Mum Sara Spells has started a year of fundraising in memory of her daughter Hope.
She wants to raise £2,500 for the charity Tommy’s, which funds research into pregnancy problems and provides pregnancy health information to parents.
Sara and husband Andrew, of Shirley Close, Worthing, have three children, Scarlett, nine, Georgia, eight, and Alfie, two, but there has been much heartache along the way, with three miscarriages and the loss of daughter Hope.
Sara explained: “I am very fortunate to have three healthy, happy children but it hasn’t been easy becoming the family we are today and there were times I thought that our story would have a different ending.”
She started running in February last year to complete her weight-loss journey and has now lost the 5st 9lbs she put on after her miscarriages.
On July 15, she will start the two-day, 100k endurance event Race to the Stones and will then run for Tommy’s in the London Landmarks Half Marathon in March next year, followed by the London Marathon in April.
In-between, Sara plans a summer event, where people can pay £5 to complete a two-mile distance by running, walking or cartwheeling, either in one go or in sections. Everyone who enters will receive a medal designed by her daughter.
Having had two consecutive miscarriages, Sara was diagnosed with the autoimmune condition Antiphospholipid syndrome. Following treatment, Scarlett was born and Georgia followed 21 months later.
When Georgia was two, Sara became pregnant again but at almost 24 weeks, baby Hope was born sleeping.
Sara said: “She was beautiful, perfect and very small and had the softest skin. All of our immediate family met her and we had her blessed.
“The first year after she was born was the hardest year I have ever had to live. But we found strength and never gave up and decided that we wanted to try again for a final child.”
August 2013 should have been Hope’s first birthday, falling on Sara’s 40th year and her tenth wedding anniversary. The family needed a focus and so Sara and Andrew renewed their vows.
Sara said: “We had a lovely ceremony and party but instead of making a special announcement, we were hiding a sadder secret. Only a handful of close friends and family knew that I was going through another miscarriage.”
Their son has since been born and now that Sara is feeling stronger, she is working hard to raise money for Tommy’s in Hope’s memory but also for Scarlett, Georgia, Alfie and the ‘three little stars’ she was not able to have.
“I have always wanted to do something big to honour her and help other families,” she explained.
“Tommy’s was the obvious choice because they invest into research to help ensure more babies are born safely.
“I could never fully explain the pain, feelings, thoughts and how hard it has been to be as strong as we have become and hope that any money I raise will help other families not suffer as we have.
“I also truly believe that without research, disorders such as mine would not be understood and the children we have today might never have been born.
Visit the Facebook page Sara’s Fundraising for Tommy’s for more information and visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SaraSpells to make a donation.