Mum raises thousands with 10k a day challenge in aid of hospice that cared for her baby who died at three days old

A mum will be ready to put her feet up this weekend after running a 10k every day of October to raise money for a children's hospice which helped care for one her baby twins who died just three days old.

By Emma Ryan
Saturday, 30th October 2021, 4:45 am

Rebecca Battye, from Castleford, has already raised more than £4,300 in aid of the Martin House Hospice at Boston Spa after it became the ‘first home’ for daughter, Amelia-Grace, who was born with a congenital heart defect.

By the end of Sunday, Mrs Battye will have covered 300km - or almost 186 and a half miles - in a challenge she did at times wonder if she would complete.

But the pavement pounding, sore knees and hips, she says are worth it to help the hospice which created a safe haven for Rebecca, husband Jonny, twins Amelia-Grace and Imogen and their older sister Ella-Rose.

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Amelia-Grace (left) and twin sister Imogen.

The family discovered at the 20 week scan that Amelia-Grace would be born with the heart defect and were given the heart-breaking news by doctors she was unlikely to survive more than a few days.

The babies were delivered by emergency C-section at Leeds General Infirmary on Tuesday January 12 this year. The following day the family had moved into Martin House where staff did all they could to make sure the family were looked after and made some memories.

Mrs Battye, of Castleford, said: "Amelia-Grace and Imogen had heart scans to confirm the diagnosis. There is a one per cent chance they are wrong which we clung on to, but it was obviously not the case.

"At one point we did not even know if we would get to the hospice before we lost her. When we arrived, I went into a place where I did not want to be but we were the only people there. Because of COVID they were only taking emergencies. Ella-Rose thought it was a holiday."

Rebecca Battye doing one of her 300kms for Martin House.

As well as providing caring end-of-life care to Amelia-Grace and ongoing bereavement support to the whole family, the specialist children’s hospice’s in-house music and art therapists helped the Battye’s to create precious keepsakes using Amelia-Grace’s hand and foot prints as well as keeping Ella-Rose entertained.

Two days after arriving at the hospice, Amelia-Grace couldn't fight anymore.

Mrs Battye said: "When we lost her it was snowing outside, but the sun was coming through the bedroom window. We were all sat on the bed together watching the Trolls World Tour film for Ella-Rose. Jonny passed Amelia-Grace to me and she just stopped breathing and fell asleep. She was in no pain and really peaceful. In a situation that we had to deal with, it was a nice way for it to happen."

The family had been aware of Martin House after fundraising in 2008 when Mrs Battye's brother died in an accident, but only got an insight into the exact nature of the work it does when they cared for Amelia-Grace.

Rebecca Battye with eldest daughter Ella-Rose and baby Imogen.

Every year Martin House cares for more than 420 children and their families, as well as around 150 bereaved families, at its hospice, in hospitals and in the community. It is open

every day of the year but costs nearly £9m a year to provide this care, the majority of which comes from voluntary donations and fundraising.

Last year, due to Covid-19 the hospice lost more than £2.2m in planned income.

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Jonny and Rebecca Battye, big sister Ella-Rose and twins Amelia-Grace and Imogen.

She added: "On the first day I was thinking 'what am I doing and why have I done this' but I just got into it and it has gone really quick and I have enjoyed it. I have been mapping routes out in my head when I have been up in the night with Imogen thinking 'where will I go tomorrow'. I must know every path in Castleford.

"I had done the Great North Run before and said 'never again' but I have got my fitness up and would like to keep doing it - but not every day."

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