Devastated mum doing her bit for vital charity

Courtney Dunn is fund-raising for Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.
Courtney Dunn is fund-raising for Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity.

A heartbroken mum who lost her only child at birth is using her horrific experience to raise money and awareness for a charity which supports bereaved parents.

Courtney Dunn’s world fell apart when her precious baby boy, Theo, was stillborn, on March 17 this year.

His death came as a total shock to Courtney and her-then partner Ronan Saunders, and she admits that no words can describe the pain they felt.

In the months since, Courtney, from Shilbottle, has been supported by stillbirth and neonatal-death charity Sands, which she says has helped her stay strong and get through the toughest of times.

Sands offers emotional support and practical help and works in partnership with health professionals to ensure that bereaved families receive the best possible care.

Courtney turned 25 yesterday and to mark the occasion, she decided to fund-raise for the charity.

She said: “I wanted to raise money for Sands, a charity that provides amazing support for people affected with the death of a baby and to help prevent this happening to more little babies.

“This charity is close to my heart and I’m not quite sure where I’d be today without them.”

Reflecting on the day that she gave birth, Courtney said: “I went into labour. He was three weeks early and the labour was fine. But it wasn’t until he was born that we knew.

“I can’t even put into words how it felt, it broke my heart. I felt empty and lost.”

Afterwards, the devastated couple were able to spend some precious time with their beloved son.

Theo is buried in Shilbottle and Courtney thanked the Co-operative Funeralcare in Alnwick and Amble for their help.

Despite the heartache, Courtney is determined to turn a negative into a positive by raising awareness and funds for Sands and encouraging others who have been through a similar ordeal to seek support.

She said: “It has been a rocky road. Some days I don’t even want to get out of bed, but knowing that Sands is there is a good thing.

“Anyone that is going through or has gone through it, remember you are never alone. Sands has really helped me and I don’t talk about the negatives. I look at the fact that I enjoyed pregnancy and labour was good.”

Despite what happened, it hasn’t put Courtney off from trying for another baby in the future.

Courtney works for Alnwick’s Enhance Beauty Rooms. She says that work has been really supportive and she is currently working when she feels up to it.

Courtney has so far raised more than £250 and donations can be made via her Facebook page.