Welcome to the very first Charity Tuesday post. Each week I’ll feature a different charity to showcase the important work they do to support mums in our community.
This week I’m really pleased to be able to feature Mummy’s Star who are based in Glossop and do absolutely amazing work to support mums. I don’t think my words could ever do this charity justice so I’ll leave you with Founder and CEO, Pete Wallroth.
1, What lead to the creation of Mummy’s star?
I established the charity with friends and family in June 2013, in memory my wife and mum of two, Mair. She was diagnosed with breast cancer during her second pregnancy and while undergoing treatment and giving birth to a healthy baby boy, she passed away 10 weeks later from secondary cancer to the brain. Our children Martha and Merlin, 3.5 and 10 weeks at the time of her passing are now 8 and 4.
It was set up in response to the fact that we as a family found very little support specific to cancer in pregnancy and the challenges is threw up for us, and then after her death, having spoken the three other women who had been through similar diagnosis, it was decided that this needed to change so that no woman ever felt as isolated as Mair had.
2, Can you tell us about your work?
It is the only charity in the UK and Ireland with the aim of ‘supporting pregnancy through cancer and beyond’.
More specifically the charity focuses on supporting women and families where the:
- Woman is diagnosed or treated for cancer during her pregnancy
- Woman is diagnosed or treated for cancer within a year of her giving birth
- Family in the first year of a birth lose their female partner as a result of cancer
This includes situations where mum loses a pregnancy through miscarriage, diagnosis related termination, stillbirth or molar pregnancy diagnosis.
Our work is done through four main strands:
1, Providing a one stop shop for advice on cancer diagnosis in pregnancy including links to localised services. This is supported directly by Macmillan.
2, Advocacy on behalf of the families which can be anything from bringing in further support by working with other organisations through to support at medical appointments, to Benefits advice. Through we also employment rights advice. We also have the benefit of a child therapist working with the charity who offers telephonic support and guidance around children and diagnosis
3, Small grants for families which could be for anything which is deemed as supporting the family such as paying for a support carer/nanny to help in the house, payment to make up for unpaid leave taken by a partner to support at home above and beyond the allowances of paternity and travel costs. This is not an exhaustive list
4, Facilitating peer support in a supervised setting via the use of administrated internet forums for affected women, their partners and wider family members. Also, where appropriate, providing support for affected women individually via email, phone, Facebook and occasionally in person, thereby reducing isolation.
In the event that a mum passes away, ongoing help is provided to her surviving partner and family via bereavement support, online widowers forums and the availability of telephonic counselling.
We aim be in a position where any woman presenting with cancer during pregnancy/post birth at any hospital is referred to Mummy’s Star and accesses the support we offer.
A pregnant women with cancer is still a pregnant woman first and foremost.
3, It’s Cancer and Pregnancy Awareness week. Please tell us more about this and the theme this year?
This is the fourth time we have run our awareness week and we aim to shine a light on the unique situations that our families find ourselves in. We try to get to as many hospitals as we can to deliver educational talks about what we do, share the stories of our mums and their experiences, talk about how some cancer symptoms can be missed due to pregnancy and heighten body awareness; a general awareness that cancer and pregnancy can and sadly do happen at the same time.
Our theme this year, as we’ve entered our fourth year, is going back to basics to remind our wonderful supporters, both those since the beginning, those newer to us and hopefully those who will now begin to follow and support us about where the charity came from and what we do. A back to basics approach. The Who, What, How and Why
4, How can people support you?
People can support us in a number of ways, whether it’s following us on social media and sharing the information we post, holding an awareness day or fun day, maybe something star themed? If they work in a hospital, centre or host a regular group, share some of our literature with people and most importantly just talk. Talk about what you’ve heard. Talk about this situation that is rare, but is devastating for families when it does, and share the stories of hope and the ideas of how you could practically and emotionally help people if you happen to know someone diagnosed in this situation