10/02/2018 08:02 GMT | Updated 10/02/2018 08:02 GMT

Dad Whose Son Was Stillborn Set To Run 2,000 Miles For Charity That Was His Rock

'Carrying his coffin at the funeral was the hardest thing I have ever had to do.'

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A dad who needed support after his son was stillborn, is now undertaking a 2,000 mile run in a bid to raise funds for the charity that gave him vital assistance.

Lewis Keywood, 30, from Brixham, Devon, and his ex-wife Vicki Keywood, 31, were told their son’s heart had stopped beating when Vicki was five months pregnant in 2010.

At the time, Lewis didn’t feel able to share his devastation with those closest to him.

“It’s an unthinkable situation for anyone to have to face, but as a man there’s a fear of talking about it in front of women - it’s their body, they’re the ones who carry the child,” he said 

“But actually both parents suffer and it’s important to talk about that and share stories with others to make you realise that you’re not alone.

“Carrying his coffin at the funeral was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but the support that Tommy’s baby charity gave was invaluable.”

Lewis Keywood
Lewis Keywood

After his son’s funeral, Lewis decided he wanted to do something to pay the charity back for their support and raise awareness about the cause.

He signed up to a 5k sponsored run, adding that he was 17 stone and “so unfit” at the time.

“I used Yolki’s death as a catalyst for making changes - I lost weight for the run and ultimately got hooked on the sport,” he said. “5k runs turned in to 10ks, then half marathons into full marathons. To date I have participated in nearly one hundred races across the UK and raised over £10,000 but I want to do more.”

 

Lewis Keywood
A scan of baby Yolki

Lewis will be taking part in a range of marathons and trial runs throughout 2018 to reach his goal of 2,000 miles, in memory of his son Yolki.

“The pain of pushing your body through a race is nothing in comparison to losing a child, but it is my personal outlet and way to honour my son’s memory,” he explained. “I won’t stop running and raising funds for Tommy’s for as long as my body allows and hope that people will join me in supporting such a fantastic charity.” 

Lewis Keywood
Lewis Keywood and his six-year-old daughter Ruby. 

Jane Brewin, CEO of Tommy’s, added: “When a pregnancy fails or a baby dies, it causes devastation. We believe it is unacceptable that one in four women lose a baby during pregnancy or birth.

“The tireless work done by our supporters, fundraisers and wonderful people like Lewis every day, year after year, to help raise millions of pounds is of vital importance to Tommy’s. It’s not just about the valuable financial contribution, but helping to raise awareness of the work we do to help save babies’ lives.”

Lewis Keywood

So far this year, Lewis has already signed up to run the Hampton Court half marathon, Exeter marathon, London marathon and Race to the Stones challenge, to name but a few of the challenges he is taking on.

He is fundraising for all the races he’s participating in this year on his JustGiving page, where he has already raised nearly £6,000. 

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