30-hour spin put on for mem­ory event

The Tribune (NZ) - - COMMUNITY COOKBOOK - KIRSTY LAWRENCE

Help­ing fam­i­lies griev­ing for the loss of a baby is some­thing Sands does well, but their sup­port comes with costs they need to meet.

Their Manawatu-Horowhenua branch were at the Home Show in the week­end run­ning their Miles in Mem­ory fundrais­ing event.

Sands is a na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tion which sup­ports par­ents and fam­i­lies that have ex­pe­ri­enced the death of a baby at any stage dur­ing preg­nancy, or as an in­fant.

Their Miles in Mem­ory saw two mums rid­ing on spin bikes for 24 hours on Fri­day and three dads rid­ing for 30 hours, start­ing on Satur­day, in mem­ory of ba­bies lost to mis­car­riage, still­birth or neona­tal death.

Jen Stephens said the event was their ma­jor fundrais­ing event with a goal to raise $5000.

This was the fifth time the event had been held but the first year they had mums rid­ing.

As Sands re­ceived no gov­ern­ment fund­ing, Stephens said the money they raised went to­wards the dif­fer­ent ways they sup­ported fam­i­lies through their loss.

This in­cluded the care pack­ages they made, a pho­tog­ra­pher who goes in and pho­tographs the baby and their par­ents, as well as cloth­ing items made.

‘‘We also pro­vide lit­tle coffins that are made up es­pe­cially for the small ba­bies.’’

Ev­ery­thing they pro­vided was free for the fam­i­lies, but came at a cost to them.

‘‘Ev­ery­one who is in the group has lost so we can un­der­stand their jour­ney, but ev­ery­one’s jour­ney is to­tally dif­fer­ent.’’

Stephens her­self lost two ba­bies, one at 17 weeks and one at 24 weeks.

‘‘It took me a long time to be able to talk about it.’’

The sec­ond loss was in 2009 and Stephens said she joined Sands five years ago to help peo­ple.

‘‘It took me a cou­ple of years un­til I could see my­self help­ing sup­port peo­ple, but now it’s quite an hon­our to be able to be there for the fam­i­lies.’’

Peo­ple from around the re­gion also got in­volved.

Jono Nay­lor and Ian McK­elvie were among those who jumped on and pumped the spare bike at the Home Show to show sup­port.

Sands was also run­ning a raf­fle un­til the end of Au­gust, with tick­ets that could be pur­chased by mes­sag­ing their Face­book page.

Over the week­end, the an­nual Home Show at the Cen­tral En­ergy Trust Arena had thou­sands of peo­ple through to check out the 270 com­pa­nies on dis­play.

PHOTO: WAR­WICK SMITHSTUFF

Crys­tal John­ston and Liz Peters spin-cycling for Sands.

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