Friends of Serenity
2090. Joanne Edwards
Joanne Edwards, from Lancashire, founded ‘Friends of Serenity’ in 2013 to help other families experiencing child loss, following the stillbirth of her son Luke as a result of Trisomy 13.
The charity aims to preserve and protect the health of unwell and pregnant women and those who suffer miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal death, while fundraising for a number of different projects to support bereaved parents and those in subsequent rainbow pregnancies. They have an online network with over four thousand followers, which provides a space to share experiences, news and events, and have helped provide free information to over 15,000 families, through helping to fund ‘Mama Academy Wellbeing Wallets’ and other qualified information. These are designed to keep antenatal notes safe, and which contain key information to encourage healthy pregnancy.
The charity has funded bereavement suites and quiet rooms such as the ‘Serenity Suite’ and ‘Butterfly Suite’ at ‘East Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre’ to provide comfort for women facing difficulties during and after pregnancy and after loss, providing a home from home space. It has also funded new scanning equipment and tools at local hospitals to help prevent stillbirths, and given out thousands of ‘Luke’s Angel Friend’ memory boxes and miscarriage keepsakes to help families collect cherished memories of their baby as well as rainbow boxes to families that go on to have a baby after loss.
In a personal letter to Joanne, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“Your fundraising has also helped transform facilities at the “East Lancashire Women and Newborn Centre” with the creation of dedicated bereavement suites and quiet rooms.
“You have created a wonderful legacy for your son Luke, and you have been a source of comfort for so many bereaved parents during such difficult times.”
“It’s not your average Monday receiving an email to say you’ve been awarded ‘A Point of Light’ award. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed but felt tremendous pride and gratitude. Establishing our charity ‘Friends of Serenity’ following the loss of our baby Luke 10 years ago, was initially the best way I could channel my grief, but it soon became advocating and supporting other bereaved parents and helping professionals improve and transform bereavement care in East Lancashire. The charity has exceeded all expectations, going from strength to strength and I am incredibly proud of all our achievements over the last decade; the hard work, dedication and most of all the compassion, comfort and support we have been able to provide to families like ours.”
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