Ben Moorhouse prepares to take on 180 mile walk to raise funds for families dealing with stillbirth
It is a tragedy that any family would struggle to bear.
Stillbirth, when a child dies before her or she is born after 24 weeks, remains sadly commonplace in the UK, with as many as one in 250 births falling under the designation.
For Ben Moorhouse and his partner Gaynor Thompson, it is a tragedy they carry with them every day.
In October 2018 the couple’s daughter Kallipateira was stillborn at 38 weeks of pregnancy in Calderdale.
To compound matters, Ben and Gaynor then suffered a miscarriage the following May.
“Dads are sadly forgotten about by most of society when it comes to the death of a baby,” says Ben.
“Not a day goes by where I don’t cry for my daughter.”
Thanks to an incredible support network, not least of which from the Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic and Research Centre in Manchester, the couple went on to have their son Apollon in May 2020. Such was their unease given their experiences, Ben and Gaynor kept the pregnancy a secret from family and friends until Apollon was born.
Following the stillbirth and miscarriage they knew if they wanted to have the best chance of another child with a better outcome, they must be cared for by Professor Alexander Heazell of the Tommy’s rainbow clinic and research Centre in Manchester.
Since their losses, and in a display of typical Yorkshire determination and generation, the couple have founded The Kallipateira Moorhouse Foundation, which helps raise money for Professor Heazell’s unit, which made such an incalculable contribution to their lives.
The organisation is designed to help save babies lives nationwide through research and support to other parents who have experienced the death of a baby and has seen Ben commit to some extraordinary acts of endurance in order to raise funds.
On August 14, 2021, Ben - along with his support team of Gaynor and Jason Croft - successfully walked around the full Greek island of Rhodes. Under his own steam, Ben covered a total of 150 miles nonstop with no sleep in just 42 hours at the height of summer in extreme heat and humidity. Ben was seeing double for the final 30 miles but battled through to the finish line in memory of his much-loved daughter and raised £7,000.
Now, in order to raise further funds for the Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic and Research Centre, Ben is set to take on the biggest challenge of his life.
On July 16, he will walk from the Tommy’s Research Centre in London at St Thomas’s Hospital to the Tommy’s Rainbow Clinic and Research Centre in Manchester at Saint Mary’s Hospital – a total of 180 miles nonstop and with no sleep. Ben is looking to do this in 60 hours or less and has set himself a target of £10,000 with all funds going direct to Professor Heazell and his team to support research to help save babies lives.
Ben said: “Everyone grieves differently and I channel my grief and pain by taking on my extreme challenge walks. If I didn’t do what I do for my daughter and to help others in the process it would have been so easy to go down a different path. Every step I make is through the love of my daughter Kallipateira.
“Many stillbirths in the UK are preventable and by supporting research we can help save babies lives.
“People have done this walk before over a week or more with hotel stops along the way, but I will do this in one go with no sleep along with my support team who it will also be a challenge for.”
The issue of child death has been very much on the agenda of late. In April this year footballer Christiano Ronaldo disclosed he and his partner had lost a child when one of their expected twins was stillborn.
Such honesty is, in Ben’s opinion, a vital part of the awareness-raising work he considers to be so important.
“We have all seen in recent months the upsetting news on baby deaths which many could have been prevented and more recently the sad news of well-known celebrities experiencing the death of a baby,” he said.
“I would like to ask the media and public to please support me in my quest to raise as much as possible to help save babies lives nationally.”
Professor Alexander Heazell, Director of the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre said “The team at the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre are so grateful to Ben and Gaynor for their donations to support our work to reduce the number of babies dying and to improve care for parents.
We are in awe of what Ben puts himself through to raise money, in memory of Kallipateira, so that other babies are born healthy and well. We’ll be looking forward to supporting Ben in July and to welcome him when he arrives at the research Centre.”
Auto Trader, who are the official extreme challenge, walk Sponsor said “Auto Trader are really proud to be working with Ben and his team at the Kallipateira Moorhouse Foundation. At Auto Trader, our Family Network are committed to supporting colleagues who experience fertility problems, miscarriage and baby loss and so the work that the Kallipateira Moorhouse Foundation do to raise awareness of stillbirth really resonates and truly aligns with our wider Family and Wellbeing strategy. We are absolutely thrilled to be supporting Ben on his next challenge and are looking forward to playing our part in helping him to smash that target.”
To donate please visit www.justgiving.com/manchester2022