Ross Coniam set up a GoFundMe page in December to raise money for Iolanthe Midwifery Trust and three other charities in memory of his daughter Norah who died just hours after being born in May last year. His aim is to take on nine physical challenges in 2019. This includes taking part in the London Marathon as one of Iolanthe's Golden Bond runners.
Early in April, Ross had already raised over £3,000 of his £6,000 goal, when he went to watch the FA Cup semi-final between his local team Watford and Wolverhampton Wanders at Wembley. TV presenter Jake Humphrey, who has just under a million followers on Twitter, spotted the fundraising appeal on the hoodie Ross was wearing in the crowd and was curious to know more.
Within hours, the total had risen past the goal of £6,000 and the funds continued to increase almost by the minute. Within 3 days, the total had risen to over £30,000 with the story being highlighted in the national press.
Ross said: ‘It’s something magical that happened on Sunday. ‘I think if I was three rows in front or six to the other side I might not have been seen. It’s a minor miracle. It seems surreal how I happened to be in that seat and he was behind me. For him to actually read it and take an interest is unbelievable.’ Ross sad that he was left speechless by the money flowing in from the kindness of random strangers.
"Our baby girl, Norah Faith, was born on 29th May 2018, weighing 8lbs. She was just perfect; the most beautiful little dot we'd had ever laid eyes on, it was love at first sight! Unfortunately our brief moment of ecstasy soon turned into a nightmare as Norah showed no signs of life and didn't breathe for the first 18 minutes of her life. She was whisked off to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit where doctors tried relentlessly to find any sign of hope that Norah would improve. But it was not to be.
After just 9 hours and 56 minutes with us, Norah spread her wings and joined the other angels in the sky. Her last 30 minutes were the most precious of our lives - my wife and I having cuddles with her, with no machines or wires keeping her alive. I will never forget how beautifully calm and peaceful those minutes were, just the 3 of us, even though we knew they would be our first and last with Norah alive in our arms.
In the weeks and months after Norah's death we have been supported by many wonderful friends and family, but also by charities such SANDS, 4Louis, the Iolanthe Midwifery Trust, and Keech Hospice who are doing an amazing job at supporting families dealing with the loss of a child, and also providing research to try and prevent this happening to others. I'm proudly attempting 9 challenges in 2019, in memory of Norah Faith Coniam. I have no doubt Norah will give me the strength to complete each challenge. All money raised over the year will be split between the charities named above.
Any money raised for Iolanthe Midwifery Trust will enable midwives to improve their care for mothers, babies and families through training, research and local maternity service improvements. You can donate to #Nine4Norah at https://www.gofundme.com/f/nine4norah