Heartbroken family reach out to charity

Marisa Reidy

A BALLYHEIGUE couple who suffered the unimaginable heartache of losing their daughter just two weeks before she was due to be born will this week hold a fundraising event for the charity that helped them cope through their tragic loss.

Last September Ann-Marie (pictured) and Colm Horgan's daughter Cara was still born at 38 weeks, leaving the couple and their three young children with the trauma of having to say goodbye to the baby they were due to welcome into their home, before ever getting to know her.

Ann-Marie told The Kerryman that Cara's premature death was completely unexpected as she had gone to the doctor the day before and everything was fine.

"I visited the doctor on the Monday [September 10] and a scan showed that everything was perfect, but on Tuesday there was no heartbeat," Ann Marie said. "I had my bag packed for the hospital and everything, so this was an unbelievable shock. There was a full post mortem which showed no abnormalities so it was just a sudden death. When I gave birth to her on the Friday, it was just like she was asleep and she had a big black head of hair. In a weird way, there is some consolation in knowing she didn't have any underlying condition that her siblings may also have had."

While trying to deal with their unimaginable loss and prepare for Cara's funeral, Ann-Marie and husband Colm got huge support from Cork based charity Feileachain, which supplies memory boxes to help parents collect some mementos and keepsakes of their lost child. Ann Marie explained that the boxes contain two teddy bears (one to keep and one for the baby's coffin), a disposable camera, hand crafted blankets and an ink set that allows parents take imprints of their little baby's hands and feet. The charity also offers free counselling to parents like Colm and Ann-Marie who suffer stillbirths.

Because the charity relies totally on donations, the Ballyheigue couple have organised a coffee morning at the Kerryhead/Ballyheigue Family Resource Centre on Good Friday morning, March 29 from 11am-2pm. There will also be an Easter Egg hunt for children and some fantastic prizes will be given away in a raffle.

Anyone unable to make the event can still donate to the cause by contacting Ann-Marie or Colm on 086 8104006 or 086 8307472.


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