Will Kirkpatrick, a dad-to-be from Birmingham has taken on the Cascais Ironman Challenge in Portugal to raise money for Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity and to break the stigma surrounding pregnancy loss 

Will was inspired to take on the Ironman challenge, which consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile cycle ride and a marathon in Lisbon, after the care his wife, Robyn, received at Birmingham Women’s Hospital following a complicated pregnancy, which sadly ended with them losing their baby. 

Will and Robyn were extremely excited to become first-time parents but received the heartbreaking news at a private 10-week scan, that the baby wasn’t growing. They were referred to the specialist Women’s Hospital for further scans and appointments, but eventually they were given the news they were dreading, the only option would be to end the pregnancy. They were devastated.  

Robyn was prescribed medication to start the process, but things didn’t progress as it should. Robyn consequently developed an infection, which made her quite ill, and later required surgery to end the pregnancy and treat her infection. 

It was a traumatic experience for the couple, but they were comforted by care and support they received from the doctors, nurses and midwives at the hospital. Will decided he wanted to fundraise to say thank you, but also break the silence which surrounds pregnancy loss. He knew the money he raised could help make a difference for future families going through a similar experience.  

Having previously had experience in Marathons and half Iron man challenges, Will upped the ante and set his sights on the Cascais Ironman Challenge in Lisbon. This gruelling physical challenge saw him train 3-4 times a week in preparation. 

He had hoped to raise £2,000, but as the event drew closer, Will and Robyn were delighted to see their Just Giving page had reached over £4,000, smashing their target. It was just the boost he needed, before he set off for Portugal.  

Race day arrived and Will set off at 9am. It was a gruelling challenge, and at times exhaustion set in, but the electric atmosphere helped him overcome the fatigue and cross the finish line in under 13 hours.  

Will said: “I am so proud to have helped the Womens Hospital. The care we received as a family made our heartbreaking experience a little easier to bear. There’s still a taboo that surrounds talking about pregnancy loss, but we wanted to share our experience so that people know they’re not alone, and we hope our fundraising will help them get the support they need. Me and Robyn are expecting another child in May, and we’re so excited for what the future holds.” 

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity, said “Losing a baby is an unfortunate reality for so many people, and whilst we can’t change the outcome, fundraising from families like Will and Robyn, will mean we can offer better care and support to them. We are so grateful to them.” 

If you’ve been inspired and would like to fundraise for Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity, or donate to help it continue its work, please contact us.