Dersingham man Stephen Eldridge tells of need to support Baby Loss Awareness Week after death of his son from leukaemia
Next month is the start of Baby Loss Awareness Week and for Stephen Eldridge and his family the event has a special poignancy.
Nine years ago his son Callum was born on October 4 only to die two weeks later from leukaemia.
Having been supported by the East Anglian Children's Hospice following Callum’s death, over the years Stephen, from Dersingham, has raised with friends and family some £52,000 for the charity by organising fundraising events such as golf days, abseiling and running the London Marathon.
This year they have also raised funds for Theresa’s Tiny Treasures, a baby bereavement charity.
Mr Eldridge said: “One thing I do know and have found is that everybody’s circumstances are different. I personally threw myself into work as you’ve still got bills to pay, and it helped keep my mind busy.
“We attended the bereavement groups at EACH and you can’t generalise how people are feeling but we were all linked by the loss of a child.
"Men aren’t great at talking about things and I for one bottle things up and eventually you may go pop but it could be the littlest thing that is the straw that breaks the camel back.
"A lot of my charity work helps me deal with my own grief and keeps my mind busy but I know I’m doing the right thing as the money is going to charity, which then in turn benefits local unfortunate families.
“I believe time is a healer because you learn to cope with feelings and emotions which used to throw you over the edge. Sometimes people don't know what to say because it’s such a taboo subject but I learnt not to take it personally as they are also feeling awkward and out of their depth.
“That’s when the EACH support workers came into it, they were our support for up to three years which we were obviously very grateful for.
“It still upsets us, this weekend would be Callum’s birthday so emotions are up and down all of the time.
“We have been fortunate and had two more children, and we are open with them about Callum and they often come up to Callum’s grave with us.
“The charities are always there in the background and this is why we support them. You don’t realise you need them until you need them. That’s why we fundraise as if other people hadn’t fundraised we wouldn’t have had the support we were offered.
“People can sympathise and empathise but until they’ve walked in your shoes no one prepares you for the reality of losing a child.”
The Lynn News Charity of the Year for 2019-20 was the QEH maternity bereavement suite which is due to be opened this winter.
Baby Loss Awareness Week runs from October 9 to 15.