By Bev Jordan
On the day Poppy Ruth would have turned two years old her parents Kyriae and Adam Simpson held a memorial at their Rouse Hill gym for stillborn children who have passed away … 19 names joined Poppy’s as part of the moving tribute to their short lives. Bears of Hope
Kyriae was 31 weeks pregnant in March 2020 when her baby stopped moving. Instead of welcoming their second child into the world on March 11th, the couple were grieving Poppy’s loss. The Bears of Hope, a pregnancy and infant loss support program were there to support them.
Adam, who runs Repetitions Fitness in Annangrove Rd, Rouse Hill, said: “I had this idea to do a 24-hour cycling challenge in the gym to raise money for a cuddle cot for Bears of Hope.”
The refrigerated cuddle cot enables parents to spend up to 24-hours with their baby.
He said the aim was to raise $6,500 for the cot with an event on Poppy’s first birthday but COVID restrictions postponed it for a year.
“I thought it would be just me and a few other people but all these people wanted to get involved and I had to put a cap on it at 80.”
The 16 teams of five riders ended up raising over $70,000 for Bears of Hope. Adam says the money will also go towards providing counselling and support plus gift packs to give the grieving family before they leave thehospital which is what happened to them.
“The gift pack contained a bear so when we left the hospital we weren’t leaving empty-handed,” said Adam. Just days before the cycling challenge was to go ahead Kyriae ended up in hospital with an ectopic pregnancy.
Adam said they were determined to go ahead with the planned fundraiser with family and friends and four-year-old daughter Darcy by their side.
“I am glad we did,” said Adam. “A lot of people from the community got in touch saying they had experienced something similar so we put together a tribute. Pregnancy and Infancy Loss is something that far too many people go through. But it is often unspoken about. We wanted to use our event as another day to remember.”
Amanda Bowles, CEO of Bears of Hope said the fundraiser was “incredible” for many reasons.
“The advocacy and education achieved through this event are invaluable. With 1 in 4 families experiencing loss if your family isn’t personally impacted, someone you know will be and knowing how to best support your friend empowers you to help them heal. Bears Of Hope has no government funding and relies solely on the community to ensure we can support bereaved families. Our grief counsellors have lived experience and we walk with families on their healing journey.”
Statistics from Bears of Hope reveal that every day six babies in Australia are stillborn and a miscarriage occurs every 3.5 minutes.
Last financial year Bears of Hope gave Bears of Hope and Keepsakes to over 6,000 grieving families. There were 593 free counselling given and 74 free support groups run.
If you need support, call 1300 11 HOPE. To find out more about Bears of Hope visit www.bearsofhope.org.au.