BROMSGROVE parents Jon and Holly Hawkesford whose baby son died just seven hours after being born have organised a bike ride to raise funds for the charities that helped them.
Jasper was born on July 16 2014 at Warwick Hospital, where his mum Holly also works as a midwife.
But Jasper – who weighed just over 8lb – died hours after being born due to having severely underdeveloped lungs, something that could not have been discovered before his birth.
Holly and Jon, who live in Aston Fields and are also parents to four-year-old Tessy, commended the staff on Warwick Hospital’s Maternity Unit for their ‘compassion and care’ during such a difficult time.
The mum from Warwick said: “The staff worked tirelessly to save Jasper and when it was apparent he was not going to live they facilitated a beautiful, calm and loving environment for us to say goodbye to our son as he died in my arms.
“They encouraged us to make some magical, priceless memories, taking hundreds of photographs and having our family meet Jasper and share in not just the sorrow but also the joy of him.
“We will treasure every detail of that time forever.”
Since the baby boy’s death the family have set up an organisation called Jasper’s Rainbow to help the charities which have supported them.
Jon said: “We named the organisation Jasper’s Rainbow because there was a rainbow shining directly over the hospital during the brief time our son was in the world.
“He is our rainbow, here fleetingly and filling the world with wonder.”
So far, supporters have held cake sales and completed marathons in the baby’s memory, raising more than £2,000 for three charities – Warwick Hospital maternity and special care baby unit, the Edwards Trust, a Birmingham-based organistion which supports children and families during serious illness and bereavement and SANDS, the national charity for stillbirths and neonatal deaths.
Now Jon will lead 12 relatives and friends on the gruelling 200-mile ride from Warwick Hospital to Salcombe in South Devon.
Jon said “These three organisations have given amazing support to our family over the last seven months and we want to give something back to enable them to support other families in similar situations.
“My four-year-old daughter Tessy is very excited about daddy cycling all the way to the seaside with his friends and relatives in memory of her baby brother Jasper.”
He added Salcombe had always been a special place for the family and cycling there from Warwick Hospital seemed like the right thing to do in memory of Jasper.
The ride will begin on March 31 and is expected to take four-and-a-half days.
Visit www.justgiving.com/teams/jaspersrainbow to donate.
The 12 riders, aged from 13 to 70, will cycle to Salcombe in South Devon from Warwick Hospital on March 31. s