A KNOWLE couple whose beloved son died last year have been nominated as the most inspirational grieving mother and father.
Matt and Juliette Gaunt, both 33, raised an incredible £11,540 for neonatal death charity SANDS in just a few months, after their son Benjamin was tragically stillborn on November 26.
Juliette, a speech and language therapist, said: “We went through a whole range of emotions, and had feelings we’d never imagined anyone should feel. We wouldn’t have thought we could get up and live again.”
Thanks to the support of family and friends, and their own steely determination, the pair decided to throw themselves into fundraising to help cope with their loss and make it “mean something”.
“Now we’re approaching Ben’s first birthday and neither of us can believe we’ve made it here. We’re at a new normal, we’re different people to who we were. We’re just trying to heal every day.
“I’m so proud we’ve been able to make Ben mean something even though he’s not here. It has spurred us on,” added Juliette.
“People use him to talk about stillbirth and more people talk about him everyday.”
Following their fundraising event at Crust pizzeria, in Shirley, earlier this year, they are now planning to hold an annual event every February in Ben’s memory.
“I want to carry on raising money- much needed money - for SANDS and other local charities,” said Matt, a police officer.
“I want to keep talking about this tragic topic so that people become more comfortable... to understand and talk about what has happened, why and how it can be prevented. I want people to carry on coming to me for support and inspiration. Most of all I want Ben to be proud of me every day with all that I achieve in his memory.”
Family and friends decided to nominate Juliette for Most Inspirational Grieving Mother and Matt for Most Inspiration Grieving Father in the Annual Butterfly Awards which celebrate the achievements of families overcoming baby loss, as well as the organisations and healthcare professionals that support them.
“We feel like we’re blessed to have been nominated, to win would just be the icing on the cake,” added Juliette.
Winners will be announced at the awards ceremony at Paragon Hotel, Birmingham on October 19.