Tommy’s Birmingham team raise vital funds for miscarriage research

Researchers and clinicians from our National Centre for Miscarriage Research in Birmingham helped to raise essential funds for Tommy’s by taking on the 2.6 challenge. In this blog, they reflect on why Tommy’s work is so important.

June 29 2020

During these unprecedented times, we’re incredibly grateful that inspirational Tommy’s supporters all over country are finding innovative ways to fundraise for us, so that our vital work can continue.

The 2.6 challenge was launched earlier in the year to offer everyone the chance to support the UK’s charities, in lieu of the London Marathon which usually raises vital funds for hundreds of organisations but had to be cancelled because of the pandemic.

The premise was simple: individuals or groups were asked to come up with a premise based on the numbers 2 and 6. Several members of the team at Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research in Birmingham came up with their own versions of the 2.6 challenge, and raised an amazing £396. 

In this blog, the team reflect on what motivated them to undertake this fundraising challenge and why they believe the work of Tommy’s is so essential.

Oonagh Pickering

Lead Research Nurse for Tommy’s in Birmingham
Challenge: 2.6 mile run

“There is a genuine delight in the team when we get news of a baby being born from our patients. We see the darkest of times, the hope and courage, and often the amazing news when parents tell us their baby has arrived.”

My area of interest has always been early pregnancy, and especially looking after women and couples going through miscarriage. Every day I meet women and their families who are robbed of the joy and hope of a positive pregnancy test because of recurrent miscarriage.

I believe that these women should be supported through early pregnancy, and miscarriage if it happens again. They should be referred to specialist clinics to assess if there is a reason for the recurrent miscarriages. Through research, we can develop ways of finding reasons for some of the miscarriages that happen and - we hope - give these patients a better chance of having their baby.

I am proud to work within the team in Birmingham for Tommy’s, and I am lucky enough to spend time with our patients during early pregnancy.

Tommy’s funds the team of nurses, doctors and scientists that carry out vital research to improve the care for recurrent miscarriage, and we know the massive difference this research makes because we see it first hand with our brave patients. But we also know there is so much more needed. We are excited for the future, and we know we have more to do.

Oonagh’s son, Ronan, also completed a 2.6 mile cycle and donated to Tommy’s. We’d like to say a huge thank you to Ronan!

Justin Chu

Honorary Clinical Lecturer in Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Challenge: 2.6 mile run

“It’s clear that Tommy’s pioneering research and services are really important to our patients and it’s vital they continue.”

Over the past few months, during the covid-19 pandemic, we have been working very hard to make sure that women experiencing miscarriage are still well looked after. With such anxiety and concern in these unprecedented times, never has it been more important to make sure we communicate well and keep our patients reassured that they will receive amazing care.

I have been working on the early pregnancy assessment unit at the Birmingham Women’s Hospital and I’ve been able to reassure and help many patients who find themselves in difficult situations.

Rajinder Kaur

Centre Manager
Challenge: 2.6 mile run with her daughter Aria

“I believe all parents deserve the opportunity and support they need to have a healthy pregnancy and the funding from Tommy’s is making this possible.”

The research done by the team in Birmingham is crucial in providing understanding into miscarriage and is improving pregnancy outcomes for so many families.

Marcelina Podesek

Research Support Administrator
Challenge: 2.6km cycle

“Our work couldn’t be done without Tommy’s support towards the vital research enabling gaining better understanding of miscarriage and the best ways to prevent it.”

Everyone at Tommy’s is committed to providing families with the care, support and answers they deserve. We understand that it is even more difficult during current situation, but as a team we are still fully dedicated to work towards better future for parents facing the challenging times.

Leanne Beeson

Senior Trial Manager
Challenge: 2.6 mile run and 26 minutes of bouncing ball on tennis racket

“It’s vital that Tommy’s can continue to fund important research into the causes of and treatments for miscarriage, to prevent this happening to couples in the future.”

