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‘It will spur me on’: Mother is taking on charity walk in memory of her baby

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A mum whose daughter died after just two days is taking on a mammoth walking challenge to raise funds for the charity that gave her “clarity” in her darkest hour.Angela Gray has signed up for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices’ (EACH) Norfolk Pier 2 Pier walk in memory of Sophie, who was born by emergency C-section, after 37 weeks, in August 2018.Despite a trouble-free pregnancy, there were complications at birth and Sophie was transferred from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Lynn to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Angela Gray with husband Chris and daughter Isabelle. Credit: EACH

However, Angela and her husband Chris made the “heart-wrenching” decision to withdraw treatment – and it was at that point they were referred to EACH.Angela said they were apprehensive to start with, but the support they received turned out to be a lifesaver.She said: “I’d gone from being pregnant and expecting a normal, healthy baby to then having to make the horrific decision to withdraw treatment. It was so unexpected.

Sophie who died two days after being born. Credit: EACH

“Our world had been ripped apart and turned upside down within 24 hours.“In so many ways it’s a complete blur. I couldn’t think clearly or compute what was going on around me.“However, there are other parts I remember clearly and that’s largely thanks to the support I received from EACH.“Having someone by my side, to guide me, helped give me clarity.“We did things like memory-making, taking photos and handprints and those are things I was encouraged to do.“I’m so grateful because had it been down to me, at that moment, I might have said ‘no’. Then the opportunity would have been lost forever.“Instead, I have these wonderful things to help me remember Sophie, so I’ll forever be grateful.”As a way of showing her support, Angela, who lives in Lynn, has signed up for June’s Pier 2 Pier event – a 32-mile trek from Cromer to Great Yarmouth along the Norfolk Coastal Path.She is taking on the gruelling challenge with her friend Alice Eatock.“I like walking and did a lot after we lost Sophie,” said Angela, whose other daughter, Isabelle, was born in September 2019.“It’s a great way to be alone with my thoughts and I think about her a lot.“I’m quite apprehensive – it’s a very long way – but the reason I’m doing it will spur me on and give me extra motivation.“EACH is close to my heart and I can’t thank the team enough.”Aside from the support she received, Angela also attended bereavement groups, and that gave her an “opportunity to meet other parents and families in similar situations” – people who she is still in touch with.She added: “People don’t realise how much EACH does. They think of the end of life, but not all the other things like bereavement and well-being support.“That’s part of the reason I’ve taken on this challenge – to raise funds but also, hopefully, some awareness, too.“It’s become a bit of a personal challenge and I thought this is the year to give something back, especially as I turn 40 in April.”

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