An avid gamer from Kings Heath has put his skills to the rest for Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity, by taking on a 24-hour live streaming challenge and raising more than £1,200 for parents experiencing pregnancy or baby loss.

Joel Rising limbered up and logged onto his PC, staying put for a whole day and night, while streaming his game play for his followers on gaming platform, Twitch. It was all in aid of the charity’s Woodland House Appeal, to bring a brand new, standalone bereavement centre to Birmingham Women’s Hospital, where he and his partner Sarah sadly lost their baby girl, Esmé.

Very early in their pregnancy a scan had revealed a slight abnormality with Sarah’s placenta but the couple were elated when a scan at 18 weeks showed their baby girl looked healthy. Unfortunately, not long after, Sarah began feeling unwell with pains in her stomach.

As Sarah’s pain turned to agony, she called Joel who rushed her to the hospital, but as they made their way there, her waters broke in the car and they knew they were losing their baby. When they arrived at the hospital they were taken to the Abby Suite – a private suite on the main delivery ward – where she delivered Esmé, who had sadly passed away.

Reflecting on the traumatic experience, Joel remembered how difficult it felt as he and Sarah finally left the hospital. While they would never begrudge any of the families they saw with their new babies, it was a bitter pill to swallow, knowing they were leaving without Esmé and it’s that feeling that inspired Joel to fundraise to help bring Woodland House to the hospital.

The £3.5 million appeal, which has just hit its £1million fundraising milestone, will see a new centre built at the hospital for families who experience pregnancy or baby loss. Located away from the hustle and bustle of the main hospital, it will be a place for families and parents like Joel and Sarah to spend time together with their baby and grieve in private, without fear of running into other couples experiencing their happy ending.

Joel said: “After the experience of losing our baby girl, I just knew I wanted to do everything I could to help make Woodland House happen for parents who find themselves in a similar situation to us. I’ve never been one for crazy long walks or marathons, so I chose a 24-hour gaming stint to raise money. Staying awake was the hardest part of it all, but with a solid group of friends playing alongside me, I’d smashed my target before I knew it, and the time flew by. I would like to thank everyone who donated for their wonderful generosity and give a special mention to Mitch, Mac, Jake, Darren, Carl, Matt, Berky and all the others who kept me awake for that 24-hour period!”

Miranda Williams, Head of Public Fundraising at Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity, said: “We can never take away the pain of losing a precious baby but by bringing Woodland House to our hospital we can provide our families with a dedicated space that honours their loss. Joel’s fundraising has brought us another step closer to making Woodland House a reality and it just goes to prove that fundraising can take any shape – you really don’t have to run a marathon to support our hospital!”

If you would like to donate or find out more about the Birmingham Women’s Hospital Charity’s Woodland House Appeal, click here