Tragic loss spurs Plean family on

Katrina and John Kirkwood with children Cara-Iona and Roan Lewis
Katrina and John Kirkwood with children Cara-Iona and Roan Lewis
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A couple who suffered the tragedy of losing a baby want to help other families.

Katrina and John Kirkwood hope to raise money for SiMBA, a charity which provides memory boxes, photographs and other mementoes for parents who have lost a baby at birth or soon after.

They are hosting a fundraising ball and charity auction on July 9 in the Stirling Management Centre, close to Stirling University.

All money raised will go to SiMBA, which Katrina said has provided them with invaluable support since the loss of their second child, Arran, three years ago.

The couple, who now live in Plean, already had a daughter Cara-Iona, now four, when they discovered Katrina was pregnant again.

The 29-year-old said: “It seemed to be a normal pregnancy and it was only when I went for my second scan at 23 weeks that they realised something wasn’t quite right. They said the baby was smaller than normal, and more tests were needed.”

These eventually revealed the baby had polycystic kidneys and the caring staff at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary confirmed there was every chance she would have a premature labour.

The couple were living in Bo’ness at the time and only three weeks after first being given the devastating news, she was rushed into the city hospital on July 20, 2008 where she gave birth.

Arran died within hours.

As Katrina and John (36) struggled to come to terms with their loss, midwives suggested they contact SiMBA for support.

She said: “I cannot thank them enough. We knew nothing about arranging a funeral and they did that for us. I will always feel indebted to them.

“Our son suffered from a very rare condition known as Madjewsky Syndrome. There are fewer than 100 cases worldwide living with this disorder. Life expectancy is not good. Pregnant women are not expected to carry to term and children born with this do not tend to live past infancy.”

Tests later revealed that the couple both had a faulty gene and there was a one in four chance of another baby being affected.

When Katrina, a clerical administrator with Grangemouth community care team, became pregnant with Roan Lewis, now 18 months, she admits it was an anxious time. Thankfully, after a six-hour labour he was born perfectly well.

The couple are expecting another child in November and checks have already revealed it does not have the same condition as Arran.

Katrina said: “It’s only really this year that we’ve come to terms with what happened to him. Raising money for SiMBA has been a form of therapy. That’s why we want to get as much as possible for the charity.”

To find out more or book tickets, visit www.simbagalaballinstirling.co.uk.