Stevenage dad’s Great South Run in memory of stillborn son exceeds expectations

Emma and Rob Jarvis with William's aunt Nadine Ball (left). Picture: Emma Jarvis.

Emma and Rob Jarvis with William's aunt Nadine Ball (left). Picture: Emma Jarvis. - Credit: Archant

A dad who took part in the Great South Run on Sunday in memory of his son, who was stillborn last year, has said raising more than £3,000 for charity has far exceeded his expectations.

Last March, Stevenage couple Emma and Rob Jarvis were looking forward to welcoming their second child into the world - a little brother for their son Sebastian, who is now five.

But their world fell apart when they were told by doctors at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital that their baby had died in the womb.

Emma said: “Our family was torn apart by the tragedy of stillbirth. Our beautiful boy, William, died at 39 weeks from a rare complication of pregnancy.”

The family were given excellent support from the midwifery team at Lister Hospital, as well as from stillbirth and neonatal death charity SANDS.

Rob said: “It’s almost a taboo subject. People don’t want to talk about it, but SANDS has brought it into the public domain. They particularly helped me with information on how to handle returning to work. We have also met some amazing people in the same situation as us.”

On Sunday, Rob and William’s aunt Nadine Ball took part in the 10-mile Great South Run in Portsmouth to raise money for SANDS, and have amassed more than £3,300.

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Rob said: “Raising that amount of money goes way beyond my expectations. We are really chuffed.

“We both finished the run, which is the main thing, but it was really windy and for the last mile-and-a-half we were just running into the wind.”

Emma said: “The money will make an amazing difference to families going through the most awful of tragedies. Beautiful babies should not be taken from us. No parent should ever have to bury their child.”

Happily, six weeks ago Emma gave birth to a baby boy, George. Rob said emotions ran understandably high throughout the pregnancy, but that the midwifery team at Lister offered support that was second to none.

He said: “The team at Lister have been amazing and have gone above and beyond their duty. The last week of the pregnancy we found particularly difficult, but they hooked us up to a monitor every day. Before that, every other week we went in for blood tests or scans.”

You can still make a donation to Rob and Nadine’s fundraising page at