£15k Burnley General fund to help families

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: From left, Vanessa Hollings, of Family Care; Joanne Edwards, founder of The Friends of Serenity; and Anita Fleming, head of midwifery at the glittering fundraiser From left, Vanessa Hollings, of Family Care; Joanne Edwards, founder of The Friends of Serenity; and Anita Fleming, head of midwifery at the glittering fundraiser

A TEACHER has raised £15,000 for Burnley General Hospital after losing her baby son to a rare genetic disorder.

Joanne Edwards, 30, from Darwen, will donate the funds to build a second ‘serenity’ suite at Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre – to give comfort to parents who have lost a child.

The existing suite was already being used when Joanne, deputy headteacher at Sacred Heart Primary School in Colne, suffered a mid-term miscarriage in March last year.

During several months of fundraising, she and her husband Mark also aimed to raise awareness of the rare chromosonal abnormality Patau Syndrome, also called Trisomy 13, which affected Luke, their unborn baby.

The pair, who set up The Friends of Serenity to raise the cash, hit their fundraising target after staging a glitzy ball at Eaves Hall near Clitheroe, which brought in about £7,000 from 120 guests. Joanne had previously staged smaller events and taken part in fitness challenges to raise money, while midwives at East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust also held cake sales and promoted the cause.

The Jacks Key Drive resident said she was forced to remain in a clinical room after her miscarriage, as the existing serenity suite was occupied, and this did not give them as much comfort.

She added: “Initially I just wanted to raise awareness about Trisomy 13, and never expected to raise so much money. But I’m delighted we have, because it will help parents cope with what is a devastating time.

“There are over 6,700 live births at Burnley and, on average, about three families per month will lose their child.

“We’ll shortly be measuring up and making estimates for the new suite and plan to purchase furniture and equipment for both the current and new suite.”

As well as creating a new suite, the money will help refurbish the existing facility and offer parents memory boxes containing special handmade items such as small blankets and hats.

Joanne added: “We particularly want to create memory boxes for parents who lost their baby mid-gestation – as there is a shortage of these available.

“And we are going to continue to raise money to help other local hospitals and to fund equipment and support improvements at East Lancashire.”

For more information go to www.facebook.com/hopeserenity trisomy13awareness

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