There are loads of ways you took on Challenge 15 – from treks with friends, to conquering a cycling challenge or walking miles in memory, here are some of Team Sands’ 2019 #Challenge15 champions who took on the challenge their way.
Stuart Cripps Schnoor
On July 7th 2018 our little boy Otto was born sleeping. From that moment our lives were changed forever, he would never get the chance to see the world or meet his big brothers Lucas and Victor. We feel incredibly grateful that we were able to cuddle him and spend some precious time with him and we will never ever forget him.
The days afterwards were the hardest we had ever experienced. In the midst of grieving, there were complicated and painful decisions to be made, some of which we hadn’t even considered as stillbirths are so rarely spoken about. The information available from Sands was amazing in providing us the detail and considerations we needed to make these difficult choices as well as providing ongoing support which has continued to help us through the difficult journey.
When I heard that 15 babies are stillborn or die shortly after birth every day in the UK I was shocked at the number. Losing our little boy was the worst thing I could ever have imagined and it saddens me to think of the number of people that have to go through this everyday.
As part of Sands 2019 #challenge15 I have decided to bike (off-road) 15 miles every day, for 15 consecutive days with 15 different people. That’s 225 miles for my little boy Otto and to help raise as much money as I can for Sands, to help them continue to support parents and families affected by the loss of a baby.
Scott Castle took part in Challenge15 with his brother Jack Faunch and nephew Conna Aimable by running 15 miles in 4.5 hours to try raise awareness for Scott’s son Brody-Scott who passed at 36 hours old.
“I took part in challenge15 with my brother jack faunch and my nephew conna aimable to try raise awareness as my boy Brody-Scott passed at 36 hours old”
Emma Mallon and Neil Lord
We decided to raise funds for Sands soon after we lost our daughter in January this year.
We needed something to focus on and wanted to help others in the same devastating situation as us, plus we wanted to say thank you to Sands for the help and support we received.
Ada was born full term on 28 January. We found out that she had passed away two days prior when we went into be checked after experiencing reduced movement. It was the worst experience of our lives.
When we went back to hospital to be induced we found a Sands memory box waiting for us, as well as a wealth of useful information. At the time we couldn't even look inside the box, but over the following days and weeks it became our go to place to keep all of the things that reminded us of Ada.
It's like a little shrine to her!
I went to my first Sands recently, and met some of the mums for coffee. Spending time with other people who understand our situation has been amazing. It's such a relief to be with people who just get how you're feeling, and to be able to see how those further down the line manage to cope long term. Raising money to help Sands continue the important work they do has really helped us, and hopefully them too.
Me and my very supportive team are once again looking to support the #Challenge15 campaign for Sands.
The team included:
For those of you who can’t remember, The Sands charity works across the UK , providing free support to anyone affected by the death of a baby. The ‘#Challenge15’ campaign invites people to take on any challenge to cover 15 miles. The overall target for the campaign is to try and raise £15,000 to help fund research into this issue and to support those who lose a baby. They provided amazing support to me and my family in August 2017, following the loss of my daughter, Emily Foster.
As we smashed the target last year we have decided to raise the bar a little. This year will be looking to complete the 15 miles (25km) using over the equipment in the gym (treadmill, 2 bikes, rower, cross trainer) in 15 minutes. 8 members of the real estate team are competing, including me with my rather large tummy! I will be joined by Hannah Brown, Kerrie Bates, Maria Byrne, Ian Ashcroft, Mark Hilton, Alasdair Sillence and Ryan Higgs. We will start the challenge at 11am on Friday 22nd March. If you would like to make a donation to this very worthwhile cause please do so on our just giving page below.
I was 8 months pregnant when we did the challenge this year, as you can see from the photos – I am due on the 25th April.
We managed to complete just over 20 miles in the 15 minutes which is a massive achievement – there was lots of shouting and sweating!!! Everyone did so well.
My husband and I planned to have a second child and were so happy when we found out I was expecting.
We never thought that at 35 weeks we would be told there was anything wrong, you think that when your past 20 weeks your safe.
