March Round Up

March has been our month of growth – far beyond our expectations. Read on to hear about us pebble painting,  going viral and our first victorious challengers!

The Pebble Project

“I hope we get about twenty. Yes let’s aim for that. Twenty would look good in a photo. Actually, twenty-one would look better… apparently, odd numbers make better photos. And flower arrangements. You’re supposed to always have an odd number in a vase…”

That was me, rabbiting on at my long-suffering husband, who had (as usual) tuned out. Back arched and neck craned in an attempt to see my screen, he interrupted: “What was that?”

My computer chirped as an email notification popped up in the top right hand corner, with “Pebble Order” in the subject line. Our eyes widened and we looked at each other with slightly baffled grins.

It chirped again. And then again. For once, I was stunned to silence as a steady stream of emails trickled into my inbox. Over the hours that followed, we clocked up well over those 21 orders. Then in the days that followed, it snowballed.

Although we were initially eager for the project to succeed to boost our fundraising efforts, this was becoming something else entirely. For each of those orders was steeped in sorrow. Loss. Grief. Pain. A precious life robbed. A family in tatters, desperate to honour and remember their lost little ones.

To all of you who have ordered, we are humbled to do this very little thing for your babies, and we’re determined to do you all proud.

For anyone awaiting the end of our Pebble Project freeze – we are working steadily through the orders and will post / tweet / update our Facebook page as soon as we are able to re-open.

Going Viral

March has been especially difficult for me over the last five years. This year, my birthday fell hot on the heels of Mother’s Day and each of those days feels double edged. It’s hard to think of the day I was born without thinking about the day he was. It’s hard to celebrate being a mother when the one who gave me that title is gone.

So I turned to Neil Gaiman’s advice from his excellent commencement speech at the University of the Arts in 2012:

“Life is sometimes hard. Things go wrong, in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. And when things get tough, this is what you should do:

 Make good art.”

I don’t know about the “good” part, but I put pen to paper anyway and wrote for all the mothers out there who might have found Mother’s Day a bit more complicated than Hallmark would have you believe. And apparently it went viral with over 2k shares on Facebook within 48 hours.

So, we’re getting out there – 5 for 5 could yet take over the world!

Challenge Updates:

Our first challengers have stormed through the finish line! Lucy valiantly braved a miserable 5 weeks without chocolate (ending just in time for Easter – forward planning at its best) and Colleen swam 5000 metres, emerging from the water as though she’d just had a dip in a spa pool.

Pledges are growing in number: runners, bakers, open water swimmers, readers, block builders, travellers, mountaineers, cyclists, squatters, tee-totalers, musicians and afternoon-tea-ers. Phew!

We’re growing! Keep pledging and don’t forget to bring on 5 fellow pledgers.

Charity Update:

Following the announcement that the government aims to halve the numbers of stillbirths by 2030, the NHS England Saving Babies Lives Care Bundle launched on March 21st. Sands, as the leading charity for stillbirth and neonatal death, contributed to this as advisory group members.

Tommy’s announced some potentially game-changing research into causes of recurrent miscarriage. Professor Quenby explained that a lack of stem cells in the endometrium could play a factor in repeated losses. Increasing stem cell populations will be the focus of their pilot interventions, with funding provided by Tommy’s from April.

These are just some of the projects your donations are supporting. Babies lives will be saved. Families will escape the horror of burying a child.

You are all amazing. Thank you.

Remember, the 5 for 5 Challenge is designed for anyone of any age, in any condition, from anywhere in the world. It’s a completely personalised event. If you want to take part, but haven’t yet pledged, go here and get started! Any challenge big or small is warmly welcomed. If you’re stuck for inspiration, take a look at our ideas page.

We’d also appreciate spreading the word on your social media networks. Join our Facebook group and follow us on twitter.

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