity

A GROUP of midwives from Thornbury and Yate are preparing to take on a gruelling 24-hour walk in aid of a charity that helps families who experience the tragedy of stillbirth.

A team of seven women are walking 100km non-stop along the Cotswold way in June, to raise funds for SANDS, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity. 

They will have to walk through the night to make sure they make the finish line in one go. 

The idea was formed when Jo Sleeman, from Thornbury, was enjoying a picnic with friend and fellow midwife Maëla Goumy.

Maëla had received support from SANDS after she had suffered a stillbirth delivery herself, and had decided the time had come to give something back to the organisation. Another member of the team, Victoria Guzman, from Thornbury, was also supported by the charity after losing a baby.

Jo said:  “The reaction has been great, we’ve had a lot of people talking to us and supporting us on our training walks around Thornbury. 

"The momentum is growing, it’s starting to feel very real, we have a feeling we really have to do it now!

As a professional you experience baby loss but two of us have also experienced a personal loss, so it’s a professional story but also a private story.

"Their ability to put one foot in front of the other is inspiring, let alone their return to work as midwives. 

"They continue to compassionately care for and feel joy for others becoming new parents, whilst growing around their own grief. 

"Caring for women and their partners when a baby dies is both challenging and the greatest privilege.  It never gets easier.

"The death of a baby is not a rare tragedy.  Every day in the UK around 14 babies die before, during or soon after birth. 

"That means nearly every two hours a family is faced with the devastation of the death of their baby." 

The team, a mixture of hospital and community based midwives, originally hoped to raise £4,500 for SANDS, but thanks to online pledges and additional fundraising efforts including cake sales, hand-knitted hat sales and non-uniform days, that target has been reached ahead of schedule, and now they hope to raise thousands of pounds more by the time of their walk on June 25-26.

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