400 supporters have been thanked for raising a huge £169,713.16 for maternity bereavement services, with fundraising activities ranging from a 20-mile sponsored walk to 15,000 ft skydives and a fashion show.
The Serenity Appeal, a fundraising campaign by Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) Charity, has concluded after surpassing its original goal of £150,000 to create a specialist bereavement suite and fund transformational equipment for the service.
Speaking about the bespoke suite, which officially opened on 15 June 2023, Specialist Bereavement Midwife, Rhian Morris, said: “I want to say a huge thank you to every family, business and organisation, all of whom have helped make this dream a reality.”
The campaign, which officially began in March 2022, has been instrumental in advancing maternity bereavement services across Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI) and Bassetlaw Hospital. It has enabled the creation of a specialist bereavement suite at DRI, as well as funding a mobile ultrasound scanner at Bassetlaw Hospital and the refurbishment of two counselling rooms.
The brand-new mobile ultrasound scanner provides a more ‘dignified’ and ‘comfortable’ experience for patients with pregnancy complications, keeping everything under one roof, improving rapport with patients in their vulnerable state and ensuring they are dealt with by the same, familiar healthcare provider throughout.
Prior to the creation of the suite, there was no private, specialised area at DRI for families to grieve the loss of their baby.
Rhian went on: “The Suite will help give the families a more comfortable, private environment to stay in, and give them time to make everlasting memories with their baby. Giving them the time to say hello, whilst saying goodbye.”
Notable donations to the cause include a phenomenal £30,000 from mental health nurse Carla Spence, who runs her own baby loss charity ‘Ernie’s Wish’, so-called after her son Ernie who passed away in 2016.
Additionally, local community clubs Thorne Rural Lions and Tickhill and District Lions contributed just over £40,000 to the campaign, going out of their way to secure extra funding from Lions Clubs International, based in Illinois in the USA.
Chief Executive, Richard Parker OBE, said: “For most people, it is probably very hard to appreciate the impact that the loss of a baby has on the parents and families involved but also the impact that a purpose-built facility can make in a small way. The creation of such a space at DBTH is testament to our commitment to helping families navigate the profound pain of baby loss.
“The journey to create this space has involved a multitude of dedicated individuals and teams, spanning several departments, as well as the unwavering support of our community. I am incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished together.
“Our hope is that in time, this suite won’t be needed, but until then, we stand ready to embrace and console those who need it most.
Over the last five years, services for grieving families have seen other major improvements, including the introduction of the Butterfly Garden, a private and beautiful outdoor space for families to sit and process their grief.
The appeal has also been supported during a recent visit from Her Royal Highness, Anne, Princess Royal, who toured the Serenity Suite in her capacity as patron of the Royal College of Midwives – to read the full story, click here: https://www.dbth.nhs.uk/news/the-princess-royal-visits-doncaster-royal-infirmary/
Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Charity would like to extend its heartfelt gratitude to every individual, organisation, and community member who contributed to the Serenity Appeal’s remarkable success. It is their compassion and dedication that have brought about positive change and made a lasting impact on the lives of those the Trust serves.