All posts by Kelly Ashcroft

Michelle and Sinead’s 10km Paddle Board for APP

Michelle Bell, one of APP’s volunteers, and her friend Sinead are paddle boarding 10km along the River Thames near Oxford in September to support APP’s work.

Michelle says: “Around 10 years ago after giving birth I was hospitalised with postpartum psychosis (PP). This month Sinead and I are getting on the Thames in order to raise awareness and funds for APP. I was initially admitted to an adult mental health ward and later transferred to a Mother and Baby Unit where my daughter stayed with me.

Michelle and Sinead’s fundraiser has already raised more than £187. We would like to say a huge thank you to Michelle and Sinead for supporting APP and to all who have donated so far.

You can visit and donate to their fundraising page here.

If you have been inspired by Michelle and Sinead, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.

Alice’s ‘Olympic distance’ triathlons over twelve months

Alice Stroud, one of APP’s volunteers, is taking part in five triathlons over the next twelve months working towards the Olympic triathlon distance, to raise awareness and money to support APP’s work. Alice has never done a triathlon before, and the first event she is taking part in is on 25th  and 26th September 2021 at Hever Castle.

Triathlon is an endurance sport that combines swimming, road cycling and distance running, performed in that order. Events are conducted over a variety of distances but the 'Olympic distance' for men and women is a 1,500-metre swim, 40km bike ride and 10km run. The race is completed with no breaks from start to finish.

Alice experienced psychosis twice during pregnancy in 2019 and into 2020, and said; ‘"APP offered peer and group support along with information to me and my family, which helped me stay focused and feel supported. The first face to face group (Covid-19 delayed) was such an important environment to discuss mine and my family’s journey.

Raising money can help others have the opportunity and support to enable their recovery and I will therefore swim, cycle and run as far as I can get to the Olympic distance triathlon goal in the next 12 months."

Alice’s fundraiser has already raised more than £220. We would like to say a huge thank you to Alice for supporting APP and to all who have donated so far.

You can visit and donate to Alice’s fundraising page here.

If you have been inspired by Alice, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here

Amy runs the Great North Run for APP

Amy Shaw is running the Great North Run on Sunday 12th September 2021 to raise awareness and money to support APP’s work. Amy’s sister-in-law Katherine experienced PP in 2020 and was hospitalised for four months during lockdown. Now Katherine, her husband, Amy and some other friends are planning to take part in a number of different runs, starting with Amy's challenge on 12th September

Katherine says: This time last year in the height of lockdown I lay in a hospital bed in Brockington Mother and Baby Unit thinking my life would never return to normal, and I would never feel like myself again. One year on and I proved myself wrong. I spent a time being cross that no one talks about things that could happen postpartum, I was so scared. I did not understand my illness and felt very alone in what I was experiencing. APP’s Insider Guides and leaflets really helped me to understand what had happened to me, and reading other women’s stories was a great comfort, helping me to realise I was not alone. My amazing sister-law-Amy is running the Great North Run for APP. When I was lost and scared Amy sat at my feet, held my hand and told me I would find me again.”

You can read more about Katherine’s story here.

Amy’s fundraiser has already raised more than £270. We would like to say a huge thank you to Amy for supporting APP and to all who have donated so far.

You can visit and donate to her fundraising page here.

If you have been inspired by Amy, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.

Our three fabulous runners in this year's London Landmarks Half Marathon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A huge thank you to our three amazing runners who took part in this year’s London Landmarks Half Marathon (LLHM) on Sunday 1st August to raise awareness and money to support APP’s work; Andy Rolfe, Kirsty Curtis, and Emma Polhill.

The LLHM takes in some of the capital's world-famous landmarks on closed roads in central London and is the only half marathon to go through both the City of London and City of Westminster. The race started by The Strand, and finished by Downing Street and included views of London’s most iconic landmarks including Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, Nelson’s Column, the Gherkin, the Shard, the Tower of London and the London Eye. With 11,000 runners the atmosphere and support on the route was joyful. Not to mention the incredible fancy dress: from the Spice Girls, Bagpuss, a wind turbine(!), penguins and much more…

Andy says: "I ran this half marathon to raise awareness and funds for APP, who have supported my family ever since my partner Emily was admitted to a Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) for psychiatric care in 2017.

Thanks to the wonderful NHS staff and APP support she has made a full recovery, and our family is healthy and happy. Since recovering, Emily has started volunteering for APP, sharing our experiences with new MBU staff and other medical professions. APP has developed an online community for those affected by this illness and is working hard to provide support whenever and wherever they can.