Losing Isabella was the best and worst day of my life as we both held her and my daughter Mia got to meet her little sister for a short time. Isabella was surrounded by her parents, sister and grandparents when she passed and I couldn't have wished for more for her little life. She knew how loved she was. I hate the thought of any other family feeling the pain we felt, its heartbreaking.
The memory box and little knitted hat we were given were really comforting, it meant I had something I could take home to remind me of her. These small things help even though you don't realise it at the time.
Reading other people’s stories and talking to people on the sands app help get you through day to day. Sands help people. My husband, close family and friends all walked with me from Swanwick Marina - Gunwharf Quays following the coast (15.5miles) in one lovely sunny day. We raised over £2700, I would definitely do it again and recommend to others.
People showed so much love and generosity for this charity and a lot of people I know had never heard of Sands before.
We took on C15 in memory of our daughter/sister Lesley and son/brother Jon and a friends baby Rebecca who were all stillborn.
Iain, myself and Alasdair our ‘challenge’ was to leave/hand out white/yellow roses because these have significance for us as our babies’ flowers and packets of Love Hearts because love never dies. We were celebrating the short lives of Lesley, Jon, Rebecca and all other babies that sadly have died too soon to show that whilst they are no longer here they continue to leave their mark on the world and are loved as much now as the day they were born.
We hope one rose made it to Murrayfield with a Welsh rugby fan, 2 brothers visiting the city got a bag of sweets each in St Giles another was left on the memorial to Ensign Ewart that is on the castle esplanade (he captured a French Eagle at Waterloo if you’re interested)
Zena Anderson and Katherine Hesford
Why we took challenge 15: In memory of Iziah Anderson & to raise money to help other bereaved families.
Majella Monaghan and Lisa Moore
Myself and my sister both did #challenge15 in honour of my nephew Luke Moore (My sister’s son). Luke was born sleeping on 2 October 2009 and this year 2019 it is his 10th anniversary. My sister has always wanted to do something in his honour of his ten year anniversary and as soon as I saw this challenge I knew it would be perfect for us. We get to remember Luke and also support a charity as amazing as Sands.
We both did the walk of 15 miles together. It took place on Tuesday 12 March where we walked from Newry to Warrenpoint and back again – it was definitely a challenge for both of us!
I completed Challenge 15 by running 3 miles every Saturday in March and I raised most of the money by organising a cake sale at work.
I chose to take part in challenge 15 in memory of my son, Alex who was stillborn at full term in November 2016. Sands is a huge part of my life since losing Alex, providing me with so much support and fundraising is my way of giving back and ensuring that other parents and families can access the same support that I did.
At the end of August 2018 I discovered I was expecting my first baby. My husband and I were over the moon. I believe that I’m on this Earth to be a mum and I couldn’t believe it was finally happening. We started making all sorts of plans, we decided on names and I began doing everything I could to make sure my baby had the best start to life. It was as if all my dreams had finally come true.
Around 11 weeks into the pregnancy I started to have some worrying symptoms. They were so subtle I almost convinced myself they weren’t happening but I listened to my instinct and went to the Early Pregnancy Unit on the 18th of October. They said they wanted to scan me. I hadn’t expected them to do a scan- I was fully expecting to checked over quickly and be told, “Go home, everything is fine”.
Instead the ultrasonographer said, “I’m sorry, I can’t find your baby’s heartbeat.” I felt my world collapsing there and then. I looked at my baby on the screen - so small and cute - and I just couldn’t understand it. The only comfort I could take was knowing that if I hadn’t listened to my instincts and sought medical advice, I wouldn’t have had a scan picture of my baby. All I have of my baby is a scan picture and a little cuddly toy llama I’d bought.
The next few days were the worst of my life. Telling my husband about the miscarriage was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. We named our baby Alex and I still can’t believe how someone so small has had such a huge impact on my life.
When I was admitted to hospital following miscarriage complications the consultant explained how common miscarriage is. Why did I have to be the 1 in 4?
