Walk to raise money in memory of baby Louie

Kelly Thornham News

A grieving couple have vowed to turn the tragedy of losing their beloved baby boy into a positive for other parents by raising money to fund baby bereavement facilities.

Laura and Matthew Izzard, of Baildon, were devastated when baby Louie Alexander Izzard was born sleeping at 25 weeks earlier this year. The Snowdrop Suite at Bradford Royal Infirmary’s Women and Newborn Unit provided a sanctuary for them to say goodbye in peace, away from the Labour Ward. But unfortunately demand is high for the suite.

This Saturday 15 October – at the end of Baby Loss Awareness Week – the couple will walk 16 miles from Bingley to Leeds to raise money for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, to fund a second room similar to the Snowdrop Suite. They will be joined by family, friends and midwives to walk along the Leeds Liverpool Canal.

Laura, who is also mum to Ruby, two, said: “Louie was born in the early hours of 11 July and we were quickly moved from the Labour Ward to the Snowdrop Suite. Before this happened to us, we had never heard of the Snowdrop Suite or even knew that a Maternity Bereavement Team existed.

“The Snowdrop Suite is a larger, private room with an en-suite. The room also has a kitchenette and sofas, providing room for loved ones to visit. In this room you cannot hear anything going on in the nearby Labour Ward.

“We got to spend many precious hours with our little Louie, and having the space and privacy of the Snowdrop Suite provided us with the isolation and safe haven from the rest of the hospital surroundings. We didn’t realise how much we appreciated this suite as we reflected on our precious memories of holding Louie, singing to him, talking to him and capturing short moments that we’ll treasure forever.

“Unfortunately the Snowdrop Suite is used more than we could have imagined, so we want to raise as much as possible for the maternity bereavement team to help future families by creating a second suite.

“We cannot thank our bereavement midwife, the midwives present and other professionals enough who looked after us and comforted us on the worst day of our lives. Not only do we want to raise money for the suite, but we want to raise awareness of the difficult work that the bereavement team do, and we want to honour our son, Louie Alexander Izzard – forever loved by us all.”

Hayley Collis, Head of Fundraising for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “It’s incredibly kind of Laura and Matthew to think of other parents who will face the unimaginable tragedy they did. It’s a beautiful idea to raise money in Louie’s memory.

“We were incredibly proud to fund the refurbishment of the first Snowdrop Suite five years ago thanks to the fundraising efforts of parents. A second suite will mean all our bereaved families have a safe haven to say goodbye, with no time pressures.”

Julie Key, Bereavement Support Midwife at Bradford Teaching Hospitals, said: “A second room will greatly improve care for all families going through a bereavement loss in our Labour Ward.

“The extra room will provide parents with a little oasis of peace and calm to give them a safe and private space to spend with their baby. It will go a long way to help families during what is an extremely difficult time.”

Anyone wishing to donate to support the walk should visit http://www.justgiving.com/WalkForLouie

Laura, Matthew and Ruby