A PORTOBELLO resident is set to challenge himself in an endurance running event to raise money for a charity which helped him through the most traumatic period of his life.
Niall Darroch said learning his son Ryan was stillborn in September 2015 was “the worst news anyone can ever be told.”
Keen athlete Niall, 43, now wants to use his passion for running to raise money for SANDS Lothian, the charity that helped him and wife Becca, 38, come to terms with their loss, as he prepares to take on the Men’s 10K Edinburgh next month.
Niall, a nursing assistant at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, said he was keen to highlight the charity’s work and use his experience to break down the taboo surrounding stillbirth.
Niall recalled: “I remember Becca getting whisked off and they told me Ryan had been stillborn, it was like being sideswiped by a car, it’s just the worst news anyone can ever tell you.
“Nothing can ever come close to that feeling of shock, that one minute life is going one way and in an instant it just completely changes; I can’t describe it.
“Although we are lucky to have really supportive family and friends, the expert support SANDS could give really made the difference in coming to terms with Ryan’s stillbirth.
“We are able to think of him with love and pride, and being able to talk about such a difficult subject hopefully reduces the taboo that bereaved parents sometimes feel.”
SANDS Lothians – established in Edinburgh in 1986 – offers a number of support programmes for the parents and families of stillborn children, including counselling services and bereavement support groups at their centres in the city and West Lothian.
The route for the November 5 race – which will feature hundreds of runners of all abilities – starts on Castle Hill, winding down the Royal Mile and around the Scottish Parliament before runners head out towards Murrayfield Stadium to cross the finish line.
Niall, who moved to Edinburgh from Glasgow ten years ago, said his previous experience of fundraising had allowed him to “feel closer” to his son, adding: “It’s something that has really come to define me as a person.
“It feels like you can go out there, lace up your running shoes and leave your brain at the door.”
“I did the Borders Triathlon Series last year and I feel that fundraising by racing give them an emotional depth that I struggle to explain and helps me feel closer to my son.
“I’m sure that running 10km through my adopted hometown in the company of men all racing for the good of others and themselves will be an emotional experience.”
“Helping SANDS Lothians fund their ongoing work means other families can be helped through difficult times. I knew that there would be a large and diverse group of SANDS Lothians supporters participating in the Edinburgh men’s 10k, and I’m looking forward to being part of a pack of men with a shared focus.”