This is the work I want to help continue, so that other families receive even better support than we did, and to minimise the impact of the illness on people’s lives."

After the event Andy said: ‘I'm really happy with the fundraising effort and all the people who backed me/contributed to APP. I had a pretty good run for most of the race, although it dropped off in the last few miles, so I ran in 1 hour 45 minutes in the end. Next stop is the full marathon in London in October which I am also running for APP’.

You can still visit and donate to Andy’s JustGiving page here.

Kirsty says: "When my daughter was just five days old I became very unwell with postpartum psychosis (PP). After a few months of feeling ok, or so I thought, I stopped the medication and had a relapse. This time the amazing perinatal team felt something else needed to be done so I was admitted to a MBU in Bournemouth to recover. As hard as it was being away from my husband and son, I received amazing care for about four weeks.

During my recovery I found the amazing APP, which allowed me to meet others who have also been through PP, making me feel less isolated and alone. If it wasn’t for APP and the women I met through them, my recovery journey could have been a lot longer and harder.”

After the event Kirsty : “The race was really good, and the atmosphere was great. My time was 2 hrs 23 mins, roughly what I was aiming for so I was happy with the result. It was so lovely to meet Emma after the race and hopefully we will keep in contact with each other too. 

You can still visit and donate to Kirsty’s JustGiving page here.

Emma says: "After having my second son I was extremely ill with PP. I had never heard of PP before and only really understood what it was after a few months of being in an MBU where I had been sectioned for my own safety.

The recovery from PP is very long. One and a half years on, I feel like the old Emma is back. It’s been a long 18 months but I have had the most amazing support around me. The MBU, the Community NHS Teams and the Adult Mental Health Services have been amazing. I ran this half marathon for other women with the illness who are in need, I hope the donations can help other mums."

After the event Emma saidThe atmosphere was great and it was so nice to take part and meet Kirsty too.’ 

You can still visit and donate to Emma’s JustGiving page here.

Our three runners have raised more than £2,600 for APP.  We would like to thank Andy, Kirsty and Emma for supporting APP and everyone who has donated.

If you have been inspired by our runners, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.

Emma and Kirsty

 

Kimberley Mace's Skydive for APP

Kimberley Mace and her best friend are taking part in a skydive on Saturday 11th September 2021 to raise awareness and money to support APP’s work.

Kimberley experienced postpartum psychosis (PP) in November 2015 after the birth of her son, and was initially treated on a general psychiatric ward at Ipswich hospital before being admitted to her local hospital at Wedgewood.

 

Kimberley said: ‘APP helps mothers and families who have experienced this severe illness and this wonderful charity helped me to understand what exactly I was diagnosed with. Whilst there’s more talk about PP now, it wasn’t an illness known to me when I was diagnosed in 2015.

I have since gone on to have my daughter with no recurrence of PP. APP’s forum helped me get through this by answering any questions I had.

I would like to raise at least £500 but would be ecstatic with even more than that so anything you can donate would be greatly appreciated!’

Kimberley’s challenge has already raised more than £450. We would like to say a huge thank you to Kimberley for supporting APP and to all who have donated so far.

You can visit and donate to her fundraising page here.

If you have been inspired by Kimberley, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.

Wales Mother and Baby Unit Pamper Packs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A huge thank you to APP Volunteer Gemma for organising pamper packs to be delivered to the new Uned Gobaith (‘Unit of Hope’) Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) in Wales by our South Wales Team, Ines Beare, Danielle Thomas and Barbara Cunningham.

The packs included make-up items from Boots UK and Soap & Glory to help mums feel special and leaflets about APP’s peer support for mothers and families. Gemma organised the packs as a way of giving mums a little bit of “me time” to help their recovery, alongside the invaluable help and treatment that MBUs provide.

Gemma has been a volunteer with APP since 2018, and her husband Stephen ran a Virtual Marathon for APP in May 2021.  She previously organised pamper packs to be delivered to all MBUs before Christmas in 2020. You can read an article about this here.

Gemma says “I suffered with postpartum psychosis in 2017.  Through this I gained an understanding of severe anxiety and depression and wanted to train as a peer supporter in 2018 in order to support others through their recovery journey. I also support the Birmingham project through attending the cafe group and really enjoy making a positive impact on others’ recovery. In Christmas 2019 I returned to my own MBU in Stafford and was able to thank staff and provide a small number of pamper packs. I feel this is such an important step for mums not only to promote relaxation and self-care, but more importantly to raise awareness of APP, the support available and the ways in which they can get in touch.”

