A Burnley woman who lost her son 15 years ago after he was born premature is helping other families cope with the pain of losing a child.
Debbie Bennett (46) gave birth to baby Niall just 26 weeks into her pregnancy in October 1998. He weighed just 2lb. 2oz. and lost his fight for life at 102 days old in January 1999.
Now Debbie, of Ightenhill Park Lane, has become the Burnley representative for online support group Angel Wings, which provides support for families who have been affected by premature birth, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, cot death and illness.
Debbie said: “I was really lucky because the package of care we received was excellent and made such a difference to us as a family. But I’m also aware that lots of families haven’t been so hence me getting involved with Angel Wings. We are also working in partnership with health trusts. I don’t think people understand that the loss of a child has such a big impact on the entire family. The group now has 500 members and the response has been phenomenal.”
Debbie, who lives with husband Timothy and has two grown-up children, Liam (24) and Rebecca (22), is organising a fund-raiser to help pay for baby memorial and reflection gardens in other areas of the country. It will take place at the Railway Club, Rosegrove, at 7-30pm on Saturday, April 12th. Tickets are £5 and there will be live music, a raffle, auction and balloon launch.
“I think because the group’s online rather than face to face, people can say what they want to say. It’s a really supportive group.
“We’ve got one mum from America and one from Australia in the group. As it’s online it’s much more accessible.
“The emotional support has been invaluable to me because you realise you’re not on your own.”
Angel Wings, which has six private groups around the country, was founded in Aviemore Scotland, by grieving mum Michaela Street. The group has recently celebrated its first year and has gone from strength to strength.
For more information about joining Angel Wings or for event tickets contact Debbie on 07909 134880.