One of the worst pains imaginable a parent will ever have to endure is the death of a child.
And that’s exactly what happened to Nicola and Gary Welsh.
Their little boy Theo, who only lived for three weeks, passed away on January 30 from exomphalos – a rare condition affecting only one in 5000 babies.
At the time, Nicola (39) and husband Gary (37), who live in Threemiletown, struggled to come to terms with their loss and feelings of grief.
But through the darkness and despair came the light of SANDS Lothians. The organisation, also known as the Stillbirth Neo-natal Death Society, provides a support network to bereaved families.
Nicola is now the West Lothian co-ordinator and works tirelessly to help other bereaved parents.
As well as offering advice, Nicola’s group offers counselling and support meetings in its premises at Craigs Farm, Livingston as well as a one-to-one befriending service for any age group.
Nicola said: “For parents leaving hospital after a death, walking out the front door, alone – knowing you’ve had to leave a child behind is heartbreaking.
“We make sure that every parent receives a special bag so that they don’t leave empty-handed and know we are here.”
Nicola has also been instrumental in fundraising to install the new memorial bench at the children’s section in Linlithgow cemetery.
Nicola is grateful to the Painting Cafe, Linlithgow, for raising £640 in memory of Theo’s fifth birthday, Linlithgow Round Table for the £1200 donation and SANDS Lothian for the remaining £600, as well as Ratho Byres Forge who designed and made the bench.
To contact Nicola at SANDS call 0131 622 6263 or www.sands-lothians.org.uk