A MOTHER has set up a charity in memory of her daughter Hope, who was stillborn last year.
Helen Sheppard, aged 27, of Ballakilley Close, in Port Erin, has launched A Little Piece of Hope, to provide emotional and financial support to families who have lost children from gestational age up to 16.
She said: ‘There’s more support needed for parents on the island who have lost children.
‘Even from the professionals there are no leaflets given out by doctors at the hospital.’
Helen, who has two boys aged two and four, from a previous relationship, said that it was really difficult time for the whole family after she gave birth to Hope, stillborn, at 25 weeks.
‘It was unexpected. You just think when you’re pregnant it is going smoothly.
‘I had a scan two days before and no problems were seen. It’s just one of those things, you don’t know why it happened.’
Helen said families who had been in a similar position to her and her partner Phil Walmsley had welcomed the charity’s launch this month.
‘They think it could be really useful because there is no support on the island really,’ said Helen.
‘They have the funeral and that’s it.’
Along with a small group of friends – many of them mums – as trustees, they want to provide financial support for headstones, plaques and funeral services.
She said that for many parents their child’s death would be unexpected, so they might not have sufficient funds available to cover the costs, which can be substantial.
Cases will be assessed on an individual basis.
Helen believes that it may benefit parents to be able to talk to someone who had been through the same thing.
She stressed that any support would be confidential.
The charity’s first fundraising event, a sale and raffle, takes place on Sunday, 2pm to 4pm, at the Royal British Legion hall, in Droghadfayle Road, Port Erin.
At the time this article went online she didn’t know whether she would be able to attend the event herself – because she is due to give birth to a girl in the next week.
There are lots of fundraising ideas at the planning stage, and they hope to hold a monthly event to start with.
In the future, Helen also hopes that A Little Piece of Hope will work with other charities and organisations.
They include Look to the Moon, a bereavement support group which helped Helen. Set up earlier this year, it provides free online support and the chance to meet up at different places across the Isle of Man.
The charity is looking for sponsorship. If you can help, or would like to find out more about A Little Piece of Hope email littlepieceofhope(at)manx.net.
Alternatively, call Helen on 378284 or Nicola Walton on 202870.