June 19 2020
This week, three of Tommy’s internationally renowned scientists from our Manchester Centre took part in a ‘Hair Off’ challenge to raise vital funds for research into stillbirth.
Centre Director Professor Alex Heazell was joined by two colleagues, Professor Ed Johnstone and Professor Jenny Myers, for a socially distant head shaving session – which was captured on camera so that all their supporters can watch from home and feel part of the hair-raising event.
Despite being already busy enough driving ground-breaking research studies and providing specialist care for women with high-risk pregnancies, our professors made the bold decision to organise this because fundraising at Tommy’s – like many charities – has taken a big hit with event cancellations in coronavirus lockdown.
The team set themselves an ambitious target of £1,000 but this was quickly surpassed; their fundraising total currently sits at an impressive £3,667. We hope this continues to rise and you can donate via the team’s JustGiving Page.
“Although we’re always in awe of our pioneering professors in Manchester, this is a particularly special moment! Coronavirus is creating higher demand for support from Tommy’s, 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 Alex, Ed and Jenny - and all their generous sponsors - for this inspirational fundraising effort.”
Jacqui Clinton, Tommy’s Fundraising Director
More about our Manchester Centre
Opened in 2011, our pioneering research centre in Manchester aims to find solutions to pregnancy problems. The centre focuses on 3 core aims:
- understanding the causes of stillbirth and developing treatments to prevent it
- finding ways to identify which pregnancies are at risk
- working with the NHS to improve antenatal care to help reduce stillbirth rates in the UK.
Tommy’s researchers deliver world-class advances in pregnancy research to inform better clinical care, policy and practice. By doing this, we can improve outcomes for mothers, their babies and their families.
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.
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.
Too many miscarriages are unexplained. Our research is entirely dedicated to finding out why miscarriages happen and how to prevent it in the future.
In this Q&A, we sit down and chat with with Tom Willmott, a researcher based at Tommy’s Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre in Manchester. He gives a rare insight into a novel and exciting area of pregnancy health research, known as ‘maternal microbiology’, looking at what we can learn by studying bacteria in the mouths of mums-to-be.
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.
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.
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.