Sunday 4 December 2016

‘Carrying that little white coffin was one of the hardest things we would ever do’- Irish dad’s mission to help other parents hit by tragedy

Published 24/08/2016 | 12:37

Irish dad Dale Farrell lost his daughter Bethany in March 2015 Photo Credit : Stock/Getty Images
Irish dad Dale Farrell lost his daughter Bethany in March 2015 Photo Credit : Stock/Getty Images

A dad whose daughter was tragically stillborn is on a mission to raise vital funds to help other Irish parents struck by grief and loss.

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Dale Farrell (36) and his wife Mary lost their daughter Bethany in March 2015 and said the compassion shown to them by medical staff during an unimaginably difficult time was outstanding.

The Offaly dad is now on a fitness mission to raise funds for Mullingar Hospital’s Maternity Unit and Féileacain, a charity that offers support to parents of stillborn children.

“Our beautiful daughter Bethany was born sleeping and when we went through what we did, the support, compassion and humanity we were shown by the staff of Mullingar’s Maternity Unit was outstanding.

“They provided a cuddle cot for the room where we could keep Bethany with us during our stay and we were given a memory box from Féileacain, the stillbirth and neonatal death association in Ireland.

“In it there were teddy bears, a kit to take hand and footprints and a disposable camera,” he said.

The dad said his world fell apart and to take Bethany to her family home in tragic circumstances was the hardest thing he'll ever have to do.

“We took Bethany on her one and only journey to her family home and carrying that little white coffin into the house surrounded by a selection of our family and close friends was the hardest thing we would ever do, or so we thought.

Dale Farrell is competing in the Quest Adventure Series to raise vital funds for Féileacain and Mullingar's Maternity Unit
Dale Farrell is competing in the Quest Adventure Series to raise vital funds for Féileacain and Mullingar's Maternity Unit

“The next morning we took Bethany on her final journey, again surrounded by the people who matter most to us, to her final resting place with Mary’s father Johnny in the cemetery in Killeigh.

“This was actually the hardest thing we’ve ever had to do... to stand over a little hole in the ground surrounded by freshly picked and lovingly placed daffodils and place our beautiful daughter in the cold ground for ever more.”

As a way to cope with his grief, Dale has channelled his energy into fitness and is currently raising vital funds for the maternity unit and charity that provided such strong support when they needed it most.

After months of training, the dad is now taking part in a gruelling series of adventure raises, in the hopes of helping other Irish parents hit by tragedy.

“I decided to take part in the Quest Adventure Series this year and I’m already two races down with two more to go.

“I’ve never been one for fitness but I found it became a good outlet for stress, and hopefully I'll raise a bit of awareness and funds for a vital organisation.

“These charities play a vital role in supporting bereaved families like ours in an unimaginable position and any support would be appreciated,” he said.

To donate to Bethany’s Challenge visit: fundrazr.com/BethanysChallenge or Facebook.com/BethanysChallenge

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