Touching Lives - March 2006
Stand Up for Tiny Lives
Central to our appeal to the UK to ‘Stand Up For Tiny Lives’ is the fact that funding for research to prevent premature birth and pregnancy complications is low; very low in fact.
We estimate that around £10m is spent each year in this area, which is miniscule — Lotto winners have had bigger windfalls! It is especially poignant when you consider that over 70,000 babies need special care every year and, irrespective of the financial costs of protecting their lives, the emotional impact it has on their families goes far beyond the realms of cash accounts and balance sheets.
Professor John Wyatt, a consultant and researcher who specialises in the care of newborn babies at University College Hospital, London, agrees. He has previously spoken of his frustration saying, “You might think that for such an emotive and important area as care of the newborn, there would be massive funding available for research. But in reality, research into care of the newborn is a Cinderella area.”
Essentially, in line with our place as ‘the forward thinking charity’, we are saying that the old adage ‘Prevention is better than cure’ definitely rings true. Without a doubt the UK’s special care teams do amazing, life-saving work — but surely a greater focus on preventing babies from needing this care would be a better outcome all round?
What are we doing?
As a charity we’re doing our bit — we are well on target to reach our fundraising goal of £3million; we have already raised £900,000 in the first year of the Touching Tiny Lives Campaign which has allowed us to begin 18 new research projects across the UK.
We are one of the biggest movers and shakers in the charity world for funding research that benefits babies - so arguably we also have a duty to highlight the urgent need for money.
It is this need that is driving the Touching Tiny Lives Campaign. Already we have received comment from the public to say that they are pleased that finally someone is drawing attention to this plight. One woman to us afteer seeing the Holdcroft twins’ appearance on the BBC, and said, “Watching you on TV this morning… I’ve just relived my last six month’s nightmare… People don’t realise what goes on until they’re in that situation.Thank-you for being on TV.”
What can you do to help?
We have launched a petition to give every person in the UK the opportunity to ‘Stand-Up For Tiny Lives’ by asking the Government to double its funding into research in this area. We plan to submit the petition to the Prime Minister’s office at No 10 Downing Street.
You can sign the online petition at www.standupfortinylives.org. Each signature is represented by a dot. If someone hovers over “your” dot they will see your name, message of support and if you have uploaded it, your photo.
Chuckle for charity
A number of high profile comedians have also agreed to Stand Up for Tiny Lives and help us put the issue of premature birth in the spotlight. On Monday 19th June, we are holding a Stand Up for Tiny Lives event at the Comedy Store in London.
Through humour we want to challenge the public’s perceptions of the risks and consequences of premature birth and pregnancy problems. It promises to be a fantastic evening, with celebrities from the world of comedy putting their weight behind the Touching Tiny Lives Campaign, as they indulge in some rib tickling fun.
^We already have three acts booked, all generously giving their time for free^: John Moloney, Stuart Lee and Richard Herring. There are 200 tickets available for the event, on a first come first serve basis - keep an eye on the Stand Up website for further details.
Other comedians have shown their support by donating jokes, which we hope to feature in a series of emails promoting the Stand Up event and petition.Visit www.standupfortinylives.org to read comedy contributions from Harry Hill, Jo Brand, Les Dennis, Arabella Weir, Frank Skinner, Arthur Smith and others.