A Doncaster resident has raised over £8,000 for baby loss charities this year, £4,110 of which he has donated to Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals (DBTH) Charity.
Mitchell Carrigan, who is an avid supporter of baby loss support groups, recently completed an ultramarathon-length walk of nearly 59 miles in memory of his three babies and late wife, Chloe Carrigan.
After the heart breaking loss of their three babies, affectionately known as Avery, Baby C and Little Bean, both Mitchell and Chloe found solace in the DBTH Charity campaign, ‘The Serenity Appeal’: a campaign to improve maternity bereavement services at the Trust.
Talking about what motivated him, and his group, to complete such a gruelling fundraiser, Mitchell said: “We’ve all seen in one way or another how painful it can be to lose a baby and hopefully families going through that now have this amazing facility to be able to start to process it.”
Despite aches, rain, and injuries, the group finished the overnight trek in under 19 hours.
The non-stop journey began from Nottingham Station, the last place Mitchell spoke to Chloe, to Doncaster Royal Infirmary, a place of significance for them both.
Vicky, Carrie, and Ryan, who formed the core walking group with Mitchell, were instrumental in helping with fundraising and rallying one another throughout the trek.
Mitchell said: “I doubt I would have got through it without them.”
With a goal of £2,500 on Just Giving, Mitchell, was ‘blown away’ when he realised they had far surpassed it.
He said: “We were all blown away with the total.
“The thing that struck me was how many people who donated had their own experiences with baby loss, many of whom have never spoken about it.”
As part of the ‘Our Shining Stars’ campaign by DBTH Charity, Mitchell dedicated a star at DRI to Chloe, to shine out over the hospital grounds during the festive period.
Sarah Dunning, Fundraising Manager at DBTH Charity and lead of the Our Shining Stars campaign said: “We are honoured to have one of our stars in dedication to Chloe.
“She has done so much to raise awareness of baby loss, and her legacy continues by bringing together communities of people experiencing the same heart-breaking grief.
“We cannot express our thanks enough to Mitchell, for his incredible strength and dedication to fundraising for us, throughout this difficult period.”
Following the loss of her first two babies, Chloe became a staunch supporter of the Serenity Appeal, completing a 100km sponsored dog walk, with beloved pugs Bulo and Jax.
Chloe raised over £350 for the appeal with her efforts.
When asked what the dogs meant to Chloe, husband Mitchell said: “Those dogs were Chloe’s entire world.
“They would say they miss their absolute favourite person ever. So would I”
Following Chloe’s passing in January 2023, Mitchell, along with family and friends, donated £500 to DBTH Charity – funds raised at her funeral.
Speaking about the support he received during this difficult period, Mitchell, who has since become a facilitator at Andy’s Man Club in Hemsworth, said: “I’m amazingly lucky to have some of the best family and friends around me.
“These lads [at Andy’s Man Club] have been brilliant and a massive support this year.
“I had people who backed me all the way. I know I have them for life.”
The teams at DBTH, including the bereavement team and chaplains, were also amazing, Mitchell continued.
Bereavement midwives, Rhian Morris and Matthew Procter, supported Mitchell every step of the way.
He said: “Rhian has been amazing throughout, when we lost Avery, Little Bean and Baby C, and after I lost Chloe.
“She’s a credit to the hospital and deserves more applause than any of us can give her.”
Mitchell went on to thank Revd Andy, the Chaplain who hosted Chloe’s funeral and had previously given blessings when the couple lost baby Avery.
About Revd Andy, Mitchell said: “He was amazing from start to finish.”
Completing his sponsored walk was an opportunity to carry on what Chloe began, Mitchell explained.
Reflecting on their time together, Mitchell recalled Chloe getting an infectious case of the giggles halfway through their wedding in 2019.
But the smaller things stick with you too, like sitting and watching a film together, or watching Chloe try and cheat at ‘just about every board and card game she ever played’, Mitchell recalled fondly.
He said: “I don’t think any of us appreciate those moments as much as we should until we don’t have them anymore.”
“We got to spend an amazing 12 years together.”