A caring couple who suffered the devastating loss of a child have fulfilled their aim to help other parents who face the same tragedy.
Mark and Joanne Edwards set up their own charity, Friends of Serenity, to raise funds to create a special room at the central birth suite at Burnley General Hospital for use by families who have suffered either a stillbirth, mid-term or late-term pregnancy loss.
The room, known as the Butterfly Serenity Suite, provides a haven for families to spend time with their baby and say goodbye. Mark and Joanne’s son, Luke, was stillborn at the hospital in March, 2013, as a result of the rare chromosome disorder Trisomy 13.
As the unit’s existing serenity suite was already occupied the couple made it their mission to provide a second facility for other families.
Joanne said: “This project means a great deal and we have spent two years fundraising and working with staff at the Trust to make the Butterfly Suite a reality.
“It is crucial to us that families know their baby is important and that they get to spend the essential precious time with their baby they may need in a quiet and calm environment, hopefully making their experience a little gentler.’’
They are an inspiration and we were honoured to work with them to bring a project to fruition that will benefit other families in the futureMatron Midwife Erica Doyle
The charity set up by the couple, who celebrated the birth of their second son, Toby ,12 weeks ago, has raised the fantastic sum of £40,000 in two years, thanks to fundraising events and donations, and they have been nominated for a prestigious Butterfly Award, which recognises those who help people cope with the loss of a child.
The Butterfly Suite cost £20,000 and additional funds have been used to furnish and update the original serenity suite and also provide miscarriage keepsakes and memory boxes for patients. The new suite was officially opened by the Mayor of Burnley, Coun. Liz Monk, who was joined by the Edwards family and staff from the East Lancashire NHS Trust.
Matron Midwife Erica Doyle said: “Joanne and Mark have been tireless in their quest to provide a second serenity suite on the unit and know first hand how important such a room is to parents.
“They used their experience in a positive way and their charity works with us to also provide miscarriage keepsakes and memory boxes for bereaved parents.
“They are an inspiration and we were honoured to work with them to bring a project to fruition that will benefit other families in the future.’’