Tommy’s guest blog, 22/03/2017, by Sam Stephen
At Tommy’s we really appreciate the support of all of our fundraisers and understand how hard raising money can actually be.
With so many fundraisers taking to social media seeking donations, it can sometimes feel hard to come up with a new fundraising challenge
Enter Sober Sam!
Sam Stephen has taken on the challenge of starting 2017 alcohol free – and remaining so for a quarter of the year! Now over half way through his challenge, we caught up with Sam to see where his motivation lies.
‘A few months ago my best friend was talking about holding a charity event for her 30th birthday! But being around Christmas it just wasn’t the right time to put on an event. So, that got me thinking: I’ll do something for you. Gift cards, champagne, and clothes every year is nice but I wanted to get my friend something to remember.
My friend has had a turbulent few years with devastating fertility problems and multiple miscarriages. After three miscarriages, she was finally tested for any issues that might be affecting her ability to keep a pregnancy, a Reciprocal Balanced Translocation was discovered’
Reciprocal Balanced Translocation is a genetic disorder which can cause repeated miscarriage, amongst other issues, whilst trying or carrying a baby.
A balanced reciprocal translocation is where parts of two chromosomes have broken off and ‘swapped’ places. There is the right amount of genetic material but it is arranged in an unusual pattern.
This has no effect on the health of the individual, but can cause reproductive problems such as recurrent miscarriages or reduced fertility.
This happens because a parent with a balanced translocation can pass on a combination of chromosomes (called an unbalanced translocation) whereby there are 3 copies of some genes and only one copy of other genes.
At Tommy’s we know that recurrent miscarriage is a heartbreaking experience and can be the start of a very lonely time.
67% of women we surveyed said that they couldn’t even talk to their best friend about their miscarriage.
Sam was there for his friend in the aftermath of her loss and witnessed first had the pain that she went through.
We think it’s wonderful that he is taking on such a unique challenge to show his support and raise awareness.
‘I want to raise awareness for this great charity and highlight, in my personal experience, that after the loss of a child, women and the partners grieve in many different ways. This loss can affect their mental wellbeing too. It’s great to be involved with raising funds for Tommy’s, who have great support before, during and after, with care and advice as well as research and clinical work within hospitals.’
Sam has found it challenging so far as he has a very social job where he meets clients and attends events, ‘It’s hard not to have a glass or two!’
His motivation to support his friend is keeping him on track though,
‘It's also made me appreciate my friend. By doing more research into Tommy's Charity and in particular her past situation. The constant reminder of what I'm doing it for made it easy!’
Tommy’s are aiming to half the number of babies lost during pregnancy or birth by 2030. We couldn’t do this without the support of incredible fundraisers like Sam.
‘Rather than wasting my money on getting a hangover I want to put it to good use!’
If you fancy taking on a challenge for Tommy’s, take a look at our fundraising pages for ideas about how you can help.
There are times when it all feels like too much, but at those times I think of my daughter, who was such a fighter, and suddenly everything seems more manageable again.
"I truly feel without the support of the EPU and the peace of mind given to us through the Tommy's study we would not be where we are today."
Little Anderson was born under the care of the Tommy's Early Miscarriage Research Centre at London Imperial.
My miscarriage story started in February 2016- it was early, at about 6 weeks and I put it down to one of those things.
Looking back at our experience of miscarriage, 10 years on: a partner's perspective
It’s ok to take off the cape. A fathers perspective on loss and mental health.
'Having Elsie involved in the fundraising was so special to me, because at one point I couldn't have imagined her ever being here with us.'
Lianne & Elsie took part in Sensathon 2016. Here's their story...
Tommy's supporters Tracy and Andy Cotton discuss why they are running the London Landmarks Half Marathon for Tommy’s in 2018
After baby James was stillborn at 35 weeks, Laura and her husband have decided to take up the challenge to organise a bike ride through London to raise vital funds for Tommy's.