This year, Sophie Helyer nominated her friend, Zoe Feeney, who she met whilst they were both living in military accommodation. Sophie has nominated Zoe for the support she gave her after she had a late term miscarriage and lost her son, Teddy. This is despite Zoe and her husband Bren going through heartache of their own, losing eight babies through miscarriage. In Zoe’s own words, this is her story
I have been pregnant 7 times including my current pregnancy. And in these 7 pregnancies, I have carried 9 babies. We had three miscarriages, and an 18 month period of infertility, before falling pregnant with our daughter, Pearl.
Sadly, at a routine scan, we discovered that there was a problem with Pearl's heart. We were told that she was very poorly and would most likely die. We chose to keep fighting as long as she could. She passed away in August 2017, and I had her in hospital on the 30th August, which we mark as her birthday.
After we lost Pearl, we were surprised to fall pregnant naturally with a little boy. We were under the care of the Tommy’s’ research centre at Coventry Hospital and were on a research trial, but sadly we lost our son, Robin, in another missed miscarriage. We then had more fertility treatment and fell pregnant with triplets a few months later. Professor Quenby at Coventry looked after us during that pregnancy too, but we lost one baby due to vanishing twin syndrome. And then we lost the surviving twins due to a rare chromosomal abnormality called having Triploidy in which babies have an extra set of chromosomes in their cells.
We took a break from trying to have a baby but, again, fell pregnant naturally in November last year. I am now over 32 weeks pregnant with a little boy, who we have nicknamed Turtle as he is our little Tommy’s Turtle.
The research that Tommy’s does has provided us with a drug to help combat a blood clotting condition I have, and as a result this miracle baby has got further than any other pregnancy and continues to surprise us every day.
We’ve had a traumatic seven years of recurrent pregnancy loss, infertility, and losing our precious Pearl, but she also made us parents and for that we will be forever grateful.
I’m a bit overwhelmed that Sophie has nominated me for an award as I really don’t think I did anything more than any other friend would have done. We were relatively new friends when she fell pregnant with Teddy, but we had a connection straight away and so when her waters broke early, having lost 3 pregnancies already, I had a small idea of how scared she must be.
We were in a shop when Sophie messaged me. I remember reading the words ‘the worst has happened’. I would have done anything to take that pain away from them. Over the next few months I would drop round little gifts of chocolate and cards and leave them on her doorstep when I knew she didn’t want to see anyone. I tried to be there for whatever she needed. I was honestly astounded by the strength she showed after Teddy died. I still am in awe of her, really.
During her pregnancy with Cadie, I fell pregnant with Pearl, but we kept it secret and didn’t tell anyone. We lost Pearl shortly after Cadie was born, and we still didn’t tell anyone straight away. I was really worried I would always look at Cadie and see what we should have, but Sophie’s pregnancy and bringing Cadie into the world actually gave me hope that there is happiness to be found after baby loss.
We both went through something tragic, we are both mothers who have lost a child. That is a very special type of support and bond.
My husband Bren and I are now Cadie’s godparents and she brings us so much happiness. As two families, we have come together through immense pain to form one big family, with Pearl and Teddy always with us.
To win an award for showing kindness to Sophie after Teddy died is strange in a way. Kindness can only be given if it is accepted and reciprocated by the receiver. And so, by letting me be part of her life, part of Teddy’s life and death, and part of Cadie’s life, and her other son Raif’s life, it is her who has shown me the greatest kindness.
Every year we are amazed by the heartfelt nominations made by friends, families and patients who want to highlight the strength and determination of others. Here are this year's individual Tommy's Award winners.
The Star Fundraiser Award an extraordinary individual who has gone above and beyond to fundraise in their local community on behalf of Tommy’s. This is Karl's story.
The Tommy’s Healthcare Hero Award recognises a midwife, doctor or other medical professional who has provided exceptional physical care or emotional support to parents in difficult times. This is Tracy's Story.
The Tommy’s Commendation Award celebrates an individual who has gone above and beyond in some way, be it through their personal fundraising, their dedication to Tommy’s or their quest to bring light to our shared cause and fuelling conversation. This is Georgia's Story.