The Oxfordshire group of the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity (Sands) will be raising awareness of the devastating impact the death of a baby has on parents as part of Baby Loss Awareness Week.
The annual and national awareness week, which runs until October 15, is an opportunity for bereaved parents to acknowledge and remember their babies, talk openly and to raise awareness of pregnancy, baby and infant loss.
Oxfordshire Sands, working with St Mary’s Church, has organised a memorial service for 6.30pm on Sunday, October 15.
They are inviting people who have been affected by the death of a baby to join them to remember their babies.
The service will coincide with the 7pm global Wave of Light, where families across the world unite by lighting a candle at 7pm local time and leave it burning for at least one hour, creating a global ‘wave of light’ in memory of all the babies who lit up people’s lives for such a short time.
This is the first time a Wave of Light event has been organised in the local area.
Vicky Smith, from Oxfordshire Sands Group, said: “Many members of our group are bereaved parents so we know how devastating it is when a baby dies.
“We hope Baby Loss Awareness Week will spark conversations about baby death and provide opportunities for people to talk about and remember their precious sons and daughters.”
Dr Clea Harmer, chief executive of Sands, said: “The death of a baby is a tragedy that can happen to anyone, at any time. It is devastating, not only for parents, but also their families and their friends and can have a long-term impact on their mental health and wellbeing.
“Baby Loss Awareness Week is a unique opportunity to help families remember their babies, whether it be in public or private, and feel less isolated and alone by giving them the opportunity to join with others.
“We are committed to working to reduce the number of a babies that die every day in the UK.”
In addition the national Sands charity is keen to turn the country pink and blue for Baby Loss Awareness Week and have been asking local groups to light up significant local landmarks.
Karen Hancox from Oxfordshire Sands Group, said: “I am very excited to be liaising with Banbury Town Council to arrange for the Banbury Cross to be lit up pink and blue on October 14 and 15.
“This is a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness and a new venture for the town and county.
“It will be an amazing achievement to be part of the national Sands campaign to light up the country pink and blue.”
Karen has also signed up for a sponsored fire walk which will raise funds for both Oxfordshire Sands and The Buddy Bag Foundation which provides essentials to children who find themselves in emergency care.
The walk over hot coals will take place on October 29 between 4pm and 7pm at Lime Farm in Farthinghoe. The fire walk takes place just under a week before what would have been Karen’s daughter Kayleigh’s tenth birthday.
Karen said: “It feels good to be able to do something a bit different in Kayleigh’s memory to mark the significant milestone of her 10th birthday and I hope I am brave enough to do it on the night.”
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