IT’S a shocking statistic –15 babies a day in the UK die before, during or just after childbirth.
The pain for the families is difficult to fathom.
But it is a number that inspired Paul Brown, a local community hero from West Lothian, to achieved an incredible challenge – running 15 laps of Arthur’s Seat in a day for local charity, SANDS Lothians.
Paul set himself the challenge to cover 45 miles in one day to raise awareness of the mortality rate in the UK, which is moving three times slower than some other European countries.
All money raised will support the vital work of SANDS Lothians, an Edinburgh-based community charity that provides compassionate care to families whose babies have died.
Paul is well known for his fundraising efforts already, having raised more than £7,000 for various charities and local groups, including SANDS Lothians, by taking part in more than ten marathons, including the 500 miles in five weeks challenge in 2017, the Hairy Haggis at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival (the 1k, 5k, 10k, half and full marathon over two days in May), Seven in Seven Days challenge in 2016, three ultra-marathons, swims and an Ironman event.
When he is not running, Paul works as a retail development executive for Lucozade Ribena Suntory and in his spare time is a personal trainer to help people who are looking to get in shape, including some of the bereaved parents that SANDS Lothians support.
In 2016, Paul was first motivated to support SANDS Lothians. Although not having direct experience of baby loss, throughout the year he had been moved by the stories of the families the charity support. He was especially touched by Nicky Reynolds’ story of her beautiful baby boy, Ramsay, who was tragically stillborn in February 2015, because of complications with blood vessels in the umbilical cord, a condition called vasa praevia.
SANDS Lothians supported Nicky and she shared her story and pictures of her precious Ramsay, which inspired Paul.
He said: “I want the families supported by SANDS Lothians to know that although I am not someone that has been through what they have, I have been touched by the things that I have read and the photos I have seen. In some quarters speaking about baby loss is still a taboo subject and I want to highlight that 15 babies a day die in the UK, which is something that we should all be aware of.”
Ramsay’s mum Nicky said: “It brings some small comfort, that through death, my little boy can make a difference to other bereaved families and help raise awareness of the wonderful work Sands Lothians does.”
Nicola Welsh, SANDS Lothians’ chief executive said: “We are really touched that Paul would set such an amazing challenge.”