19 April 2024

Our fundraising walk for Louie

by Rebecca Hannant

A couple have been inspired to raise money for baby bereavement services after the devastation of losing their baby boy.

Earlier this year, Laura Izzard – who grew up in Withernsea – and her husband Matthew, who now live in Baildon, Bradford, lost their baby Louie Alexander when he was stillborn at 25 weeks.

The couple were taken to the Snowdrop Suite at Bradford Royal Infirmary’s Women’s and Newborn Unit which provided the pair a chance to be with their son in a safe environment away from the busy labour ward and hospital environment.

Laura said: “Louie was born in the early hours of July 11, and we were quickly moved from the labour ward to the Snowdrop Suite. Before this happened to us, we had never heard of the Snowdrop Suite or even knew that a maternity bereavement team existed.

“The Snowdrop Suite is a larger, private room with an en-suite. The room also has a kitchenette and sofas, providing room for loved ones to visit. In this room you cannot hear anything going on in the nearby labour ward.

“We got to spend many precious hours with our little Louie and having the space and privacy of the Snowdrop Suite provided us with the isolation and haven from the rest of the hospital surroundings. We didn’t realise how much we appreciated this suite as we reflected on our precious memories of holding Louie, singing to him, talking to him, and capturing short moments that we’ll treasure forever.”

However, because of the high volume of similar cases, demand for the suite is high.

Laura added: “Unfortunately the Snowdrop suite is used more than even we had imagined. Just as we had gone to visit Louie the next day, we asked whether we would be back in the same room, but sadly our bereavement midwife told us that it was occupied yet again just a day after ourselves. From our understanding this is often the case, and on occasion bereft parents might have to make use of a room just off the busy labour ward.”

Upset about the constant demand for the room, the couple vowed to raise money for the hospital to put towards creating a second room that would allow more families facing similar circumstances to receive the time and treatment offered after the death of their son.

Laura said: “We cannot thank our bereavement midwife, the midwives present and other professionals enough who looked after us and comforted us on the worst day of our lives. Not only do we want to raise money for the suite, but we want to raise awareness of the difficult work that the bereavement team do and honour our son, Louie Alexander Izzard. Forever loved by us all.”

As part of their fundraising venture, the couple, alongside their family and friends, walked 16 miles from Bingley to Leeds alongside the Leeds Liverpool Canal on Saturday, October 15.

Laura added: “The second room will hopefully ensure that anyone else who goes through the heartbreak of baby loss will be provided with the space, privacy and time that they need.”

The couple originally hoped to raise £5,000, but at the time of writing the total stands at more than £11,000.

Speaking after the walk, Laura said: “We’re still trying to process it all as it was emotional having so many of our family and friends alongside of us and pushing ourselves all to honour our beautiful boy and raise money for the bereavement team at the BRI. We are really going to make a difference and help so many families.”

To donate, visit justgiving.com/WalkForLouie.