February 2017 marks Hugo’s third birthday.
Three years! I can hardly believe it. It feels like no time at all has passed, but like forever, too. So much has happened in between.
Hugo’s third birthday also marks the third anniversary when I could have died. It was, as I understand, a close call: but I survived HELLP syndrome.
Life has its challenges anyway, and living with grief and post-traumatic stress disorder naturally makes life a whole lot more challenging.
But here I am. Thriving, blossoming, illuminating as much as I am able.
And that’s why I am doing the Awesomeness Challenge. I want to honour Hugo’s third birthday, celebrate life, and to ask you to sponsor me to raise funds to help two charities who are very important to me: Tommy’s and First Touch.
Fitness has helped me immeasurably in the past year especially in terms of giving me an outlet for my stress and anger, a way to help manage PTSD symptoms, and it has also increased my self-confidence and self-esteem. Each of the exercises has a significance and symbolism relevant to HELLP syndrome, and to Hugo’s life because the purpose of the challenge is to raise awareness of HELLP syndrome, premature babies, baby loss, the needs of bereaved parents, and life after. That living with grief and PTSD is really tough, but that living is possible.
20 February 2017, at 2pm – it’s Hugo’s third birthday.
Fitness First Bedford.
What will it involve?
- 420 metre run (Hugo weighed just 420 grams, less than a pound, when he was born).
- 24 TRX rows (I was 24 weeks’ pregnant when Hugo was born).
- 600 metres on the ski ergo (my LFTs – liver enzymes – were 600, which is several times higher than normal).
- 14 press ups with leg jacks from a Bosu (to signify the year)
- 20 burpee box jumps (to signify the date)
- 50 second plank (my platelet level was 50. Platelets are what helps the blood to clot, and normal levels start at around 150)
- 1.8 km bike (I lost 1800ml, or just over 3 pints, of blood during the C section)
- 16 sandbell rainbow slams (Hugo was 16 weeks premature)
- 36 kettle bell goblet squats (I spent 36 hours in intensive care after Hugo’s birth)
- 35 mummy sit ups (Hugo lived for 35 days)
- 7 boxing combos (my haemoglobin levels were 7, less than half of the bottom end of the healthy range, when Hugo was born – acute anaemia is a key symptom of HELLP syndrome)
- 2013 m row (my blood pressure was around 200/130 – hypertensive crisis, and at significant risk of stroke)
How can you donate?
Please visit my Team Page on JustGiving. In the ‘team members’ section, you can choose to donate to Tommy’s or to First Touch (or both, if you are feeling generous!) by clicking on the relevant link.
Prefer to donate by text?
Donate to First Touch by sending the code HCDP80 and your amount £x to 70070.
Donate to Tommy’s by sending the code HCDP90 and your amount £x to 70070.
(HCDP is Hugo’s initials: Hugo Christopher Dylan Parker).
What’s my sponsorship target?
My target is £1,000 – £500 for each charity. Please do sponsor me; whatever amount you can give no matter how big or small is valued. All donations will help other families like mine.
Tommy’s provide expert advice and fund pioneering research to prevent stillbirth, miscarriage and premature birth. I was proud to be named Tommy’s Mum’s Voice Award winner in 2016.
Why First Touch?
First Touch is the charity for the neonatal unit at St George’s Hospital, London. It is where Hugo was born, lived, and died. First Touch support sick and premature babies at St George’s, and their families. I am proud to be an ambassador for the charity, in Hugo’s memory.
Irrespective of what charity you choose to donate to, and no matter how large or small your contribution, all monies raised will help other families like mine, so thank you very much.
The challenge is similar to the FitBrit challenge I smashed back in September 2016.
I’ll be sharing my training progress on Instagram (@leighakendall) and on Facebook (Headspace Perspective) – please do pop along and support me!
Huge thanks are due to the team at Fitness First Bedford for supporting me in creating the challenge, and identifying suitable exercises. High five to my PT Matt, who will helping me train – and has volunteered for me to hit him for the boxing combo part of the challenge!