Shrewsbury mum Beth Roberts has signed up for her very first 10K run with a very special motivation. She is running in memory of her precious baby daughter Peggy, who never made it home. 

Beth has raised an incredible £10,000 for Hope House Children’s Hospice since signing up to the Shrewsbury 10K, which is on 7th July. These donations are spurring her on to train by jogging the hills of Shrewsbury. But when she’s really struggling, it’s thoughts of little Peggy, who died at just 11 and a half weeks old, that keep her going.

Peggy’s short life was spent almost entirely in hospital. From the moment she was born it was clear that this would be a very different journey to the one that Beth and partner Henry had experienced with their son Rupert two years earlier.

“Throughout my pregnancy, everything seemed fine. I was eventually induced a week early and we had our baby girl.”

However, Peggy wasn’t breathing properly and midwives were concerned.

“As soon she was born, the medical crash team were called in,” remembers Beth. “We thought we weren’t going to be taking our baby home.”

Peggy was stabilised, however she needed support to breath, could not tolerate milk and could not feed due to a rare genetic mutation.

“Her brain never really developed. She could make eye contact, and was calmer and happier when we were there, but she couldn’t smile. We spent a lot of time going to and fro from home to hospital in Birmingham to spend time with her. She was even able to come off the ventilator for three or four weeks. We knew she would never get better, but she was doing so well.”

It was then that Peggy suffered a cardiac arrest.

“We got a phone call and were told she needed to go back on the ventilator. Nobody explicitly said it to us, but we knew that once she was back on she wouldn’t come off. We were heart broken.

“A few days later, we were told that we had to start palliative care.”

Care and support

A conversation with a health visitor made Beth and Henry aware of Hope House. During this distressing time, Hope House stepped in to offer the care and support they needed at this time. 

“From the moment we realised we were dealing with palliative care, we knew we didn’t want Peggy to die in hospital. Her whole life had been in hospital.

We got Peggy over to Hope House on 26th March where she passed away peacefully in my arms, just under an hour after being taken off the ventilator.

“We didn’t want very much: we wanted to see her face, as she’d always had lots of tubes and we’d not seen her face properly her whole life; we wanted to hold her; and we wanted to take her outside. She was only alive for an hour. It was a short amount of time but we felt lucky to have all the things we’d wished for during that short time at Hope House.

“We were sat outside in the sunshine, listening to the birds. Peggy’s grandparents were there, and Rupert was playing in the gardens. That whole week the weather had been awful but the sun came out for Peggy’s moment. It was tranquil, and calm. I just thought: ‘You’ve had such a rough life but we’re going to give you this little moment of calm.’ It was very, very special.”

The family were able to spend time in the hospice’s Snowflake Suite, a special room where families can bring their child after they've died, and can say goodbye in their own time and in their own way.

“The Snowflake Suite was incredible. It gave us all the opportunity to hold and cuddle her free from wires.”

Through Peggy’s life and death, running has become a focus for Beth, who started as soon as she could after her six-week health check.

Running for Peggy

“I’m not at all a runner. After Peggy was born, I needed to keep busy and do something. I started couch to 5k. Then decided to push myself to do a 10k, and saw I could sign up for Hope House.

“Running has given me a focus. During her lifetime we spent six days out of seven in hospital. Running gave me head space to process things in my head. Or sometimes just not to think of anything. Since she’s died, it’s given me a reason to get out of the house.”

Beth has been blown away by the support she’s received from sponsors as well as family and friends who are joining her in the 10k.

“We’ve already raised £10,000. It’s unbelievable. Over 200 people have donated which shows how many people care for us, and for Peggy.

“When the running gets tough, I think of all the sponsors, but mainly I picture Peggy. I think of her all the time, and she’s pushing me on.”

Sponsor Beth

Learn more about raising and donating money in memory of a loved one