A bereavement midwife from Birmingham Women’s Hospital is taking on the Great Birmingham 10k on 26 May in support of her patients, as she aims to raise money for the hospital’s £3.5m Woodland House Appeal

Alison Rea, from Halesowen, has been a bereavement midwife with Birmingham Women’s Hospital for the last nine years. Approximately 2,000 women experience loss at Birmingham Women’s Hospital every year, whether that is through miscarriage, failed IVF, stillbirth or neonatal death, and it is Alison who so often has to support many of these families during this tragic time, be that providing emotional support or practical advice.

Currently, space within the hospital is limited and as such difficult conversations currently take place in rooms and locations that don’t reflect the significance of a family’s loss. To change this, Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity intends to raise £3.5million to bring Woodland House – a brand-new, purpose-built bereavement centre – to the hospital, where families can be cared for in a safe and comfortable environment.

*Artist impression Credit: Pinnegar Hayward Design Architects

As bereavement midwife, Alison knows first-hand the difference having somewhere like Woodland House would make to bereaved parents. That’s why she’s been inspired to take on the Great Birmingham 10k, to do her part to raise the money needed.

The Great Birmingham 10k will see thousands of runners take to the streets of Birmingham, taking on an exciting new route around the city with additional areas added such as Birmingham Cathedral, the Jewellery Quarter, Victoria Square and Colmore Row and – for the first time – will be passing Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

Alison has spent the last few weeks in the gym to get ready for the run. She said: “I’m a regular gym goer, but not a huge runner, so I’ve been stepping up my training on the treadmill in preparation. I only decided to sign up for the run six weeks ago, so it’s been a bit of a challenge, but I’m determined to cross the finish line for my patients!

“I have been really involved with the planning of Woodland House, speaking to our patients to ask what they want from it. Woodland House will provide a safe haven, where our families can spend time together in a private, non-clinical space away from the hustle and bustle of the main hospital. I know it will make a huge difference to their experience here at our hospital, which is why I wanted to actively support the fundraising campaign by running the 10k and help to raise the money needed in order to make it a reality.”

Woodland House will be the first of its kind in a hospital setting and has been designed following patient feedback, which advocated the need for a standalone facility that was quiet and private. The appeal will see Birmingham Women’s Hospital set the standard for pregnancy loss and neonatal death care, nationally.