Next month on the 27th November William will turn two, but he won’t be here to share his special day with us and celebrate like other children can. I simply cannot believe it’s ‘next month’. As time ebbs away I am hanging on to the days when I can still say ‘this day last year William was…. this time last year William took his first steps…’ soon, as we pass William’s birthday and the anniversary of his death approaches and passes, I will no longer be able to say, this time last year. A whole year. A whole year without William, and as the end of the year closes in the 31st December represents 382 days without him. I will have spent just as many days without him to those that he lived. I cannot tell you how incapacitating this is.
How can we celebrate William’s birthday without him, how can we smile, how can we do anything other than remember the beautiful first birthday we spent together. But, and it is the hardest ‘but’ I have faced. It wouldn’t be right for us not to mark William’s special day. The day that I birthed my angel. The day that sunlight came beaming into my world, the day that nothing else mattered, the day that I knew my dream had become a reality. The day that William showed me how exquisite unconditional love is.
So, as you know from my previous blog we have organised to release some biodegradable balloons so they can make their way to heaven for William to play with. We are doing this the day after William’s birthday on the 28th. On the 27th November I will be devoured by the eternal ache of spending the first birthday without him. How is it even possible that we only ever got to have one birthday with him? How is it possible that a little boy so loved, so achingly needed, and so desperately wanted could be snatched away so cruelly. I know how, but I will never understand why.
William died from sepsis, the most awful and in William’s case catastrophically fatal infection I have ever come across, and I wonder how many of you know what Sepsis is? What the symptoms of sepsis are? What causes it? Well I thought sepsis was rare, in fact in 2012 I had sepsis, caught after an operation. Well I can tell you that sepsis kills 37,000 people in the UK every year. William was one of those 37,000. A life-threatening condition that takes hold in a matter of hours. As October is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month I hope to be able to spread awareness of sepsis, so that no-one has to lose anyone to sepsis.
Sepsis occurs when the body’s response to an infection injures its own tissues and organs. Infection which can give rise to sepsis are common, and include lung infections, like pneumonia (this is what William was suffering with – although un-diagnosed), water infections, infections in wounds, bites or joints and problems such as burst ulcers.
Sepsis can lead to shock, multiple organ failure and in William’s case, death.
Life-saving treatment for sepsis is often relatively straightforward. Early recognition, and getting basic treatments including antibiotics and fluids into the patient within the first hour, can halt the progression of sepsis and hugely improve outcomes for patients. In the case of sepsis antibiotics are the single most important life-saving measure.
Sepsis accounts for 37,000 deaths in the UK every year. That’s more than bowel cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer put together. This means that 1 person dies from sepsis every 14 minutes. What should you look out for?
So, for William’s balloon release I am involving all of you, if you would like to donate to William’s Just Giving Page with all proceeds going directly to the UK Sepsis Trust, I hope by fundraising we can raise awareness of Sepsis. Whether through simply educating people, through innovation, research and the sharing of good practice. Sepsis needs to be recognised as a medical emergency and as a clinical priority for the NHS. We need to ensure that members of the public, patients and their relatives, and health professionals work together to think Sepsis. So, if you would like a balloon to release for William’s second birthday and to raise money for such a worthy charity, we are asking minimum £1 donation per balloon, you can email me your address and if you are abroad, don’t worry I will get a balloon to you too.
I hope you will all help our family, to mark William’s special day with as many balloons from around the world as we can, and raise awareness of Sepsis too.