By Joshua Robinson –
A bereaved father is set to take on a 192-mile coast-to-coast walk in support of Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice and to show other families suffering the pain of losing a baby that they’re not alone.
It’s Baby Loss Awareness Week this week (9th-15th October), an opportunity to show support for those families who have suffered the loss of their baby and to raise awareness about the impact it can have on families.
One dad, Ashlee Jones, whose family has been supported by Forget Me Not after their baby Phoebe died at 26 weeks, is walking coast-to-coast next May, a 192-mile trek from St Bees in Cumbria to Robin Hood’s Bay in North Yorkshire, to raise money and show other families that they’re not alone.
Ashlee Jones said: “It was my best mate Joe who suggested the coast-to-coast walk. He said ‘if you’re going to do something, do something significant.’ We’ll be doing it in one go, carrying everything we need on our backs, on army rations and camping at night.”
“When Phoebe passed away, walking was the only thing that freed my mind, it made me feel closer to her. I knew I was already fit through my work, I knew I could take on a challenge like this and I knew it would get some attention and get the following it needed.”
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“I’m doing it for Forget Me Not because they’ve helped me and my family. When I went to Russell House the first time, it was totally different from what you’d expect. Not like somewhere you’d link with seriously ill children or bereaved parents. The support worker I met gave me loads of time, I was probably there for 2 hours, having a good old chat. Since then my wife Emma’s been here too, and my other daughter Ava and my mum. It’s just nice to know that you’re not alone. And that there’s support there for your family, now and in the future.”
Ashlee added: “I was also able to meet other dads there who have lost a baby – that was my main goal: to link up with people who totally understand what you’re going through.”
“I know though it can be hard for dads to ask for help, to talk about it. But asking for help is not a failure – it took a long time for me to work that out.”
“Words can be buried and forgotten and not said in times like this but if you don’t talk about it, it has a significant effect on your future. Untreated trauma is proven to have an effect on your physical health as well as your mental health. It’s so important to talk about it and not bury it. That’s another reason why it’s important to try and find every bit of support you can. All this walk is really about is helping people know that they’re not alone if they’ve lost a child.”
If you’d like to support Ashlee on his 192-mile walk, you can visit his Justgiving page here.