On Friday 11th March I attended the Tommy’s Awards in London. I wrote the following on the way home, simply because I needed to write while emotions were still running high. Thank you to all the team at Tommy’s for making the day so wonderful, and thank you to Jenny, Leigh,Martin and Emily for being such lovely company.
There’s something quite amazing about being in a room full of truly inspirational people. Surrounded by genuine warmth, humble appreciation and a joyful pleasure in life. It puts my stresses, strains and anxieties firmly in perspective if nothing else.
And today was amazing. Being in the company of families who have been through so much in their lives. Children who go above and beyond the expectations of being a big sister. Midwives who stop at nothing to ensure they deliver nothing but the best care for women. Mothers with achingly empty arms who campaign tirelessly to make sure that nobody else suffers the same fate as them, or at least have the support they need if the worse does indeed happen.
Being in that room was amazing. Being part of such a celebration of compassion, empathy and dedication was amazing. Being privileged enough to watch the stories of these people and to learn more about why they are Tommy’s awards winners was amazing.
So you’ll have gathered that I did not win the Mum’s Voice award (always the bridesmaid, never the bride, eh!) but the lady who did was truly so deserving that the not winning part does not even factor at all. Leigh lost her precious son Hugo when he was just 35 days old. He was born too soon. Too small. Far too soon, far too small. But he was born alive. And today I saw proof of that. A little snapshot of his tiny life. A fragile chest pulsating. Up and down. Breaths in, breaths out. A heart beating within.
And I admit that seeing the footage of Hugo was emotional. There was no sound in the room for a moment before Leigh approached the stage to collect her award. And as her husband later admitted, it was bittersweet. Of course they would’ve swapped all the awards in the world to have their son back in their arms. Of course they would.
But they’re doing something amazing. They’re sharing Hugo’s story. They’re sparking his flame over and over again. Hugo’s Legacy is going from strength to strength. And why?
Because despite the obvious need for emotional support and despite the need for sufficient counselling, Leigh has suffered more and more heartache. Her journey after Hugo has been incredibly hard and she is more determined than ever that nobody else should have to go through the unnecessary pain that she has.
And I know this first hand. At a time when her grief was still so raw, Leigh reached out to me. When Elsie was a tiny scrap of a baby struggling to thrive inside me, she reached out. With every scan and every anxious appointment, Leigh reached out to me. With every frantic trip to the antenatal clinic to check on Elsie’s movements, Leigh reached out to me. And today I got to say thank you properly.
For being there. For being joyful. For being so resilient. For being a truly deserving winner.
So, that was the Tommy’s awards. A hugely emotional and gut wrenchingly inspirational day. AND I got to meet Peppa Pig too. Win!