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21st Sep, 2021

Trek across Sahara Desert raises £12,000 for Balsall Common baby charity's 'memory boxes'

Sarah Mason 26th Nov, 2019 Updated: 26th Nov, 2019

FOUR INTREPID explorers took on a gruelling trek across the Sahara Desert to raise funds to support other bereaved parents.

Sharon Harkin, Tracey Pettigrew, Austin Bennett and Anthony Monaghan walked 100km through Morocco’s forbidding landscape in aid of The Lily Mae Foundation.

The five-day challenge saw the Solihull quartet climb up sand dunes and were up to their knees in sand as they braved the elements across the Moroccan parts of the desert.

They went through the Jebel Saghro region along the dry Rhris River before crossing the finishing line in Ouarzazate in Morocco.

The team of four was walking in memory of Anthony’s twins who died over 22 years ago and raised £12,000.

The funds will be used to provide support to those parents and families who have suffered the devastating loss of a baby to stillbirth, neonatal death or medical termination.

Sharon said: “It was a privilege to work on behalf and alongside the Lily Mae Foundation to help raise so much money and awareness for the fantastic work they do.

“The training and the fundraising became such a focus that it was only when we got to the desert that the true enormity of what we were doing hit us.

“The memories of the views, the terrain, the humble Berber people who took such good care of us, and the simplicity of life in a world so far removed from the one we inhabit will stay in my memories forever.”

Ryan and Amy Jackson, Lily Mae Foundation founders, said: “A truly remarkable and emotional challenge that has been completed by such a humble group.

“From the moment we met the group you could see the determination to succeed and their interest in the charity and how much their challenge to support the families who suffer the loss of a baby meant to them.

“We appreciate the amazing support that these guys have shown.”

The Lily Mae Foundation, based in Balsall Common, was set up by Ryan and Amy Jackson in 2010 after their daughter Lily Mae was stillborn at Solihull Hospital.

Since then they have campaigned furiously and with passion to honour the memory of Lily Mae and all other babies born too poorly, too soon or sleeping.

Its main focus is to provide Memory Boxes to eight local hospitals to help parents create precious memories of their babies. Without these boxes, such memories would be hard to capture.

The Foundation also supports bereaved parents and families through face to face meetings, counselling days, informal support group meetings and baby remembrance services.

The Foundation provides funding support for research into Stillbirth and Neonatal Death to try and reduce the incidence of such tragedies.

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