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End silence surrounding baby deaths’

PUBLISHED: 15:25 18 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:32 12 August 2010

A WOMAN whose baby died at just three weeks old has called for the lifting of the taboo surrounding the discussion of infant death.

A WOMAN whose baby died at just three weeks old has called for the lifting of the taboo surrounding the discussion of infant death.

Shelley O'Halloran's daughter Kezia died when she contracted septicaemia after being born prematurely at 24 weeks.

The 29-year-old said she is shocked by the number of infant deaths in the UK and has now organised a fundraising and remembrance event to raise awareness of a charity which researches baby mortality.

Ms O'Halloran, of Martins Road, Bromley, said: "There seems to be different rights for neo-natal and very young babies compared to older children but their deaths shouldn't be brushed under the carpet. It's a real subject but it's treated as a taboo. It's shocking that every day 17 babies die in the UK.

"When Kezia died, I felt such intense feelings. I was angry, resentful and so alone, even though I had support from friends."

Ms O'Halloran had to decide to switch off Kezia's life support machine in January 2007 after her tiny body was engulfed by septicaemia. She said: "I had to leave her dead at the hospital. Having watched her die I was then just supposed to go home and back to normal life. I was so angry. I couldn't believe the lack of support. It was disgusting."

She was given the card for a charity called SANDs (Stillbirth and neonatal death society) but felt too grief-stricken to call it until a few months later.

She said: "Losing a child is such a negative, depressing, lonely thing, which eats you up. In the first few months it completely attacked me. But then I realised that the only way to get through it is to turn a negative into a positive. I want to help others and make sure Kezia's death hasn't been in vain.

"I now do fundraising for SANDs, who helped me massively when Kezia died. I needed to talk to someone who had been through the same thing. When I did, it gave me a sense of belonging. It was so important to know I wasn't the only one feeling pain.

"There needs to be more research into baby deaths and pressure put on politicians. I want justice for Kezia and parents should make a stand."

Kezia's Summer Starlight takes place this Saturday, with Jo Cameron, from The Apprentice, opening the event at noon. Millwall Football Club players will attend and there will be live bands, a beer tent, bouncy castle, raffles and free arts and crafts. The event runs until 7pm at the field behind Valley Primary School, off Recreation Road, Shortlands. All money raised will go to SANDs.

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