Sunderland couple who lost baby daughter just minutes after birth set up charity in her name as they welcome healthy baby boy
A Sunderland couple have marked the second birthday of their firstborn by launching a charity as her legacy.
The Castletown couple were told at their 20-week scan she had a series of conditions and would not survive when she was born, with Steph and Phil making the decision to continue with the pregnancy and spend what time they could with her.
Supported at the time by Sunderland Royal Hospital’s team and the 4Louis organisation, they have since turned their attentions to helping other families like them.
Now, to mark two years since Amelia’s birth, Phil, 30, who works at Nissan, and social worker Steph, 26, have launched the charity, with the name created as a sign off from a letter from their girl.
“It has all helped us through our grief, it’s massively helped us through,” said Steph.
“If we didn’t have Amelia, we would never have set up the charity or worked with 4Louis.
“We want this to be a celebration of her life, not her death.
“She lived and that’s what we want to be remembered.”
Three months ago, Phil and Steph welcomed son Jack.
The couple gifted a teddy of the hare from the Guess How Much I Love You book in his big sister’s honour.
Steph, who was born in South Shields, added: “I used to read it to Amelia, so we got the hare from her.
“He will know all about his big sister and she will always be a part of our family.
“She changed our life and whenever people ask how many children we have, we say two, and tell them about our baby daughter.”
Phil added: “This is for anyone in need really, whether it's financial help because of poverty, it could be they’ve faced domestic abuse or there could be religious reasons.
“They could be in any situation and we want them to be supported.”
The charity, which also covers Seaham, South Tyneside and Durham aims to give all children an equal start in life and hopes to help families in need, such as those living in poverty, mums welcoming a surprise baby to those fleeing domestic abuse or difficult circumstances.
It is collecting new and pre-loved baby items including clothing, Moses baskets, toys and toiletries to give to families in Sunderland, who would otherwise be without.
The couple say they have been overwhelmed with the kindness shown by supporters so far and hope others will help back their cause now it is officially up and running, with maternity staff to help in terms of referrals.
Janet Griffin, directorate manager at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, said: “For us, this is about working with women to help those who are struggling, to provide for them and their babies or other members of their family, older children, and to give them more support.
“We have done a lot of work with the family after they had Amelia, they have made cash donations and put together boxes, and now we’ve seen them during the pregnancy with Jack, their gorgeous little boy.
“It’s working in partnership with them, which is really nice.”
Drop off sessions will run and more information can be found via the charity’s Facebook page, with a list of items needed posted on the page.
The next will be held on Wednesday, February 5, and Friday, February 18, from noon until 3pm, at the Co-Op Centre in Hendon.
People can also give their support by choosing to drop their blue Tesco tokens in the voting section at the exit to the store.
The shops taking part are those at Sunderland Retail Park, the Metro outlet in the Bridges, South Shields superstore and the express stores in Silksworth Road and Prince Edward Road and Westoe Crown Village in South Shields.