Cambs support group founder speaks out for Sands Awareness Month

Kym and Mark Field with baby Alfie.

Kym and Mark Field with baby Alfie. - Credit: Archant

The co-founder of Cambridgeshire Sands group has spoken about her experiences to mark the charity’s awareness month.

The Cambs branch of Sands – which supports people affected by stillbirth and neonatal death – began when a group with shared heartbreaking experiences first met in late 2016.

Co-founder Kym Field told this paper: “I got involved with Sands because our first baby Alfie died in December 2015 aged just 35 hours, due to medical negligence.

“After he died, we realised what lack of support there is for families after their babies died in Cambridgeshire.”

The inquest into Comberton couple Kym and husband Mark’s baby’s death found that there had been a misinterpretation of the recording of Alfie’s heart rate during labour and that he would have survived if Rosie Hospital staff had delivered him sooner.

Kym continued: “I had been introduced to a lady who had completed her befriender training – Sands’ official training to aid people support others who have lost a baby during the support group meetings – and was looking to set up a group.

“Two friends of mine also came on board as did my parents and a friend of the original lady. We now make up the committee.

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“Our losses range from eight years ago to two years ago, and our support meetings are an informal space for anyone affected by the death of a baby to meet and speak about their baby and listen to others.

“We also support local hospitals to improve their bereavement care by offering things like staff training, support materials for parents, toiletries for parents to use during their time in hospital and sometimes bigger things like cold cots – to enable parents to spend more time with their babies after they have passed.

“Death is something that is such a taboo subject, let alone a baby’s death. It was certainly not something I ever expected to happen to me.

“The way people are treated and supported in the early days is so vital in their recovery so we are really pleased to offer this type of support locally.”

The national Sands charity was founded 40 years ago, and their awareness month takes place in June every year.

The Cambs group meets on the first Monday of every other month in the community space of Tesco in Bar Hill at 7.30pm – the next meeting is July 2.

Bereaved parents and grandparents from Cambridge, Huntingdon, St Ives, Chatteris, Royston, St Neots, Ely, March, Newmarket, Saffron Walden and Cambourne and the surrounding areas are more than welcome to drop in for a cup of tea and a chat.

Email to find out more.