Danielle Thomas, APP’s Assistant South Wales Coordinator said ‘Ines, Barbara and I had the pleasure of dropping off some pamper packs for the mothers who are staying in the new Uned Gobaith. We are very grateful to be able to deliver these on behalf of APP and our Volunteer Gemma. They contained lots of self-care goodies to help lift the women's spirits and we have already received a message from one of the  mothers to say how lovely they were! Sending lots of love and good wishes to them, from us, and all at APP’.

Thank you Gemma, for all your hard work in organising the packs, and also to our South Wales Team Ines, Danielle and Barbara for delivering them to the Wales MBU.

Charity Wax Melt – SPERO (HOPE)

Thank you to Dom Bamber who is helping to raise money for APP by selling a charity wax melt called SPERO, which means hope in Latin.

Dom is selling the wax melt via his website Stumps & Nostrils and is donating 50p from the sale of each one to APP. You can watch a video of the wax melt here.

Dom is a big supporter of APP and has a sister who was affected by the illness so the charity is close to his heart. Dom has held several fundraisers for us over the last few years including a Skydive in 2019 and TikTok live stream event in January 2021. He is also taking part in our Miles for Mums and Babies Challenge which you can sign up for here, and you can donate to Dom’s challenge here.

Thank you Dom for your continued support of APP.

If you have been inspired by Dom, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have! Get in touch here. We would love to support any event you choose.

Stephen's Virtual Marathon

 

 

 

 

 

A huge thank you to Stephen Vinter who took part in a virtual marathon on Sunday 30th May 2021 to raise awareness and money to support APP’s work. Stephen’s friends Alex, Colin, James and Mike also ran with him for parts of the marathon. Stephen is the husband of APP Volunteer Gemma, who organised pamper packs to be delivered at Mother and Baby Units (MBUs) last Christmas, and to the new MBU that has recently opened in Wales. You can read a news article about this on our website here.

Stephen had originally planned to run the Edinburgh Marathon in 2020, but after it was cancelled for the third time due to the Covid-19 pandemic, he decided to run the marathon virtually instead.

Stephen said ’In 2017, after the birth of our wonderful son, my wife suffered from an illness called postpartum psychosis (PP), hospitalising her for three months in an MBU. She was absolutely amazing and inspiring in the way she handled her recovery while continuing to be a fantastic mum. She suffered severe anxiety and depression for the following 12 months. She is now doing volunteer work for APP, helping other mums in their recovery as well as visiting MBUs.

It is definitely my turn to do my bit for a charity that is now very close to our hearts. Just under a year ago I could hardly run around the block but I decided I would set myself the challenge of getting fit with the secret objective of taking on a big challenge of completing at least one race a month for 12 months to keep me motivated. I have now completed eight 10 kilometre runs, a 10 mile race, a half marathon and a family Santa run with a further 10k and a half marathon to go before I attempt to run the big event.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

After running the virtual marathon, Stephen said ‘I am really pleased to complete the marathon and more importantly raise money to support APP. Thank you all so much for your unbelievably kind donations and support throughout. Myself and Gemma have been blown away by your kindness’.

Stephen’s fundraiser has raised more than £3,000 for APP. We would like to thank Stephen, Gemma and their friends for supporting APP and everyone who has donated.

You can still visit and donate to Stephen’s fundraising page here.

If you have been inspired by Stephen, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Miles for Mums and Babies Fundraisers

APP would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who is supporting our #MilesForMumsAndBabies challenge. We’re aiming to raise more than £10,000 to support our work by asking people to walk, run or cycle 10 miles, 20 miles, 500 miles or even 1,000 miles! Each mile reflects the journey mums, babies, partners and families travel to be together, whilst mums receive care in Mother and Baby Units (MBUs). We’ve had a fantastic response to the challenge so far. Our fundraisers include:

Katherine Paul and her son Harris walked 3 miles in one day on 6th May (during Maternal Mental Health Awareness Week). Katherine was hospitalised in 2019 and 2020 and each mile represented the journey she and Harris made in and out of Florence House MBU. Katherine and Harris raised £76.82 for APP. You can still visit and donate to their JustGiving page  here.