Over the next few months I was so angry and grief-stricken. Christmas was especially hard. I found that going to a meeting organised by the charity Sands really helped me work through my grief. With the love and support of friends and family I reached a turning point in the middle of February. I felt strong enough to do something positive in spite of all the pain and sadness I’d been through. I didn’t want Alex to have died for nothing. I knew I wanted to raise money for Sands to help them support anyone affected by tragedies like miscarriage, stillbirth and sudden infant death. Taking part in Challenge 15 really helped with the grieving process.
Please let us know how you took on Challenge 15:
I went on the Sands website to see if there was a fundraising event coming up to take part in. When I saw their Challenge 15 event I felt that this was perfect for me. I love long walks and hiking so I knew I’d be up to the challenge of walking 15 miles. There was no way I could run in a marathon after my health problems following the miscarriage but I knew this would be do-able.
I set up a fundraising page on justgiving.com and contacted Sands through their website to let them know. They sent me lots of information, sponsorship forms and a t shirt.
I decided to walk 15 miles of the John Muir Way with my husband and I wrote about my plans on my fundraising page. I then shared my fundraising page on social media and talked to all my friends and family about it.
On Saturday the 2nd of March 2019 my husband and I set off on the 15 mile walk. We began at 9:13 am and thankfully the weather started off dry and sunny. Snacks and a flask of hot chocolate really helped during the breaks but when the weather changed for the worse it became more challenging.
At the 18km mark I started to struggle but despite the blisters, fatigue, rain and wind we battled on. Giving up was never an option - I’d been through tougher challenges in the past 5 months and raising money in my baby’s memory was the most important thing.
My husband’s parents and sister joined us for the last half hour of the walk just as a rainbow had appeared from behind the clearing rain clouds. It was brilliant to have their support because it reminded me of the support from all the people who had donated to my fundraising page.
At 16:40 we reached the finish line - we had walked 16.72 miles and 42,131 steps over approximately 6 and a half hours. The total amount I raised was £773.77 and I am eternally grateful to everyone single person who donated.
Since the miscarriage I have learned about rainbow babies - a healthy baby born after losing a baby due to miscarriage, infant loss, stillbirth, etc. I love this term because rainbows are a promise of sunshine after the rain, of calm after storms, of joy after sadness, of peace after pain, of love after loss. Seeing that rainbow on our walk gave me a lot of strength and I knew it was a sign of how proud my baby was of Mummy and Daddy. Taking part in Challenge 15 has helped me look towards the future and I hope to one day have my rainbow baby.
Peter & Gill Hall
Peter & Gill Hall, Gateshead Tyne and Wear
I took part in the Challenge 15 event by completing 5 consecutive Park runs over 5 weekends prior to the 15th March, as this date would have been our Son's 18th Birthday.
On the 15th March 2001 our son Jordan was born asleep. Jordan was an IVF baby and would have made our family complete.
This year would have been his 18th birthday and I aimed to raise funds in our son's name to try and reduce the number of babies who die before, during or shortly after birth.
My aim was to complete 5 park runs, starting WC 9th February. As I am big and unfit this was a challenge in itself. As a result of completing the challenge I lost a stone in weight and achieved 160% of my target.
Lisa & Stuart Bond
Myself and Stuart Tanner cycled 15 miles in memory of our daughter Lexie who passed away on 8th January 2014, only hours after her birth on the 7th.
We had never heard of Sands but at that very fragile time in our lives we found comfort in the support and items we received.
No one plans for their newborn to suddenly be taken away from them so we were heartened to be given a beautiful memory box, so thoughtfully put together. The hand and footprint kit was a heartfelt touch and because we were able to use them and make precious memories, Stuart now has Lexie's hand tattooed on his heart, a beautiful memory that will stay with us forever. We have raised money for Sands every year since, by way of giving something back, and we will continue to do so.
We have raised £650 for taking part in Challenge15 this year. What you do is fantastic and we are honoured to help raise vital funds.
Jemma Gilbert, Tracy Emery and Laura Bullard
Jemma Gilbert, Tracy Emery and Laura Bullard From Ruislip, Hillingdon.
We all have angel babies - Jorgia, Jack and Poppy Photo attached We have so far raised just under £3k. Donations are still coming in.