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Baby loss charity’s community keep connected through virtual running

Posted: 2nd June 2020

Local charity Held In Our Hearts has seen success through a series of virtual challenges through April and May to keep their community connected and raise essential funds for their work.

The charity has always had a groundswell of supporters who are keen runners, as part of Team Held In Our Hearts, and they wanted to find a way for them to stay connected as a community throughout the lockdown. Through the month of May the challenge was #MayTheKBeWithYou for supporters to continue to get out, with the aim of completing a longer distance over the Edinburgh Marathon Festival (EMF) weekend. The charity will today launch a new June challenge, #TheKTeam asking supporters to see how many ‘K’ they can do and how far round the world that would be.

During what would have been the EMF weekend, 102 runners put on their charity vests, doing virtual runs in their local community, completing 1ks, 5ks, 10ks and even a marathon relay team of 4 (who ran separately at different times). In the process, they raised a wonderful £4357 over the month.

The events started on Friday morning at 6am as two supporters Stephanie and Anita were working. They braved a wet and windy early start as they wanted to make sure they could be part of something very special. A mother in law and daughter in law duo determined not to let work get in the way of their support of the charity.

Anita Baggs said about starting this special weekend with her virtual run:

“On Friday morning at 6am I felt extremely proud, lucky and privileged to be starting the Virtual EMF for Held in our Hearts charity.  Although, it was raining and at times gale force winds it didn’t put a damper on my face!  It is such a worthwhile charity to be involved with as it supports so many people.”

Many of the participants were bereaved families who took part to remember their baby. There were also friends and family who cheered on from their garden as supporters went past on their solo runs. All the runners, walkers and cyclists continued until Sunday where they met up at the virtual tent via Zoom to celebrate the success of a great weekend.

“Since the lockdown, we have provided over 339 hours of face to face (online) support to families individually, in couples and in groups, 126 phone calls, 873 emails and texts, which is a huge increase on what we would normally provide. Our team is working harder than ever to meet that increased need and is never more needed, as we are only beginning to see the traumatic impact of this crisis on families, especially those families that have experienced a loss during lockdown. These challenges have been such a positive way for people not only to raise awareness, but also to give a small, but much appreciated donation for our work.” Nicola Welsh, Chief Executive Officer

The funds that this is raising will go towards helping parents like Scott and Katy, who has been receiving support before and now during the lockdown:

“We lost our wee baby girl just before Christmas. We first met our befriender Tracy at Held in Our Hearts a few weeks before lockdown. Tracy was empathetic and present from the off and we felt comfortable enough in that first session to talk openly about our loss in a way that hadn’t been possible before. Held In Our Hearts have continued to be present for us since the lockdown, by email and most crucially over Zoom. We speak to Tracy regularly and she has been so available for us. Sometimes we talk in a light hearted way, but that connection is really important and it often opens the vital wee space we need to talk through our feelings about our grief and what it means for our future.

While there is no replacement for being present in a room with someone, the fact that Held In Our Hearts are continuing to connect with us, and people like us, is invaluable …Held in our hearts have helped us feel so much less alone in our situation, and have helped us understand the feelings of failure and individual culpability that can be torturous at this time…We are very grateful for their continuing support, and that they are out there supporting other families at this time.”

Tracy Watt, Fundraising Manager says of the current situation:

“Like many charities, we have seen our income streams hugely affected by the Covid-19 crisis with many spring and summer sports and challenge events cancelled. We wanted to create challenges that would bring our community together, giving a focus and helping boost their mental health, while we all remain in lockdown. Our next challenge for June, #TheKTeam is available to anyone, any age and any fitness and we are so grateful for everyone that has got involved so far and help provide much needed funds for us to continue supporting bereaved parents, like Scott and Katy, in the community.”

In order to take part, the charity is asking for a £5 donation and people can also encourage others to donate in support of their challenge. If people prefer they can also just text KTEAM to 70085 where they can donate £5 to help our work.

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