Sands Fundraising blog, charity, stillbirth, neonatal death, support
The Fundraising Team, Sands | 5 August 2019

My name is Susanna Speirs and I cycled 100 miles in memory of my baby daughter Ava who was stillborn in 2012 and in aid of Sands. 

I decided to take on the challenge of the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey, as I've done a number of triathlons in the past and enjoyed the cycling leg so thought about doing the 46 mile version of Ride London.

I thought 100 miles would be too far for me though as the furthest I've cycled previously is about 25 miles.

Then I saw a Sands post looking for volunteers to cycle in Ride London 100 to raise money for them and somehow applied before my brain really kicked in!

The names of babies that have died in my circle of family, friends, colleagues and the local Sands support groups for bereaved parents, were printed on my cycling jersey, so I rode a mile in memory of each baby. 

My husband Nick and I lost our gorgeous little girl, Ava, more than seven years ago now, when she was stillborn at 39 weeks.

Unsurprisingly, losing Ava is the hardest thing that I have ever been through. I don't think that I, or anyone else could have done anything to prevent Ava's death.

I hadn’t cycled 100 miles before so it was a real challenge for me, but I’m so happy to have completed the route. I decided that, in addition to raising money for Sands, I wanted to ride each mile in memory of a named baby (beyond, obviously, my little girl).

A lovely bereaved father from the Surrey Sands support group did this when he ran a previous London Marathon and included Ava’s name on his running vest. It really meant a lot to me and I wanted to repay the favour.

My top tips for fundraising are regular posts and emails as they keep your fundraising at the top of people's minds so they don't forget to sponsor you.

I wrote a blog about Sands, my connection to it and my training for this event (https://susannaspeirs.blogspot) and it has had such a good reception.

With each post I get more sponsorship and more support. It has been amazing! Plus it helps raise awareness of baby loss as well as raising money.

My online fundraising page is still open at:

susanna speirs
Picture - Susanna's cycling jersey which bears the names of babies who have died.
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