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Mum’s Purple Butterfly Appeal tribute to stillborn daughters

27 Sep 2022 16:58:13
Danielle

A mother who tragically suffered two stillbirths has raised £1,037 in their memory to help other parents going through the same heartbreaking experience. 

Danielle Watson organised a T20 cricket match at Scholes Cricket Club on 7 August to raise funds for the Rotherham Hospital and Community Charity’s Purple Butterfly Appeal.

The 35-year-old and her husband Dave were inspired to fundraise in memory of their daughters Mia-Rose and River, who passed away in March 2018 and April 2019. Mia-Rose arrived 18 weeks into Danielle’s pregnancy and River was born at 32 weeks, weighing just £2lbs 15oz.

Rotherham Hospital has two charity-funded Purple Butterfly rooms on ward B11 and the delivery suite for parents who sadly lose a baby. Other families occupied both the rooms when Mia-Rose and River were born, but Danielle says she hopes her fundraising for the appeal will help support other bereaved parents in future.  

“The Purple Butterfly rooms are invaluable places for families who are experiencing the loss of a baby. Mia-Rose was taken away quickly as she was so small but I was able to spend time with River in another private room on the delivery suite,” Danielle said. 

“Although we couldn’t use an official Purple Butterfly room, that time we spent together massively helped with our healing at such a heartbreaking time. It meant everything to us. We could dress River in her first baby clothes, wash and cuddle her, take photos and invite our family to meet her in a safe, comforting and private space. 

“Everyone who cared for us at Rotherham Hospital were amazing, from the consultant to the midwives. We never felt rushed or a burden. This is our way of giving something back to them to say thank you. 

“I hope the Purple Butterfly rooms never have to be used but I also feel incredibly proud that if the worst should happen to another family, they will be able to spend time with their precious baby in a room we have contributed to.

“The event was brilliant. I had never played cricket before but apparently I’m a natural and I’ve been invited to play for a team! We had a lot of fun but it was also good to honour Mia-Rose and River’s memory and to normalise conversations about baby loss, which can be so difficult.”

The cricket match raised £696.90 with funds finally reaching £1,037 on Just Giving.

All the money raised by Danielle, who is also mum to Ebonie Ortton, 16, Faye Ortton, 14, Tyger Watson, two, and five-month-old Leo Watson, will help to provide resources for the Labour Ward’s Purple Butterfly suite. 

The charity has recently funded the relocation of the 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. The facilities are now almost complete.

Shahida Mehrban, a Specialist Bereavement Midwife at The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust, said: “To receive such a big donation in memory of Mia-Rose and River is incredible and we feel proud to be able to invest it in ways that will enhance the care and facilities we provide to other families suffering a bereavement. Thank you to Danielle, her amazing family and everyone to supported her fundraising.”

For more information about the Purple Butterfly Appeal visit https://www.therotherhamft.nhs.uk/Fundraising/The_Purple_Butterfly_Appeal/ or get in touch on 01709 426821 or trft.charity@nhs.net