THEY have endured the same agony – and now two women whose babies died shortly after birth are raising money for charities which have supported them through their grief.

Leah Mitchell and Becky Hawkins are supporting SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death charity), and GBSS (Group B Strep Support). Leah, 27, from Popley, Basingstoke, lost her daughter Amelia Ivy on December 31 last year when she gave birth at 35 weeks. She found out that her unborn baby had a rare chromosome disorder called Edward’s Syndrome and knew there was no chance she could survive.

She said: “I can’t explain the pain. It’s not something I could ever imagine feeling ever again. I don’t know anything that compares.”

Leah and her 28-year-old husband James had been trying for a baby for four years, and took the brave decision to continue the pregnancy through to the end, rather than have a termination. Leah said: “I felt like I couldn’t take nature into my own hands. I had to let it take its own course. We had tried for her for so many years. I didn’t want to give up and we still wished for a miracle, even though we knew it wasn’t going to happen.”

Becky, a 32-year-old mother-of-three, from Winklebury, Basingstoke, lost her daughter Bethany on April 24, 2010 when she was just two days old. She had Group B Strep – an infection which affects around one in every 1,000 babies born in the UK.

The two friends are now organising fundraising events in aid of the two charities which supported them. Leah said: “I started to struggle and go downhill and I thought ‘what can I do to turn this into something positive?’ “We got together and decided to fundraise, and we set up a page on Facebook which now has 2,000 members, and people have offered lots of help and raffle prizes.

“It is keeping me going. If I didn’t have this, I wouldn’t be coping. I have bad moments and good moments.”

Leah said SANDS had supported her through her darkest moments, adding: “They are on the phone whenever you need them. And I know that GBSS has helped Becky a lot.”

For more information about the fundraising events visit Leah and Becky’s Facebook page, Forget me not charity event, or you can email