A couple devastated by having a stillborn child have used their experience to help others in the same situation.
Shelley Kyte gave birth to Rosie at Worthing Hospital on June 11 last year.
She and partner Mark learned that stillborn babies can be taken home in a cold cot but the hospital had only one available – and this was already in use.
It meant they had to say goodbye to their daughter at the hospital, rather then being able to have time with her at home.
Determined to do something for other parents facing the death of their baby, they set out to raise the £3,000 needed for a new cold cot for Worthing Hospital.
Shelley, a South Downs Leisure running instructor, said: “The feeling of guilt, sadness and loss we suffered for not being able to bring our daughter home was unbearable.
“We felt like they had abandoned our little Rosie in a cold unfamiliar place.”
She and Mark completed a 100-mile run with Centurion Running a year to the day that Rosie was born.
They have exceeded their target, raising £3,740 so far, and are now in talks with Worthing Hospital, where Shelley also works, to use the extra money raised to decorate a special room there for families.
Shelley said: “On average, three babies pass away each week, so with another cold cot in the hospital it will mean no one will suffer.
“We will never be able to stop parents feeling the pain of losing their sleeping angels but we can help make their last few moments with their child precious.”
After Rosie was born, Shelley and Mark were able to spend the rest of the day holding her but they were overwhelmed by the heart-wrenching feeling that at some point, they would have to leave without her in their arms.
They discovered the hospital’s wooden electrical cold unit could be taken home, giving parents time to say goodbye, but when they asked for this the next morning, they were told another family had taken it home already.
The experience inspired Shelley to raise the money for a new cold cot and the couple chose the 100-mile course, starting in Winchester and finishing in Eastbourne.
It was a big challenge which they hoped to complete in 30 hours. A total of 260 runners started the event but due to exhausting heat on the day, 56 dropped out at various stop points.
Shelley found the night running the hardest and at the top of Ditchling Beacon, became sick but with six miles to the next aid station, she had no option but to carry on.
After 75 miles, Mark thought they would have to drop out as Shelley was not taking in food but she refused to give up as they were running for Rosie.
Two strong coffees and a bite to eat gave Shelley the strength to continue. The last 25 miles were a struggle as they faced hills in Alfriston and Jevington, and a downpour two miles from the finish line, but they finished the course in 28 hours.
Centurion Running donated the money given for coffee and food at the finish to their cause.
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Rosies-wish to make a donation.
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