By Maureen Sugden
WHEN baby Eva Hopper was stillborn four years ago, just weeks after her due date, her parents’ world was understandably turned upside down.
And among the overwhelming grief was the shock of learning how many other parents experience similar losses each year.
Now Eva’s mother Lynsey is on a mission to raise awareness by running the London Marathon this year in memory of her daughter, documenting her journey to the event on social media.
But the primary teacher, from Prestwick in south Ayrshire, is also keen to raise money for Sands (the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society), the charity that has helped her and her husband overcome the loss of their daughter.
Ms Hopper, 37, said: ‘The loss of Eva was a huge shock after what had been a very classic pregnancy up to that point.
“Hearing that Eva was going to be born while sleeping was absolutely devastating and it still is to this day – it’s going to be devastating forever.
“But I now feel strong enough and brave enough to share her story.”
It was after noticing a reduction in movement, just hours after the joyous event of her baby shower, that Ms Hopper sought medical attention, only to learn there was no heartbeat.
Reflecting on the days that followed, she said: “Eva came herself. It was the only opportunity I was going to have for us to have this moment together.
“I was scared – I didn’t know what it would be like, but she just looked like she was sleeping. It was like a breath of love.
“Sands had a mourning room for us and organized a memory box. We expected to leave with a baby and we left with a box, but we were happy to have it under the circumstances.
Now Ms Hopper is preparing to run the London Marathon on October 2, documenting her training to tackle the 26.2-mile course on Instagram as she strives to raise awareness of baby loss.
According to Sands, every day in the UK around 13 babies die before, during or shortly after
birth – this means that almost every two hours a family is faced with the devastation of the death of their baby.
The organization works in partnership with healthcare professionals, health trusts and boards, and offers a range of training programs and bereavement care resources to ensure bereaved parents receive “the best care possible wherever they go. ‘they are in the UK’.
Sands also supports and promotes research to better understand the causes of baby deaths to save babies’ lives and works with governments and other stakeholders to make reducing the number of babies dying a national and local priority.
Ms Hopper, who is married to financial planner Grahame and is now also mother to daughters Rosa, three, and Ada, one, said: “Eva was here with us for such a short time but her story is huge and in her name, and all the other baby boys and girls who are born sleeping or who die shortly after birth, then we need to raise vital awareness to prevent this from happening because the numbers are way too high. ours, the numbers shouldn’t be that high, so we need to raise awareness.
“My husband and I had our lives turned upside down in an instant. To this day, we have no idea how we were able to leave the hospital without our baby girl.
“Our wish would be that no mum or dad has to endure the heartbreak of saying goodbye to their son or daughter far too soon.
“Unfortunately, the number of babies lost to stillbirth and neonatal death is still far too high.
“That’s why Sands’ work is so important. It is vital that parents going through such loss are supported and that vital research continues to be carried out into the causes of the loss, with the aim of preventing it from happening.
Nicola Knight, Senior Manager of Community Engagement and Supporter Events at Sands, said: “We are very grateful to Lynsey for organizing this year’s London Marathon in memory of her daughter Eva while also raising funds. funds for Sands.
“The funds she raises will allow us to continue saving babies’ lives and to be there for anyone affected by the loss of their baby. She’s going to be amazing and we can’t wait to cheer her on the course on the big day.
More information on Ms. Hopper’s marathon run can be found at www.instagram.com/running_with_eva/