A south Armagh couple suffered every parent’s worst nightmare when they lost their beautiful baby boy just five months ago.
Kerri Marie and John Boyle’s son Jude was born on February 13, at 23 weeks, but, tragically, he died the next day.
The Camlough couple, having experienced the agony of that great loss, have now dedicated themselves to helping others who find themselves forced to go through the same heart-break.
To that end, Kerri Marie and John have just donated 50 memory boxes to Daisy Hill Hospital’s maternity department.
The couple have raised £4,500 to fund the boxes from the Lily Mae Foundation following the sad loss of Jude. They raised the money through a raffle, a sponsored walk and balloon release at Camlough Lake in memory of babies who have died.
Kerri Marie said: “Having gone through the traumatic experience of losing a baby we wanted to do something to help other families through such a devastating time. We took great comfort from our local community who came together to raise awareness of this issue and donated to our fundraising effort.
“The memory boxes include teddies, casts to make hand and footprints, boxes to keep a lock of hair and hospital tags and a few other little keepsakes to help families to remember their little ones.”
Brenda Kelly, Lead Midwife for the Southern Health and Social Care Trust, has praised the Boyle family for all that they have done after their own devastating loss.
She said: “Sadly every week in Northern Ireland, four babies are stillborn or die in the first four weeks of their life. Work is ongoing across the UK to try to reduce stillbirths and neonatal deaths which are so distressing for families and the staff involved.
“Our Maternity, Bereavement, Patient Support and Chaplaincy teams work with charities like SANDS to practically and emotionally support families following the loss of a baby, so we greatly welcome the donation of the memory boxes to help bring comfort during such a difficult time.
“We would like to thank the Boyle family who have taken the time amid their own loss to so generously consider others in the same situation.”
The Boyle family would like to thank everyone who supported them during the past few months and who donated to their fundraising campaign. They will also be donating memory boxes to the Royal Victoria Hospital.
Kerri Marie and John also have their own Just Giving page to raise money for the Lily Mae Foundation, a charity which provides much-needed support to parents and families who have lost a baby to stillborn or neonatal death.
That page alone has so far raised over £1,000 in baby Jude’s memory to help others.
Anyone who would like to support the Boyle family can visit the page and donate as little or as much as they can afford.
The link can be accessed at: https://www.justgiving.com/Kerri-Marie-and-John-Boyle