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In 2013 in the UK, one in every 137 babies was either stillborn or died in the first 4 weeks of life

Here in N. Ireland, over 3 babies a week are stillborn or die in the first 4 weeks of life.

We support all bereaved parents who have lost their babies, before, during or shortly after birth.

Lights Of Love - Toy Box Appeal


Wrap your gift and place it under the Sands tree at the Lights of Love service Friday 9th December at 7.30pm, or, send it to the Sands Toy Box Appeal, 22 Church Street, Portadown, BT62 3LQ

As in previous years the main focus of the service will be the Christmas tree with it's 500 lights and the personal tree tag cards, placed on the tree by you, or on your behalf. This year, we are offering you the opportunity to place a toy under the tree in memory of your child which we will donate to the ABC Community Network, a local charity that appeals for toys each Christmas for children who otherwise wouldn't receive a toy or gift. If you would like to donate a toy to the appeal, simply wrap your gift and place it under the Sands tree at the service, or, send it to the Sands Toy Box Appeal, 22 Church Street, Portadown, BT62 3LQ(please indicate the age & gender on the tag/wrapping) If we have a good response to the appeal we will choose a different charity each year to donate the gifts to.
This is a personal choice, and there is absolutely no pressure on anyone to donate a toy to the appeal.

For most families Christmas is a time of joy and celebration; a time of excitement and expectation, reunion and love.  But for those families who have lost a child it’s often a different story.  Instead of happiness and anticipation.  Christmas  can be the loneliest time of the year.  A bleak period that has to be endured and got through.  While other parents are out shopping for their children, choosing gifts, writing to Santa, bereaved families are coping with their longing for the child they have lost, wondering what she would have put on her Christmas list or how often he would have changed his mind before Santa finally showed up on Christmas Morning.
For the past number of years members of SandsNI have individually chosen Christmas gifts for their children.  For a while we lost ourselves in the world of ‘what if’.  What if she hadn’t been stillborn?  What if he hadn’t died before he could open his eyes?  How old would they be now?  What would they have wanted for Christmas?  We chose gifts for our children and after keeping them under our Christmas trees for a little while donated them to a children’s charity in our babies’ name.
We will go shopping  again this Christmas, choosing different toys for our children suitable for the age they would have been.  But this year we are expanding the project and are launching our Toy Box Gift Appeal.  We will be joined by other bereaved families; parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters, godparents and friends in honouring a child through the donation of a toy in their name to the ABC Community Network..
If you would like to take part in this project you can bring your toy to our Lights Of Love Christmas remembrance service which will be held in St. Mark’s Church,Portadown, on December 9th at 7.30pm. The Toy Box Appeal will also be launched at the Lights Of Love Service in St Joseph's Church, Wilton, Cork, with the toys from that appeal donated to Barnardo's.

For more details about the Toy Box appeal or the Lights Of Love Service, please contact Steven at the regional office tel : 028 3839 2509 or email : steven.guy@uk-sands.org