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Somek's Chosen Charity

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Somek and Associates have nominated Bliss, dedicated to helping babies born prematurely and/or sick and their families in the UK, as their nominated charity for the next 12 months. One of the main reasons for choosing this important charity is that Michelle Caton-Richards, Somek and Associates Associate Trainer, Expert Witness and Registered Nurse, has a daughter who was born prematurely. Her and her husband found Bliss incredibly supportive at what was a very traumatic time in their lives.

Back in July 2015, Michelle sent a frantic email to the Somek office to inform us that she had given birth early and, ever the professional, was concerned about her existing reports. She was 29 weeks pregnant at the time when suddenly, out of nowhere, she was being told that her baby needed to be delivered, and now.

In Michelle’s own words: “I was given 10 minutes to get my head around that fact. She was nearly dead on delivery (not breathing, pulse of 50) and was whisked away before we could even say hello. She weighed just 2lb11.

I'm ashamed to say that after 17 years in the NHS I had not ever stepped foot in to a neonatal unit, had no idea about premature babies, parents of premature babies, and the journey that we were now faced with. The first few days are a complete blur to me now, but I was promptly given a little bag full of information booklets, a DVD, and contact details for Bliss to take a look at once I could manage it.

Bliss is the only official UK registered charity devoted to babies born early and/or sick. As well as supporting parents through what is one of the most traumatic and uncertain times of their lives, they are also involved in a lot of vital research in to neonatal care and outcomes, some of which I have participated in myself. Bliss also provides parent volunteers to as many units as it can. We did not have the benefit of this, but it is definitely something I would like to get involved in at some point, as life in the neonatal unit can be the loneliest place in the world.”

Somek were delighted to receive an email from Michelle on the 5th of September 2019 to let us know that the day was huge for her and her family as her “little preemie miracle started school… A year early really as if she had been born when she should have been (!) She would have not stated until next September - but she is more than ready! I am good for nothing today so apologies if anyone needs me for anything!”

Somek and Associates are very grateful to Michelle for sharing her story to help raise awareness of this incredibly important issue, especially given that 1 in 7 babies in the UK needs specialist care at birth.

Bliss works tirelessly to:

  • Support parents with information and emotional support to help them care for their baby.
  • Work with health professionals to involve parents in their baby’s hospital care.
  • Campaign to improve neonatal services and families’ experiences.
  • Support research with a fund dedicated to improving care for babies.

For our first Bliss fundraising event, Somek staff will be wearing the colour purple on Wednesday 13th November – we have chosen this date to coincide with the Go Purple campaign for World Prematurity Day a few days later on Sunday 17th November. We are inviting Somek staff, associates, and anyone who would like to contribute, to kindly donate to our Bliss fundraising page please click here. 

As Michelle says: “I just wanted to say thank you to everyone involved for organising and selecting the charity I had nominated for Somek’s chosen charity this year. It absolutely means the world to me.”