A Lincoln mum is hosting a twenties-themed ball to raise money for research into causes and prevention of late stage miscarriages and stillbirths after she lost her first born daughter.
The Octavia’s Trust charity was created by Kelly and Daniel Engstrom in 2012 after they lost their first child, Octavia, in a heartbreaking and unexpected stillbirth.
Kelly said: “It was not expected at all, nothing happened, she just died. Everyone was shocked, even the midwife.
“I had had no risk factors, I had attended all my appointments, and followed all the advice and everything had been going well. It just seemed impossible that this had actually happened to us, to Octavia.”
The miscarriage was devastating for Kelly and Daniel.
“We came home to an empty nursery and all we could think about was what could have been”, Kelly added.
“You just look at all the mothers with babies and feel so helpless, you feel like you let your baby down personally, although it wasn’t your fault.
Kelly and Daniel then found out how common stillborn deaths are. “Out of every one hundred pregnancies one baby will either be stillborn or will die shortly after birth. That’s nearly seventeen a day. Just in the UK alone.
“Research into cot deaths managed to cut the number of victims down from 3000 a year to 300 per year, still a devastating number but a huge decrease nonetheless. We don’t accept this and society shouldn’t either.”
So in Octavia’s honour, Kelly and Daniel set up Octavia’s Trust to provide bursaries for postgraduate students researching stillbirths and late stage miscarriages.
Kelly, who now has two daughters, said: “I want to provide an incentive to people to become doctors and scientists. We know so little about the placenta, and one little thing that we learn could make a huge difference.”
Octavia’s trust has raised money through bake sales and donations, which included Kelly’s sister asking for donations instead of wedding gifts, but the ball is going to be their biggest fundraiser to date.
So far Octavia’s Trust has provided two bursaries of £2,500 to students who are undertaking masters degrees at Manchester University.
Now they’re hosting a “Roaring Twenties” ball, which will take place at the Lincoln Assemly rooms on Friday, November 18 at 7pm and will include a three course meal, raffle and auction.
All the money raised at the ball will go towards more bursaries, with the end goal of being able to fund a PHD.
Tickets to the event cost £50 and can be bought here.