Woman to run for charity that ‘got her through darkest hour’

Tracy Watt will run 10k for SANDS Lothian. Picture; contributed
Tracy Watt will run 10k for SANDS Lothian. Picture; contributed

A WOMAN who lost her baby son after just 19 hours will take on a ten-mile running challenge for the charity that supported her in her darkest times.

Tracy Watt, from the Capital, was stunned when little Lewis was diagnosed with severe spina bifida just weeks earlier.

A check-up showed her blood pressure was high at 38 weeks into her pregnancy and then a scan confirmed the news to Tracy, who was left devastated that her first son would not survive the birth.

Tracy was given a day with Lewis and said she was grateful for the time she was able to spend with him.

After Lewis’ tragic passing, Tracy hid her feelings for years and eventually sought help from SANDS Lothian, a charity that supports people who have gone through a still-birth or neonatal death pregnancy.

She finally felt able to move on from losing Lewis by taking up running and having something to focus her grief on.

She threw herself into fundraising for the charity to give something back to them. Tracy now works as a fundraiser for SANDS and is taking on a series of challenges to raise awareness about stillbirth, including the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run on Sunday, April 23.

Tracy, 49, said: “Losing Lewis was a very odd feeling. I went into the doctors on Thursday expecting to give birth to a healthy baby within a few days and then by Saturday, I was leaving hospital without my son.

“When they said to me that Lewis wasn’t going to survive the birth, I was terrified.

“I spent such a long time not even mentioning Lewis’ name. I felt very alone because no-one would speak to me and any of my friends who were pregnant or who had kids avoided me in case I got upset.

“I split up with my husband and I moved away from the city. It was only on my return to Edinburgh that a colleague of mine who knew my story suggested I pop into SANDS.

“I couldn’t believe how easy it was to open up and talk to people there. I felt completely at ease and it was probably the first time I had been able to speak about Lewis. It was really amazing to know there were people out there who understood my feelings and what I had gone through.”

Tracy will join more than 4500 people on a ten-mile tour of the Capital for the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run.

The event is the only run that takes participants through the heart of the city, passing Edinburgh Castle, Greyfriars Bobby, Scott Monument and Arthur’s Seat.

The event will also include a brand new five-mile distance, for those who do not feel their legs can take the challenging ten-mile course, and the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run Family Mile and Toddler Dash, for families to be involved on the day too.

Tracy, who also has a son, Ian, has raised hundreds of pounds for SANDS Lothian who have a help and advice centre in both Edinburgh and Livingston.

She added: “For Lewis to survive 19 hours was a miracle and with the help of SANDS, I am able to keep hold of the positive memories, being able to hold and feed him even though it was for a short time.

“I decided to take part in events like the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run to raise awareness about neonatal deaths and to encourage other people to talk about it.

“When Lewis died I felt as though it was a taboo subject so running events like this now and wearing my charity vest with pride encourages others to find out about SANDS and ask questions. It encourages family and friends to support people who have suffered a loss and to make them feel like they are helping in some way.”

Support Tracy’s fundraising here: https://acefrb-oct2017.everydayhero.com/uk/free-falling-for-lewis. Entries for the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run, the five-mile event and the Simplyhealth Great Edinburgh Run Family events are open. Enter at Greatrun.org/Edinburgh