BEN Moorhouse knows full well the devastating impact of a stillborn child, now the 36-year-old is seeking to raise funds to help similarly bereaved families.
Moorhouse, 36, a customer services advisor for Together Housing in Halifax (pictured ahead of his 2018 charity trek across Rhodes), has set up a fundraising and awareness cause in memory of his daughter, who was stillborn less than two weeks before she was due.
Now he is seeking to raise £15,000 for a new Maternity Bereavement Suite at Calderdale Royal Hospital.
“Our baby girl Kallipateira died in the womb at 38 weeks of pregnancy,” Moorhouse said. “At an extra scan appointment, we were told there was no heartbeat. We had to return to the hospital two days later and our baby girl was born sleeping less than two weeks until the due date.
“We had so many hopes and dreams for her. This has broken our hearts in so many ways, but I made a promise to our daughter that we would continue to do her proud.”
Poignantly, while the couple were having to come to terms with their loss, other families nearby were joyfully welcoming their new arrivals.
“While we were at the hospital holding our dead daughter in our arms, we could hear babies been born and crying next door on the ward,” Moorhouse added. “When we left the ward, we were met by a family coming in with congratulations balloons and a car seat.
“A bereavement room will give parents and their families a quiet, secure and private place where they can spend time to create vital and precious memories.”
Moorhouse says he is keen to create a support group for men who suffered baby loss locally.
“Stillbirth is just as devastating for dads as it is for mums but somehow it doesn’t seem socially acceptable for them to grief in the same way,” he said. “There is this expectation that men have to be the strong ones for the rest of the family. I want to break the taboo around it and reassure men going through what I went through that it’s okay not to be okay.”
Moorhouse is no stranger to fundraising, having raised a £11,600 for the Steve Prescott Foundation, in honour of international rugby league player Steve Prescott who died of stomach cancer, aged 39, in November 2013.
Over the last four years, Moorhouse has taken on increasingly extreme challenges, most recently walking the whole of Rhodes in 48 hours.
In the previous three years, he was joined by his partner Gaynor Thompson but as she was six months pregnant at the time of the summer 2018 challenge, she swapped her place in the walk for a place in the support car.
The Greek island holds a special place in the couple’s hearts, so they have chosen to scatter their daughter’s ashes at sea there in August.
His next challenge, the first for Stillborn Awareness & Fundraising: Kallipateira Rodothea Moorhouse, is the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge on 8 June, run and managed by KUTA Outdoors.
The 24-mile challenge will see Moorhouse take on the peaks of Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough in under 12 hours.
Shortly afterwards, he hopes to create a new UK record when he takes on the UK Coast to Coast walk on 5 July. He aims to walk the 130 miles from Morecambe to Bridlington in less than 45 hours, non-stop with his Rhodes support team.
“We are not strong. We are not brave,” he said. “We are just doing what we have to do for our daughter and to help others.”
For more information on Stillborn Awareness & Fundraising: Kallipateira Rodothea Moorhouse, visit www.facebook.com/stillbirthawarenessandfundraising.
To make a donation towards the Maternity Bereavement Suite at Calderdale Royal Hospital, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/krm2019
Main Image: Ben Moorhouse revealing the official banner for his 150-mile walk around Rhodes in aid of cancer charities back in 2018