This is the first post in our Inspirational Parents series, this week our guest is Amy Jackson from The Lily Mae foundation. This is a charity close to my heart as its one of the ones that my Special Care Baby Unit work quite closely with and I was chuffed when Amy agreed to answer some of my interview questions, I will leave her to tell you a bit about how The Lily Mae Foundation began and what they are doing with all the money they raise.
Tell me a bit about your amazing girl Lily Mae and her story;
Lily Mae was born on the 7th Feb 2010, she was our much longed for 2nd child. We didn’t know until we found out her heart had stopped that she was a girl. This was a bitter blow to us as we had a four year old boy at the time and had hoped for a little girl to complete our family. Lily Mae’s pregnancy was relatively uncomplicated and I was 36 +5 when we found out that her heart had stopped. I had noticed a lack of movements one day so went into be checked but unfortunately a scan revealed the sad news. I was sent home from hospital that Friday evening and asked to return 2 days later to be induced to deliver Lily. The day Lily was born will stay with me forever, I remember every tiny detail like it has been etched into my memory.
Who or what was your most important support network/mechanism
Following Lily’s birth I started receiving support from our local Sands (Still Birth and Neonatal Death Charity) group and met a really lovely girl who gave me great support in the early days. I also spent hours trawling the Internet and made another great friend virtually through a forum who had lost her little girl just before me and lived in Devon. We became great friends and having her going through it at the same time as me really helped. My friends and family were also amazing, they were there for me 24/7 and supported us as a family.
What would be your best piece of advice for other parents who are going through similar experiences
Get support from other bereaved parents, they know exactly what you are going through and will be a great pillar of support and advice.
Why did you choose to set up the Lily Mae Foundation?
We initially started fundraising by holding a Golf Day 12 weeks after we lost Lily to raise money for our local Sand’s who had supported us and also it was my husbands way of coping and keeping busy. After two years we then decided to go it alone so we could do exactly what we, or other parents, wanted with the money we had raised. I also wanted to start providing Memory Boxes as I felt that collecting Lily’s memories was so important. We had struggled to do this and source the things we wanted when under such time constraints.
Has it been tough returning to the hospitals where Lily Mae was cared for?
I found it very hard to go back to the hospital and luckily didn’t have to for a while. Eventually I had to go back to see a dentist, who found it very strange that I cried the whole time. I think she thought I was very scared of seeing her!!!
What has been your proudest moment since starting the charity?
Seeing how important our memory boxes and support for families is.
What kind of fundraising have you been involved in for the Lily Mae Foundation?
We have held a Golf Day and Dinner Dance every year since losing Lily. We have just held the 7th Golf Day on April 8th 2016 at the Belfry where we had over 260 people attend and raised £11300; our most successful year yet.
Have you got any events this year that people could get involved in?
I would like to say a huge thank you to Amy for writing such honest answers, she is truly inspirational. Amy and The Lily Mae Foundation are doing a really great job at providing bereaved parents with a beautiful memory box, it doesn’t take the pain away but it gives them something to treasure while their hearts are breaking. If you would like to make a donation or get involved with The Lily Mae Foundation, please visit their website or click here to go to the justgiving page.
If you would like to know more about Sands you can find them online at https://www.uk-sands.org/