Dorota Donigiewicz walked more than 100 miles during May to support MilesForMumsAndBabies. Dorota experienced postpartum psychosis (PP) in 2015 after the birth of her first child and says during her recovery she found APP’s forum and other resources very valuable. Dorota has raised £420.75 for APP.

 

Consultant Psychiatrist, Neha Rawat, and her family covered 534 miles in May through a combination of walking, running, jumping and crawling! The Rawat-Sharmas chose their target to represent the distance between the NHS Lothian Livingston MBU in Scotland and Jasmine Lodge MBU in Devon. Neha said they wanted to highlight the fact many families travel hundreds of miles to be together whilst a mum is being treated in hospital for severe mental illness. Neha and her family have raised more than £300 for APP. You can still donate to their JustGiving fundraising page here.

The team from the MBU at Glasgow’s Leverndale Hospital and colleagues from the Community Perinatal Mental Health Team challenged themselves to walk 10,000 steps a day throughout May. APP has supported the MBU and the Glasgow team wanted to take part in #MilesForMumsAndBabies to raise awareness of postpartum psychosis and to support APP. The team went for walks before, during and after work (with and without patients), and have raised more than £5,800 for APP. You can still donate to their JustGiving page here.

Hannah Bose walked and cycled 95.19 miles during May – that’s the distance from her house to the nearest MBU in Exeter, Devon. Hannah was joined on her walks by her cockapoo, Tessie. Hannah works for the DadPad (a guide for new dads developed with the NHS), and APP's Partner Peer Support Facilitator Simon O'Mara recently wrote a blog about PP for their website which you can read here. Hannah has raised over £290 for APP. You can still donate to Hannah – and Tessie’s –  fundraising page here.

Crisse Buttery works within the community perinatal team as a mental health nurse and has close links to the MBU at Wythenshawe. Crisse walked 22 miles in a day - which represents the 22 MBUs in the UK - on 21st June, International Fathers Mental Health Day. Her aim was to raise awareness of the impact that PP has not only on mum and baby but on fathers too. Crisse has raised £490. As this illness impacts the whole family unit, the money will be split between APP and the MBU at Wythenshawe. You can still visit her JustGiving Crowdfunding page here.

Ailania Fraser walked 22 miles in June to support MilesForMumsAndBabies- that’s the distance between Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and the Livingston MBU. This represents the journey she travelled when diagnosed with PP in April 2019, during which time she spent around seven weeks under the amazing care of the Livingston MBU. Ailania’s husband Stephen and their two year old son joined her on a lot of the walks.  Ailania and her family have raised £100 for APP.

 

Lucy Nichol, APP’s Media Coordinator, and her friends Caroline, Bex, and Johanna, challenged themselves to walk, jog, cross train or run as many miles as they could throughout the month of June to raise money for APP. Lucy wanted to raise awareness of PP amongst a wider community, and spread the word as far as possible. She wanted to get outside and build her fitness back up as exercise is good for mental health. She and her friends completed 381 miles and have raised £290 for APP. You can still donate to their JustGiving page here.

Anna Grisedale had PP in 2015 and 2018, and challenged herself to walk 119 miles, which represents the journey she made from Leeds to the MBU in Morpeth with her first born. Anna was initially admitted to Morpeth as no bed was available in Leeds MBU. After a few weeks, she was transferred back to Leeds, which enabled Anna’s family to visit her regularly. She says this was a lifeline to her and her family. During her illness she experienced the therapeutic benefits of walking.

Watch this Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust film to find out more about Anna's challenge;

Anna has raised over £1500 for her challenge via JustGiving and said 'Thank you so much for all the amazingly generous donations which will help support so many women, babies and their families. I have loved every step of my walks and have been overwhelmed by the wonderful messages of support. I have huge appreciation to all the staff at Leeds MBU who enabled me to be with my babies throughout my illness, which allowed our bond to remain strong throughout and  is paramount for families like ours'.  You can still donate to her JustGiving page here.

Danielle Thomas APP’s Assistant South Wales Coordinator, and her husky dog Lyra, walked 106 miles during June and July, which represents the distance from their house to the Melbury Lodge MBU in Winchester. Danielle experienced PP after the birth of her daughter in 2017, at which time there was no MBU in Wales. This meant she was a 2.5 hour journey away from family and friends during her stay at Winchester MBU. This April the new Uned Gobaith (Unit of Hope) MBU opened in Wales and Danielle was able to collaborate with its planners and artists through APP. Danielle and Lyra have raised £660 for APP. You can still donate to their JustGiving page here.

