At the end of May, Richard Baish and a team of friends will be completing an epic 475 mile bike ride over five days to raise money for APP in memory of his amazing wife Alex who tragically died last year.
The ride will start in Glasgow and head all the way down to Richard’s hometown of Witney in Oxfordshire, finishing on the 2nd June.
Richard’s challenge aims to raise awareness of postpartum psychosis, the severe postnatal mental illness that claimed the life of his wife Alex to in September. With a toddler and a newborn baby to look after, as well as coping with the immense shock and grief of losing his partner, Richard gave himself a huge target of raising £50,000 for APP.
As he and his family had never heard of postpartum psychosis before they were affected by it, his aim is to ensure healthcare professionals and parents-to-be are made aware of the signs, symptoms and risks of the illness, in the hope that no other families will have to go through what they have.
So far Richard has raised an incredible £36,000 and his total is still going up every day. For our small charity, this is a huge amount of money, which will make such a difference to the work we can do to raise awareness, support families and save lives. We have already used some of the funds raised to begin an antenatal education campaign, including producing a toolkit for antenatal educators; and an online conference aimed at healthcare professionals is planned for the autumn.
I found out the hard way just how destructive PP can be. My advice for anyone who’s going through birth, either as a mum, dad, friend or family member, is to keep talking: whether it’s sharing good feelings or bad with each other or with professionals. Talking has helped me so much in my grieving process and it can help prevent the worst-case scenario. Postpartum psychosis is an awful illness but a treatable one. APP has supported me immensely in the last few months, and I know they share my passion to help save as many lives as possible through awareness of what to do and where to go for help.
Through his fundraising, Richard has also raised an enormous amount of awareness - using interviews, press and social media to reach people who would have never heard of postpartum psychosis otherwise. He brings kindness, honesty, passion, thoughtfulness and sensitivity to each interaction. It's difficult overstate the impact his fundraising has already had - tens of thousands of people have seen his campaign video (below), and nearly 1,500 individuals have given sponsorship, most of them previously unknown to him having been moved to support Richard after seeing a tweet or a Facebook post.
We can't imagine a better way to remember Alex and honour her memory. We're so grateful to Richard for the incredible, dedicated work he is doing for Action on Postpartum Psychosis, during the most difficult period of his life.
His story is truly inspirational but it can be a difficult one to read, so please take care visiting his fundraising page or watching the video below.
You can add your support to his campaign here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/richardbaish
If you have been affected by Richard's story, need any support, or want to meet others affected by postpartum psychosis, we're here for you. Find out more at www.app-network.org/get-help/peer-support-for-postpartum-psychosis/ or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Richard has already done so much to raise awareness of PP with coverage on BBC Radio Oxford and in the Daily Record as well as via his social media feeds. You can follow his updates on Twitter and Instagram. If you're a journalist interested in covering Richard's incredible story, please contact email@example.com