1722. Raj Chagger
1723. Sharan Chagger
Raj and Sharan Chagger, from Nottingham, have fundraised over £20,000 and become advocates for ‘National Deaf Children’s Society’ in honour of their late son, Riaan, who was born with hearing loss and other congenital health problems and sadly passed away at the age of 7 months.
Raj and Sharan focus on tackling the stigma around deafness in the South Asian community. They are also dedicated, through their group ‘Riaan Remembers’, to supporting organisations that care for parents and children through the experience of baby loss, and breaking the stigma that often surrounds talking about the issue. Their funds have helped purchase bereavement boxes for parents and research into improving the early diagnosis of heart defects in babies, and the prevention of baby loss.
In a personal letter to Raj and Sharan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“Thank you for the incredible work you have done as advocates for ‘National Deaf Children’s Society’ reducing the stigma around deafness for children, particularly in the South Asian community. Alongside your fundraising endeavours, this is a wonderful tribute to your late son, Riaan.
“The loss of a child is a tragedy that no parent should endure and your openness in talking about losing Riaan will be a source of comfort to others who have gone through the same loss.”
In response to receiving the award, Raj and Sharan said:
“We are so incredibly honoured to receive this Points of Light award. When we sadly lost our baby boy, Riaan, we were both determined to help other families that have endured something similar and also to support the amazing organisations and charities that care for babies (Tommy’s, Sands, local hospital charity, to name a few). We initially created ‘Riaan Remembers’ as a fundraising project but it has turned into so much more; it has become a space where we talk very openly and honestly about our grief to help break the silence on baby loss, we advocate things like baby first aid and show dads too that it is safe to speak up. We do all of this in Riaan’s name and it is truly heart warming to see the difference he is making.
“The sad thing is that there are far too many parents that understand our journey through baby loss and when we set up ‘Riaan Remembers’ we said that if we could help just one baby or one set of parents… then it will be worth it. So we feel both privileged and humbled to receive this award. Thank you!”