Rainbow Race for stillbirth research returns to Manchester

Rainbow Race returned to Platt Fields Park in Manchester on Sunday 18 September and raised almost £6,000 to support our work.

Babies, toddlers, parents, and staff from the Tommy's Rainbow Clinic, The University of Manchester, and Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) dressed up in their most vibrant rainbow outfits for the 1km dash – with running, walking, hopping or skipping around the course encouraged. 

The second annual race was followed by a picnic and bake sale, bringing together families who have experienced a stillbirth to remember their babies. 

The event also gave our Tommy's Stillbirth Research Centre team and Saint Mary’s Hospital Oxford Road campus Manchester Rainbow Clinic staff the opportunity to reunite with the parents of rainbow babies the team have helped deliver over the past few years.

More than 260 supporters donated a total of £5,950 to the event’s runners, beating the Manchester team’s £5,000 target.

Dr Lucy Higgins, Consultant Obstetrician at Saint Mary's Hospital, said:

“The Rainbow Race brought our community together to remember those babies who could not be taken home, and to celebrate their siblings. It was the most wonderful celebration, made all the more special by getting to see the cheeky children we were able to help bring safely into the world. We also surpassed all our fundraising expectations, raising almost 3 times as much money for Tommy’s as we did last year. We’re already starting to plan #RainbowRace2023 and we would welcome any other Rainbow Clinic sites getting involved and running their own events too!”

“Thanks to everyone who made the event possible. From the awe-inspiring parents Nic Sobolewski and Joanne Hanson-Halliwell, to our ever-resourceful Rainbow Clinic and Placenta Clinic midwives Emma Tomlinson and Suzanne Thomas, and Victoria Palin and Michelle Desforges (University of Manchester researchers and public engagement team members), and everyone who helped on the day. Final thanks to our Rainbow Clinic families, who remain our inspiration to do better, to find more ways to help, and to find solutions to pregnancy problems.” 

Rainbow Race was organised by the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre (a joint department between The University of Manchester and MFT), based at Saint Mary’s Hospital – part of MFT

As the only stillbirth research centre in the UK it is leading the way on how to reduce stillbirth by working to understand the causes of stillbirth, prevent stillbirth by finding ways to tell who is at risk, and develop guidance on maternity care for health professionals to reduce the risk of stillbirth.

The Manchester Rainbow Clinic provides specialised care and support for parents who have suffered a stillbirth or neonatal death. Based on the clinic’s success, Rainbow Clinics have now been rolled out across the UK.

Since 2010 the stillbirth rate in the Greater Manchester area has reduced by 32% - much better than other parts of the country.

But sadly, rates of stillbirth in England and Wales increased between 2020 and 2021 – the first rise in 7 years – and rates continue to vary significantly between different areas. Now, more than ever, Tommy’s research is vital for saving babies’ lives.