Through my work on the MifeMiso trial, which is looking at which is the best treatment for medical management of missed miscarriage and is supported by Tommy’s, I’m aware of the heartbreak that miscarriage can cause for couples. Miscarriage is unfortunately very common, with up to 1 in 4 pregnancies ending in miscarriage.

Jennifer Tamblyn

Clinical Lecturer Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Challenge: 26 push-ups

“Advancing our understanding of how different immune cell types may be involved in early implantation failure is extremely important - and is being made possible with the support of Tommy’s.”

I am a clinical researcher and a member of Tommy’s recurrent miscarriage team at Birmingham Women’s Hospital. I am particularly interested in the role of the mother’s immune system in recurrent pregnancy loss.

To care for women going through baby loss within a dedicated specialist service is only possible with the amazing support of Tommy’s charity.

A huge thank you to the team

Coronavirus is creating higher demand for support from Tommy’s that ever before, with many anxious parents-to-be and women going through baby loss unsure where to turn for help in lockdown – but at the same time, it’s wiping out a lot of the funds we expected to raise this year because we can’t hold the big events we usually would.

When our work matters more than ever and our funding is under such pressure, we’re extremely grateful to the passionate and committed team in Birmingham. Thank you so much!

More about Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research

Miscarriage is the most common pregnancy complication, with 1 in 4 women experiencing at least 1 miscarriage during their reproductive lifetime. This also represents a quarter of all pregnancies affected by loss, devastating families.

Tommy’s believes that the current situation can and must change – so in 2016, we opened the UK’s first national centre dedicated to miscarriage research. It is the biggest research centre focused on miscarriage in Europe.

Tommy’s National Centre for Miscarriage Research focuses on 4 key themes based on the questions asked by those who experience miscarriage:

  • Why did my miscarriage happen?
  • Will it happen again?
  • Can we prevent it happening again?

Read more about Tommy's National Centre for Miscarriage Research

Explore Tommy's pioneering research

  • Predicting and preventing premature birth

    Premature birth is the biggest killer of newborn babies in the UK and much of Tommy's research is devoted to predicting and preventing this. One discovery has made a huge difference to our ability to treat women in time.

  • Finding the reasons for stillbirth

    In more than half of stillbirths parents are not given a reason for their babies' death. Doctors simply do not know why it happens. This animation looks at how Tommy's researchers are finding out the causes of stillbirth and how this leads to treatments and saved lives.

  • Finding the reasons for miscarriage

    Too many miscarriages are unexplained. Our research is entirely dedicated to finding out why miscarriages happen and how to prevent it in the future.

Read more Tommy's news

  • A nurse taking a patients blood pressure in a hospital room

    News

    Pregnancy is a unique chance to predict health risks to mums

    A recently published article, co-authored by Professor Catherine Williamson from Tommy’s Research Centre at King’s College London, suggests that certain pregnancy complications can indicate future health issues for women.

  • Rising demand for Tommy's midwives in coronavirus lockdown

    News

    Tommy’s awarded grant to help meet rising demand for support during coronavirus lockdown

    Tommy’s has received a grant from the UK Government’s Department for Health and Social Care to support the costs of its PregnancyHub information and support services throughout the summer, due to rising demand in the wake of coronavirus.

  • Tommy's researchers latest findings

    News

    Tommy’s Research Centres continue vital work on pregnancy complications

    Although recruitment to some clinical trials had to be paused when coronavirus hit the UK, scientists at Tommy’s Research Centres across the UK are still hard at work, supporting women and families in our specialist clinics and sharing their latest studies with academic journals.

  • Blog

    Miscarriage during lockdown

    The day before Mother’s Day, and two days before the UK officially went into coronavirus lockdown, Zara Dawson found out she was having a miscarriage. Her third consecutive miscarriage in less than a year, and fourth consecutive loss, after losing her second son Jesse in 2018 to termination for medical reasons.