After the heartbreaking loss of their cherished daughter, Florence, in May of this year, Kirsty Brook and Dave Barugh from Wakefield embarked on a mission to raise funds for a cuddle cot, which was donated to Mid Yorkshire Teaching NHS Trust’s Children’s Services earlier today.
A cuddle cot is a portable cooling device used to preserve a body’s appearance, condition, and dignity, offering bereaved families the precious gift of additional time.
Reflecting on their tragic loss, Kirsty said: “Florence passed away at home after her morning nap, aged 11 weeks and one day. I phoned the emergency services and we were taken by ambulance to Pinderfields Hospital.
“It wasn’t possible to spend much time with Florence at the hospital as she needed to be taken somewhere cold, but we were able to visit her in the mortuary, along with our family. No time would be the right time to leave our daughter, but if we’d had a cuddle cot, we could have had more time to say goodbye.””
Kirsty and Dave were introduced to the Trust’s Lead Nurse for Child Death, Sarah Boron, who provided support to the family, offering advice and information, as well as a memory box, supplied by the charity 4Louis.
Memory boxes are designed to help families preserve meaningful items, including a lock of hair and an impression of hands and feet. The boxes also contain forget-me-not seeds, a ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ book, and two teddy bears; one for the family and one to remain with the baby.
This box and its contents provided comfort to Kirsty and Dave during their darkest days, inspiring them to volunteer their time to help others. They established a connection with the charity founder, and began assembling memory boxes before deciding to embark on their own fundraising journey in support of 4Louis. This initiative began with a JustGiving page, with a QR code featured in their order of service.
Kirsty said: “As the memory boxes offered us some comfort, we hoped to raise enough money to fund some more to help others. We didn’t expect to raise enough to fund 30 memory boxes as well as a cuddle cot.
“We are determined to continue raising funds for 4Louis and we have already signed up to the London half marathon next year. Our aim is to raise enough money to fund additional bereavement resources for the Trust.
“We would like to thank Sarah for her continued support, as well as the members of staff who helped to keep our elder daughter, Nancy, entertained by playing with her and keeping her calm whilst we were in A&E. Besides the fundraising, we also plan to donate toys to the paediatric ward.”
Sarah added: “We’re extremely appreciative of Kirsty and Dave’s selfless donation, and of their fundraising aspirations, on behalf of our Trust.
“Placed within paediatric A&E at Pinderfields Hospital, the cuddle cot will be of great benefit to bereaved families, at a time when they need it the most.”
Donations towards Kirsty and Dave’s half marathon can be made at: https://4louis.enthuse.com/pf/kirsty-brook