Today is World Prematurity Day and to help raise awareness and funds for premature babies, the skies are ablaze thanks to supporters of the Little Lights Walk.
Coordinated by Bliss; a UK charity that supports babies who’re born too soon, too small and too sick, this incredible fundraising and solidarity event is an opportunity for many families who’ve been through the trauma of having a premature or unwell baby to make something good come out of the difficult times they’ve faced.
74 adults and 34 children battled the wind and rain in London on Saturday to show their support for Bliss, and many more families will join Little Lights Walks in their communities throughout the UK in the coming weeks.
The walk offers a sense of unity; of moving forwards but never forgetting. Most people think that having a premature or sick baby is something that happens to someone else. But these families were someone else at one time.
Worldwide, 15 million babies are born too early each year – that’s around 28 premature births every minute – and 60,000 of those babies are born here in the UK.
Anyone could be affected by the agonising experience of a premature or sick baby and unfortunately, not all endings are happy ones. In fact, around 1 million premature babies will not survive their first year.
But some stories do have a happy ending, and Michelle has shared her difficult but ultimately positive experience with the Bliss community.
Michelle took part in last years’ walk. This year, she hopes that her daughter Ophelia will take a few steps alongside her:
“Bliss is one of those charities that you don’t know about until you need their support because the thought of ever having a baby born premature or sick is terrifying. I was one of those people who assumed it would never be me, but that all changed the day Ophelia was born.
“If more people knew about prematurity, it would make it just that little bit easier to cope with. If those people knew about Bliss then they would know that there’s a massive community of NICU parents who know what it’s like to be separated from their baby for days after birth and to leave them in the hospital every evening.
“It’s a whole community of parents who have held their baby’s hand and cried silent tears while the doctors perform procedures. This amazing community all know the strength, courage and determination that can come from someone so small.”
The Little Lights Walk attracts thousands of families and friends of babies born too soon, too small and too sick each year– all of whom acknowledge the importance of raising awareness of Bliss and the need for funding.
You can support Bliss and help raise awareness and funds for premature babies in a number of ways.
- Buy a ribbon at bliss.org.uk/shop
- Plan or join a Little Lights Walk fundraiser – email firstname.lastname@example.org
- Donate to Bliss for free when you shop with Savoo. Find out more in the video below.
Help us raise awareness of World Prematurity Day to ensure that premature babies have the best possible chance of survival and go on to reach their full potential.