Selina Goyal organised a 5km walk in memory of her son Aveer. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, what was originally a 5km walk in Regents Park, became a 5km virtual walk which Selina encouraged others to get involved with in their own areas.
We're so grateful to Selina and her family's fundraising during Sands Awareness Month and here Selina share's her reasons for supporting Sands and why they organised a walk for their fundraiser.
Aveer is my son who I delivered on Sunday 19th January at 9.57pm. Aveer was an incredibly special baby – as he did not take a single breath in this world.
At 36 weeks, my husband and I were devastated to find out that our baby had a brain abnormality which would lead to severe mental suffering in the unlikely event that he would survive and we were advised a termination would be in the best interest of our baby rather than put him through a lifetime of suffering.
In Aveer’s memory, we organised a sponsored walk called Aveer’s Footprints which took place on Sunday 17th May. Given the current circumstances of the pandemic, we encouraged walkers to walk their 5k anytime, anywhere. We had walkers participating internationally – India, Dubai and Toronto, to name a few places. We had around 200 walkers and have raised over £8,000 for Sands so far by donations. All money raised will be match funded by our family foundation – Hemraj Goyal Foundation.
Since January, we have attended Sands' support groups and were provided with a memory box when we left the hospital, much like other bereaved parents who leave without their baby in their arms. The memory box contained items such as his footprints and handprints, his hospital bands, and a giraffe toy. This was a huge comfort to us at this intensely difficult and emotional time and we decided to fundraise for SANDS so they can continue to care for other bereaved parents through their helplines and support groups.
We also organised this walk to bring baby loss awareness to light, which is often considered a taboo subject and not openly discussed. From what I experienced, people often feel if they bring up my loss, it will remind me of the pain. Yet, the loss of a baby is like an emptiness in a mother’s heart which cannot be filled, despite whether people discuss my grief with me or not.
I am writing this to encourage you to acknowledge that there was a loss and that a life existed, despite this being a challenging topic to bring up. I ask you not to shy away from the topic. Talk about baby loss as you would talk about any loss. Many parents suffer in silence, however much like any other loss, pretending it didn’t happen won’t improve the situation. The more we talk about baby loss, the more we can accept it does happen. To bereaved parents - I encourage you to talk about the love for your baby to help with your healing.
Sadly, the world will not see photos of Aveer, hold him, or see him grow up, but rest assured, he lives within our hearts always. Not a single day has gone by that I haven’t thought of Aveer. But he has given me this strength to share my experience with you all and to comfort those in need.
If you can, I urge you to donate on our justgiving page as we continue to raise funds for SANDS: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/aveersfootprints