I’m very excited that ‘Do Not Enter the Monster Zoo’ is going to be donating a percentage of royalties to Tommy’s. As well as raising funds for an extremely worthwhile cause, I hope this will raise awareness of the charity itself. If you’d like to find out more about why my books support baby charities, please click here.
So that readers know a little bit more about where the funds will be going and what they will be doing, I’ve interviewed Chief Executive of Tommy’s, Jane Brewin.
‘Do Not Enter the Monster Zoo’ is donating a percentage of royalties to Tommy’s. Can you tell us about the aims of the charity?
“The baby charity Tommy’s works to help mums to have a healthy pregnancy, and a healthy baby. One in four women will lose a baby every year either during pregnancy or at birth, and Tommy’s aims to half this number by the year 2030. It’s a big ambition and we’re approaching it from two main directions – firstly by providing lifestyle advice on women on how to manage their health during pregnancy, and secondly by funding medical research into pregnancy complications.
For mums, we provide a range of information and advice through our website and publications, and also run the free helpline the PregnancyLine staffed by our in-house midwives. On the research side, we fund studies and trials in our three Tommy’s centres in London, Manchester and Edinburgh, which shed light on the causes of pregnancy complications so we can find solutions and treatments.
Which projects is the charity currently involved in?
Our three research centres work on a wide variety of topics, from what causes pre-eclampsia to trialling tests that predict if a woman will give birth prematurely. At any one time there are dozens of studies going on that use funding from Tommy’s to bring us ever closer to the causes and treatments of problems causing miscarriages, premature birth and still births.
Are there any upcoming projects?
Plenty! On the lifestyle side, we’re working with Netmums to launch an exciting new campaign on mental health during pregnancy. Around 10-15% of women will experience anxiety or depression either during their pregnancy, or after their baby is born. However, few women feel they can be open about their feelings or seek support. In the Autumn we will be releasing the findings of research we have done together, and producing new resources to help mums get the support they need.
We’re also excited about an upcoming exercise campaign for next year – we’re hoping to set the record straight with this one as there is a lot of confusion out there.
What are your hopes for the charity’s future?
To continue to help improve health in pregnancy, whether it’s helping mums-to-be to stop smoking or giving them sound nutritional advice. Women’s health and habits are changing all the time, and issues like obesity can have a big impact on the health of babies, and indeed research is showing it can affect their adult lives. We need to keep on top of the emerging trends and keep developing innovative insights, treatments and health advice that help women to have healthy babies.
Pregnancy loss is still not an issue that is talked about openly and we want to see real, meaningful change here as well.
Our long-term goal is halve the number of babies that die during pregnancy by 2030. Losing a baby is a heartbreak that no parent should have to go through, and delivering more healthy and happy babies is ultimate goal for us.
If people would like to help Tommy’s, what could they do?
There are so many ways to help out! People can take part in existing events, host their own, or find other ways of fundraising for us – we’re very lucky to have you donating proceeds from your book to us, for example.
Visit www.tommys.org to find a list of running events that we’re putting teams together for. On the horizon we’ve the Great North Run in the northeast and the Royal Parks Half Marathon in London, and throughout the summer we do family friendly events such as Splashathon and the Baby Races.
If running isn’t your bag or you like to come up with your own ideas, then the sky’s the limit – you could host a family fun day, make jam and sell it at your summer fete, do a sponsored sky dive, or get your work place to take part in a sweep stake. Or even do as some of our Tommy’s colleagues did and wear a onesie to work! You don’t have to run a marathon to raise money for Tommy’s. Get crafty, get creative and rope in your friends and family to join in or lend a hand.
Every penny counts, and helps us in our mission to help save babies’ lives.