Larne Santa run in memory of ‘angel baby’ Poppy

Santas and elves who took part in a previous Poppy's Santa Run for stillbirth charity SANDs. INLT-50-700-con
Santas and elves who took part in a previous Poppy's Santa Run for stillbirth charity SANDs. INLT-50-700-con

A Larne couple whose baby daughter was ‘born sleeping’ are holding a fundraising run to support other families and raise awareness of stillbirth.

Rowena and Chris Davis were left heartbroken after their daughter Poppy was stillborn in January 2013.

The family received support from the Stillbirth and neonatal death charity (Sands), and are now planning to hold the third ‘Poppy’s 5k Santa run’ to help fund the invaluable support for other families.

“Poppy wasn’t with us for long but she still left a big legacy,” her mum Rowena told the Times.

“Everything was going well, she was almost 38 weeks, then I went into hospital due to her reduced movement.

“After Poppy was born we wondered how we would get through it.

“In the hospital SANDs gave us a memory box with two teddies, one to keep and one to go with Poppy, and we were able to make footprints and hand prints.

“It’s the box no-one wants to get but there are 10 babies born sleeping near their due date every day in the UK.

“People think stillbirth is a thing of the past but that’s a big figure and we want to raise money to support other families going through it.”

Rowena says that SANDS’ support was key to coping with their loss.

“Apart from SANDs there was no-one else that we could lift the phone to speak to and we went to meetings with other parents who had been through it,” she continued.

“They also provide online chat forums and a lot of information, and there is a lot of research on stillbirth being done.”

Rowena says the family are now “trying to turn a negative into a positive” through Poppy’s Santa Run.

“Poppy would have been three years old now and this is another Christmas without her, but we are trying to make it more positive to remember her and other angel babies,”she explained.

“In 2013 we raised nearly £5000 and in 2014 we raised £1350. The money helped pay for a ‘cold cot’ so the babies could stay with their parents for longer.

“We would also like to get dedicated bereavement suites in more hospitals and bereavement midwives trained.”

This year’s event is a 5k run and a 3k walk suitable for families, setting off from the Antiville bus stop at 2pm on December 11 and followed by refreshments at Larne Masonic Hall. Registration is from 1pm, donation is £5.

Donations can also be made on the Poppy’s Santa Run 2016 Justgiving page.