A grieving couple have raised more than £7,000 to help other bereaved families in Walsall who sadly lose their babies.
Tequillajade Clarke and her partner Matt Lowe lost their beloved baby boy Rome on May 14 this year when he was stillborn at Walsall Manor Hospital.
Tequillajade’s mum Teresa Clarke has supported their fundraising mission and they all came into the hospital’s Delivery Suite to present Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust with a cold cot that helps keep a baby cool and allows parents to spend more time with them.
“Matt and I spent a week with our beautiful baby son Rome because of the cold cot and it was really important for us to be able to make memories and be with him for as long as possible,” explained Tequillajade, aged 20.
“The cold cot the hospital had at that time was quite an old one and it was noisy and it got us thinking about how we could give something back to the Manor. The staff there saved my life because I became critically ill after giving birth to Rome – I suffered a placenta abruption and had pre-eclampsia. As well as looking after me physically, I remember the support they gave me in trying to come to terms with what had happened.”
Following their baby’s funeral, the Bloxwich couple worked with Teresa to get their fundraising off the ground, organising an auction hosted at Rushall Labour Club where staff soon rallied round to help.
“Our story went on facebook aswell and people all over the country have come forward to help and donate,” said TequillaJade. “It means that as well as buying the cold cot we’ve also handed over photo frames, memory boxes, bracelets for mums with angel wings or angel charms on them. keyrings for dads and premature baby clothes. We wanted to provide the hospital with things that might make things a bit easier for anyone losing their baby – we know it won’t make the pain go away, nothing can do that.”
Teresa said the family had been overwhelmed at how kind people had been.
“There’s one man whose young granddaughters climbed up the Malvern Hills and we’ve had people from places like Rhyl getting in touch to donate. It is the worst thing anyone can imagine, losing a baby, and it has been a terrible time for all of us too. But I think it has helped us knowing that we have been able to do something that can bring comfort to others.”
Matt, 26, added: “There is a lot of focus on the mother when a baby passes away and the father can sometimes feel overlooked. The cold cot allows a couple to spend time together with their baby.”
The family visited the hospital to hand over their fundraising efforts with Matt and TequillaJade’s son Layton-George, aged one. They spoke to staff who were there at the time of their loss including Laura Atkinson who is now the Trust’s Specialist Bereavement Midwife.
Laura said: “Their donations are so very thoughtful and will really be appreciated by anyone who suffers a similar loss. The new cold cot they have given us now means we have enough cold cots, in good working order, to be used by any families who wish to spend precious time with their babies in this way.”
Georgie Westley, the Trust’s Fundraising Manager, said so many bereaved parents would benefit as a result of the family’s kindness.
“I’d like to thank them for their amazing generosity towards others at what is such a difficult time for them. We are extremely grateful for their thoughtfulness.”