The birth of a child is a magical moment filled with joy, love and happiness which many of us are lucky enough to experience. As you read this, you can probably remember when your own child was born.
Sadly childbirth can also be the darkest day of some parents’ lives. There are around 4000 stillbirths in the UK annually and an additional 6000 children between the ages of 0-5 die every year. I have experienced the death of two children and my story, like so many parents, is of life standing still and desperately trying to survive from one day to the next. This is one of life’s cruellest realities and the sadness of carrying a tiny coffin to a grave rather than a baby to the home is a pain no human being should ever feel.
We survived through the care and support of friends, family and charities, some of whom have walked in our shoes.
In an effort to remember our children and also support two great charities, Child Bereavement UK and Group B Strep Support, a small group of us decided to create an event.
We chose cycling because it’s an event where individuals can work together and offer support as a team. We felt a family fun day would simply give people the opportunity to do something for others and take some good out of an everyday tragedy.
We also know that anyone can get on a bike and ride 25miles, or 50miles if they’re a weekend warrior, maybe even 75miles if they’re practically ready for the tour.
The choice of charities reflects a commonality amongst the group of people, with either those who have either been directly affected by the death of a child, or those who have supported loved ones and friends through the trauma.
Child Bereavement UK supports parents after the death of their children, it also supports children after the death of their parents. Group B Strep Support works tirelessly to raise awareness of group B Strep to many expecting parents as well as medical professionals. They also offer support to families who have been affected by this life changing or tragic disease.
When asked to write a few words I pondered the question of what is charity. I felt that charity is not only the giving of time or money to those who need it or may need it in the future. Charity is our opportunity to be together and unified towards a common goal, charity is not about an individual or someone’s story, charity is about us all, it’s the feeling of sorrow when we hear someone’s sad story and it’s the feeling of gratitude that it’s not us or our loved ones coping with the pain. Charity isn’t me or you, it is us and we.
We are proud to have the opportunity to be part of a small group of 20 who will host an incredible charity bike ride. We are honoured to be part of the few hundred who will enjoy the day. We are all grateful that you will be the key and main actors in making our day become a reality.
When you complete the event you will help to save a child, to support a parent to cope with the death of their child and to help a child to carry on living after the death of their parents.
All we have to do is be together and enjoy the charity day. Oh and one more small favour we would like to ask… let’s give our children one extra hug today and appreciate all that we have.
Rachel, Sarah, Lou, Billy, James, Matt, Nicola, Nick, Beccy, Jane, Jane, Johan, Suzanne, Mark, Andy, Emma