On the 4th of November 2007, Anna Kelly’s life changed when she gave birth to twin boys Daniel Marcus and Bailey Jay Kelly five months earlier than expected. Devastatingly, Anna had suffered a miscarriage due her cervix opening early, causing sepsis and threatening her life, as well as her babies’ lives.

Anna’s twin boys were still alive at the time of birth, but medical staff explained that there was no chance of survival due to the complications that had occurred. This was an extremely difficult time for both Anna and her husband, who had tried for children through IVF treatment. In a time where they both felt lost and alone, one charity was on hand to support them through the tragedy.

“My experience with Sands began about two hours after I delivered the twins. A lady called Leslie came to the ward, introduced herself and told me what the charity were all about,” explained Anna.

Sands are a charity who work to save babies’ lives and help bereaved families. They provide support for anyone affected by pregnancy loss or the death of a baby and also carry out vital work to improve maternity safety through research and campaigning for change.

Anna explained that Leslie made arrangements for her to be moved from the maternity ward to a private room off the delivery suite. Leslie explained where the twin boys were taken and then arranged for the boys to be brought into the room so Anna and her husband could spend time with them, before sitting with Anna’s parents and giving them advice on the best way to support the family during that difficult time.

Leslie provided a host of support, for Anna, her husband, her family and even for the nursing staff as she let them know when family members would be coming in to say their goodbyes.

Anna said, “The hardest part was leaving the hospital knowing I was leaving with nothing but my body thought I was leaving with two babies. Leslie was a huge support at this time and even arranged for me to get tablets to dry up the milk I was producing”.

Even after Anna left the hospital, Leslie provided aid in arranging the funeral and was right by the family’s side until after the service.

Anna highlighted the importance of Leslie’s role during a difficult time, saying, “Without the help of Leslie from Sands, our whole experience of such a sad, sad time would’ve been even harder without a hand to hold and someone to listen and take away some of the hardest parts. Arranging a funeral is the most painful thing that a mother, father and family could possibly think about just after losing the most precious gift in the world.”

In a heroic effort to repay her thanks to Sands, and in memory of her baby boys, Anna will be completing a 5k run on Thursday, 12th October to raise funds for the charity. Taking part in the charity’s ‘Ribbon Run’ event, Anna will be using the Red Lion pub in Bishop Sutton as a start and end point, beginning at 1pm. The date falls in line with the national Baby Loss Awareness Week campaign, which runs from the 9th to the 15th of October every year.

After completing the run, at 3:30pm, Anna will be hosting a ribbon wall. Anyone who has experienced baby loss is welcome to tie a pink, blue or white ribbon, provided by Anna, to raise awareness and remember their lost loved ones. This will also take place at the Red Lion pub. Anna explains that, “The ribbons signify that you are not alone, and there are many more people than you realise that have been through the same loss. The ribbon wall is there to remember the precious babies, born too soon”.

Anna’s daughter, Eva, who is in secondary school, will be attending the ribbon tie event in support, and Anna’s mum will also be tying a ribbon to remember her grandsons. If you would like to support Anna, you can donate to her fundraiser at: https://fundraising.sands.org.uk/fundraisers/annakelly.