A team of Tommy’s runners, including Joseph Cassidy, took to the streets in the London Landmarks Half Marathon to raise money for Theo’s Hope, an appeal to support families who have experienced stillbirth.
Theo's Hope appeal was set up by Amanda in memory of her son Theo, who was stillborn at seven months, to provide two bereavement counsellors supporting the Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic at at St Mary’s Hospital, Manchester.
Joseph was moved to run with Amanda's Theo Hope team, having been through the heartbreak of stillbirth with his partner two years ago.
'On the 3 February 2017 our hearts were broken when our baby girl was stillborn at 29 weeks. Our daughter Ariana Hope, had a very rare neck teratoma which the team at St Mary’s and Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, Manchester were hoping to surgically remove soon after her planned delivery at 32 weeks. Sadly Ariana never made it this far,' says Joseph.
But the heartache of baby loss did not stop there. Seven months later, his partner went on to fall pregnant again, but this time the pregnancy was ectopic, and in her fallopian tube. She lost the baby, and had to have one of her fallopian tubes removed.
When Jessica fell pregnant again, she was then referred to the Tommy's Rainbow Clinic at Manchester, where their healthy baby was delivered in January this year.
'The Tommy's Rainbow Clinic in Manchester was an invaluable source of support to all of us. They provided us with extra reassurance scans in their dedicated clinic, away from the hustle and bustle of the ‘normal’ antenatal departments and kept a very watchful eye on our little bundle.
'We were never prepared to lose our baby girl. Her loss ripped the family apart. My Mrs used a counsellor but I bottled it all up. I have good mates, and thought I’d be alright.'
Joseph has so far raised £2,455 for Theo’s Hope. Commenting on his commitment to fundraising, Joseph said:
'I'm keen to provide a bereavement counsellor for people who have gone through a loss such as this, it should really help them deal with the pain.'
Tommy’s research aims to reduce stillbirth rates by finding the missing links between stillbirth, the placenta, and the baby’s growth. Most of our stillbirth research takes place in our Manchester Research Centre, where we have made great progress in our Rainbow and Placenta Clinics. Research focuses on three main areas:
1. Understanding the causes
2. Treatment and prevention
3. Improving care for women at risk of, and following, a stillbirth
Today marks the start of the first Neonatal Mental Health Awareness Week, raising awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by families when they have a baby in neonatal intensive care.
New specialist mental health services have been rolled out across the country, following a pledge made by health officials in May 2018.
New research funded by Tommy's and carried out by King's College London looked at what women think about how mental health and wellbeing is dealt with during antenatal appointments
New research has led to NHS offering pregnant women a new blood test to check severe risk of pre-eclampsia.