Devastatingly, each year thousands of babies die before, during or shortly after birth, shattering the lives of expectant parents, their families and their friends.  Baby Loss Awareness Week (#babyloss), which takes place annually from 9 to 15 October 2015, is an opportunity for them to acknowledge and remember their precious babies.

It is also a chance to raise awareness of the emotional impact of pregnancy and infant loss, and the scale of the tragedy, which affects up to one in five families in the UK.

Baby Loss Awareness Week is a campaign led by Sands in collaboration with a number of other charities united in their support for families who experience the death of a baby, including Action on Pre-eclampsia, ARC (Antenatal Results and Choices), Bliss, Child Bereavement UK, The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, Group B Strep Support, The Lullaby Trust, The Miscarriage Association, The Multiple Births Foundation, Petals, The Scottish Cot Death Trust, TAMBA (The Twins and Multiple Births Association), Together for Short Lives, and Tommy’s.

Some people may not know how to offer support to someone they know and may feel scared to bring up the subject.  Baby Loss Awareness Week is an opportunity to help banish the taboo and empower people to provide support to those affected by a bereavement. It is also an opportunity to make people aware of the wonderful charities and organisations that not only support parents and offer advice to family members, friends and healthcare professionals caring for those whose baby has died but also work to reduce the loss of babies’ lives.

Throughout the week bereaved parents and their families will be sharing examples of something that someone said or did that helped them after their baby died. It is hoped that by sharing these moments far and wide via social media, it will give those supporting anyone affected by the death of a baby more confidence in doing so. People are also encouraged to support Baby Loss Awareness Week by wearing one of the Baby Loss Awareness pins available to buy from participating charities via the Baby Loss website.

The week closes with the Global ‘Wave of Light’ on Thursday 15 October, where candles are lit across the globe as part of the international Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

The event encourages people all over the world to light a candle and leave it burning for at least one hour. Special edition tea lights are available from the participating charities via the Baby Loss website. This can be done individually or in a group, at home or in a communal space, and people will be posting images of their candles on social media with the hashtag #waveoflight. Families will be uniting with others across the world in honour of those babies who lit up their lives for such a short time.  

Judith Abela, Acting Chief Executive at Sands, said:

“Now in its fourteenth year we hope that this week will help families feel less isolated and alone by giving them the opportunity to join with others and remember their babies, whether it be in public or private, across the world.”

For further information or for details on how you can support the campaign and the week please visit www.babyloss-awareness.org.

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Notes to editors:

Baby Loss Awareness Week pin badges and tea lights are available to buy from participating charities.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day is Thursday 15 October 2015.

The Global Wave of Light takes place on Thursday 15 October at 7pm.

Case studies of bereaved parents willing to share their stories can be arranged upon request.

For more information, please contact Natalie Cooper, Sands Press & PR Officer, on 0203 598 1959, e: natalie.cooper@uk-sands.org or Hannah Ward, Communications Manager on 0207 436 7940 e: hannah.ward@uk-sands.org.