Couple who lost day-old son raise thousands for baby loss charities
- Credit: Archant
A Colchester man who shared the heartbreaking story of losing his baby son at just one day old is now raising thousands for the charities which supported him and his wife through “the unimaginable”.
Daniel Whymark and wife Katie had been looking forward to starting a family following a successful round of IVF treatment in early 2019, with Katy giving birth in October.
But their joy turned to tragedy when their son, Lucas, died within 24 hours of being born.
Mr Whymark, a well-known Colchester United and founder of the club’s online forum, described his son’s death on October 14 last year as “unimaginable”.
However, charities including baby loss counselling service Petals helped the couple through the darkest of times.
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Now, the pair are raising money for organisations which helped them to cope – with Colchester United star Harry Pell even auctioning off his prized match shirt from the U’s famous Manchester United game.
The couple have described the support from the public as “phenomenal” – but are urging people to continue to donate more, to help others facing baby loss as the Covid-19 pandemic hits charity fundraising.
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Speaking of his son’s death, Mr Whymark said: “It was unimaginable. It was the exact opposite of the day we were prepared to have.”
The couple had called their son Lucas because several U’s players, including Colchester’s captain Luke Prosser, are called Luke.
“We expected to take a baby home with us,” said Mr Whymark. “We didn’t get to do that.
“The bereavement midwives are right there to take you through everything and they were amazing, but the situation was unimaginable.
“We thought we would get to take a child home, instead we were arranging a funeral.”
In that time, the couple received support from Petals – while 4Louis provided a memory box for their son.
But the pain did not get any easier, with Mr Whymark saying that seeing babies in car seats and hearing congratulatory announcements for newborns all reminded him of the tragic loss.
Seven months on, Mr Whymark felt able to share what had happened with fellow U’s fans by asking whether anyone would be happy to donate to a fundraiser for baby bereavement charities in his son’s name.
He has since set up a fundraising page which has already raised more than £2,300 and will stay open until Lucas’ first birthday later this year.
His message, posted online, made such an impact that midfielder Harry Pell even called Mr Whymark to offer to auction his League Cup quarter-final shirt from Colchester’s game at Old Trafford.
Bids for the prized piece of U’s memorabilia are currently running at £2,100, with the auction set to run until May 23.
“He said he felt like he had to do something after reading my story and shortly after he had his shirt up for auction,” said Mr Whymark said of Pell’s donation.
Money raised from the fundraising will go to Petals, 4Louis and national baby loss charity Sands.
If the couple raise enough, they also hope to make a contribution to Colchester Hospital’s Rosemary Suite – a delivery suite specifically for bereaved parents – and the charity Forever Finley, which provides hand and feet castings to parents who lose their baby.
Mr Whymark added: “It’s a phenomenal amount and any more than this would be amazing.
“There’s so many charities out there that need support, especially at a time like this when normal fundraising work can’t go ahead, so we wanted to be able to support as many charities and organisations as possible, not just one.”