Emma Charlton works at Beadnell MBU in Morpeth. Along with her colleague Katie, Emma walked 161 miles over a 12 week period to raise money for APP. Emma chose the distance to represent the 161 women admitted to the ward since she started working in Perinatal Services. Emma and Katie were accompanied by other colleagues on some of their longer walks and have raised £1150 for APP. You can still donate to Emma’s challenge here.

Stephanie Fakharzadeh was hospitalised in an adult psychiatric ward in the USA last year after giving birth to her daughter. Covid-19 restrictions meant she wasn’t allowed to see her baby for five days. Stephanie is planning to walk 100 miles before the end of the summer – the round-trip distance it would have taken for her to visit her daughter once a day during her hospital stay. She’s hoping to be joined by others on her fundraising walks to share postpartum and perinatal stories and to offer support. You can donate to Stephanie’s challenge here.

Rachel Kerr is also planning to walk 100 miles for MilesForMumsAndBabies. Rachel was hospitalised for three weeks in 2016 having developed PP after the birth of her daughter. Last year, she gave birth to her son and received support from APP. Rachel is raising money for her challenge via JustGiving. You can visit her page here.

Naomi Gilbert APP’s Assistant Peer Support Coordinator, is taking part in her first ever triathlon on 26th September. She is completing three challenges - swimming, cycling and running - to highlight that during her recovery from PP she had to go to three separate psychiatric hospitals without her daughters, as there was no local Mother and Baby Unit (MBU) at the time. Naomi wants to help APP continue campaigning for more MBUs across the UK, providing peer support to women and families and offering specialist training to maternity professionals. You can visit her Facebook fundraising page here.

 

Shirley Holmes, a health visitor, is planning to walk the six different paths up Snowdon, a total of 48.5 miles. Shirley has decided to fundraise for APP after recently learning more about postpartum psychosis. She’s also keen to support our campaign for an MBU in North Wales. Shirley’s first part of her challenge will be on 15th May and she aims to complete the six routes by the end of September. Find out more about her challenge and support her here.

 

The team from the new Perinatal Mental Health Service in NHS Ayrshire and Arran are challenging themselves to walk 1,400 miles throughout October. They’ll be working with mums who are affected by severe mental illness in the perinatal period, and want to take part in #MilesForMumsAndBabies to raise awareness of PP, support APP, and come together as a team. They chose the distance as it represents the 1,400 mums who experience PP in the UK each year. Find out more and support their challenge here.

Emily Saunders, a peer support volunteer with APP, is aiming to walk and cycle 500 miles between 1st July  and 14th November 2021. These dates are important to her as they are the dates she went into and then finally came out of the Nottingham MBU in 2017 (having had two stays) when she had PP, severe PND and anxiety after the birth of her daughter. Emily chose the distance as it represents the almost 500 miles from the most northerly to the most southerly MBU. Emily wants to raise awareness of how far some mums have to travel to be treated. Find out more about her challenge and support her here.

Debbie Sells is the Ward Manager on the MBU at Nottingham and is aiming to cover 1,000 miles during 2021 by a combination of walking and running. She has worked on the ward for 24 years, and the 1,000 miles represents the long distance many families travel to receive specialist inpatient care. Debbie says that APP provides vital support for women and  families who experience maternal mental illness. You can donate to Debbie’s challenge here.

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Inspired to join in the #MilesForMumsAndBabies challenge? Find out more and sign up here >

Dale’s 250 Mile Charity Walk in Memory of Claire Donald

Thank you to Dale Marr who walked 250 miles during April and May, to honour the memory of her sister Claire Donald. Dale wanted to raise awareness of postpartum psychosis (PP) and help APP to support women and families who are affected by the illness.

Dale said ‘On 17th January ten years ago I tragically lost my sister to the horrible illness postpartum psychosis. We are very blessed that Claire left behind her two beautiful daughters and we see so much of her in them. It means so much to me that other women and their families get the help and support they need.

Thank you so much to everyone that has donated to help raise awareness of this fantastic charity.’

 

Dale on her wedding day with her sister Claire

Dale’s fundraiser has raised more than £1,400 for APP. We would like to thank Dale for supporting APP and everyone who has donated. You can still visit and donate to Dale’s fundraising page here.

If you have been inspired by Dale, we would love to support any fundraising ideas you have. Get in touch here.