Mother continues to raise awareness of life-threatening infection

Tania Holmes's first baby, Blake, died of a bacterial infection called group B Strep in 2009. She had another son called Bailey (pictured) in 2014. Photo by Derek Martin
Tania Holmes's first baby, Blake, died of a bacterial infection called group B Strep in 2009. She had another son called Bailey (pictured) in 2014. Photo by Derek Martin

A mother has organised a charity fun-run to help increase public awareness of a bacterial infection, which caused the death of her newborn son.

Tania Holmes, of Galsworthy Road, Goring, lost her son Blake just 25 hours after his birth in 2009, after after a condition called group B strep (GBS) went undetected.

The 33-year-old, who has been campaigning for the infection to be routinely screened for during pregnancy testing, joined forces with bereaved parents Fiona Paddon and Scott Bramley, from Greenwich, London, in January to deliver a petition to the Department of Health.

The petition was rejected about a month ago but Tania has now launched the event Stomp alongside the charity Group B Step Support to help raise awareness of the infection.

The fun-run event – held on Sunday, July 2, at 10am – involves a 3.1 mile walk/run from Worthing Pier to George V Avenue and back again.

It costs £10 to enter the race with all proceeds being donated to the Group B Step Support charity.

Tania said: “The idea behind Stomp is to help raise awareness and get people taking about this infection.

“The infection is not routinely screened for during pregnancy and is something I had absolutely no idea about until I had Blake.

Group B Streptococcus is the UK’s most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies.

It is a normally-occurring bacterium which is found in many men and women. It is harmless for most but, if it is passed from mother to baby, it can cause long-term health problems or even be fatal.

A swab test can be carried out late during pregnancy to found out if the mother is a carrier. If she is, it would not necessarily mean she would pass the infection to her baby but she could be given antibiotics at the onset of labour as a preventative measure. Tania added: “The Department of Health rejected our petition to routinely screen for it so raising awareness is as important as ever.

“Women can still be screened for it privately but we need to raise the awareness of it so people get it done.

“This run is suitable for all the family and, whether you walk, jog or run, the 5 kilometre distance (or 3.1 miles) is achievable by all ages and abilities.”

If you would like to enter the event, you can purchase tickets via www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/strep-b-stomp-tickets-32847265054?aff=efbevent