THE legacy of a baby who was sadly stillborn will live on in a new Purple Butterfly suite at Rotherham Hospital, thanks to his family’s incredible fundraising.
Hayley Sharman and Jack Montgomery’s son Ted was born at 33 weeks on 24 February 2020, weighing just 3.14lbs. The family were supported through the worst heartache of their lives by midwives at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust and were able to spend time together in the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity, funded Purple Butterfly suite on the Labour Ward.
The couple, supported by their family and friends, have now donated £7,510 to the charity’s Purple Butterfly Appeal in memory of baby Ted. They celebrated their fundraising at a special photocall in the Snowdrop memorial garden at Rotherham Hospital, where an engraved leaf bearing Ted’s name was also unveiled on the charity’s memory tree.
The money will help to fund the relocation of the existing Purple Butterfly suite to the front of the Labour Ward, adjacent to reception, to ensure parents who suffer the tragic loss of a baby can grieve in privacy.
Hayley, 35, of Brinsworth, Rotherham, said:
“I gave birth to Ted at Rotherham Hospital in the Purple Butterfly suite and the care I received was unbelievable. All the staff were amazing. They were loving and caring but also really strong, wonderful, practical women who gave me the strength and power to go on and deliver Ted, knowing that we wouldn’t be able to take him home.
“That’s what moved us to find the strength we have. The midwives told us the charity had plans to move the Purple Butterfly suite and we wanted to do what we could to help. We know how important it is to relocate the room away from the busy ward. Hearing another baby on the ward cry nearby was just devastating.”
The couple, now proud parents of Ted’s six-month-old sister Millie, asked their friends and family to donate funds to the appeal instead of buying flowers at his funeral, on his first birthday and at Christmas. Jack’s father, Lee Montgomery, also fundraised with his under 12’s football team, the New Bohemians in Sheffield.
They hoped to raise £2,000 to fund a cuddle cot, a cooled moses basket that allows parents to spend valuable time with their baby, but their fundraising quickly escalated.
“We created a donation page and through the power of social media, people shared it and it grew from there. Never in a million years did we think we’d raise so much.
“We’re incredibly grateful to our families and friends but we also had donations from strangers who thanked us for helping to start a conversation about baby loss. We didn’t realise the impact we would have.
“We sadly can’t stop other families going through what we have, but we wanted to do something that would support them and make them feel more comfortable during such a tragic time.”
Rotherham Hospital has four Purple Butterfly rooms on Ward A2, Fitzwilliam, Ward B11 and the Labour Ward. They include all the facilities and home comforts families need to remain close to one another when time is most precious.
The Labour Ward was the first to receive a Purple Butterfly room. Work has already begun to relocate the suite and it is expected to be completed by the end of March 2022.
Shahida Mehrban, a Specialist Bereavement Midwife, is currently engaging with patients to get their feedback about how the new suite should look and feel.
“To receive such a big donation in memory of Ted is humbling and we are really proud to be investing the funds in ways that will enhance the facilities and care we provide. The new room will be a lasting legacy for Ted – we will never forget him.
“It was lovely to welcome Hayley and Jack to the Snowdrop memorial garden at Rotherham Hospital to thank them for their amazing fundraising in person.”
For more information about the charity’s Purple Butterfly Appeal, or to share your fundraising ideas, get in touch with Suzanne Rutter, Charity Engagement and Development Manager, on 01709 426821 or firstname.lastname@example.org.