I'll never get over losing my baby, but other parents were a beacon - Leigh Arnold
Published 16/04/2016 | 09:01
Actress Leigh Arnold has said it gives her strength to support other parents who have suffered the loss of a child.
The Dublin beauty stepped out with her husband Steve Davies to host her second patron lunch for FirstLight - a support charity for suddenly-bereaved parents and families.
Leigh said the charity was a "beacon of light" for her, following the death of her baby son Flynn in May 2013, from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
"Rather than going to see a counsellor who is removed from the situation, I was speaking to other parents who had been through similar situations," she told the Herald.
"It made me feel comfortable and helped me to get my head around my grief. When I started to slightly come to terms with things - of course, you never get over something like that - I made it my ambition to do that for other parents."
The proceeds from last year's luncheon helped FirstLight to engage with the HSE. This year they will be rolling out training and professional support packs to health care professionals in Ireland's hospitals and community care centres, surrounding the sudden death of a child or a young person.
"I want this organisation to be to the forefront if the worse case should ever occur to an individual's child or someone that they know," Leigh said.
"The thing that gives me strength is trying to help other parents, the way other parents helped me. I try to use being in the public eye for a good cause," she added.
The 36-year-old was joined by 100 guests, including Lorraine Keane and Fair City stars Bryan Murray and Una Crawford O'Brien, at the FirstLight Charity lunch in Dylan McGrath's Fade Street Social restaurant on Friday.
The former Clinic star said the luncheons are always difficult, but added: "It's great because I am surrounded by amazing friends and family.
"Many of the guests are parents who have lost children, so unfortunately we are part of a club, but we are all here together."
Leigh, her husband Steven, their three-year-old son Hunter and six-month-old daughter Piper Rose, divide their time between their home in Ibiza and Leigh's native Dublin.
"It's lovely," she said of the Spanish island where she wed Steve in 2014. "We go for a bit of positivity and we have got a house out there. Our home is always Dublin, but we are spending a lot of time out there right now.