Pain from sudden loss of a baby inspires press-up challenge

Leanne Bothwick with her husband Danny and their son Oliver, 7. Picture: Derek Martin
Leanne Bothwick with her husband Danny and their son Oliver, 7. Picture: Derek Martin
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The sudden and tragic death of a baby in his family has spurred a Worthing man into a herculean challenge.

Leanne Bonwick’s son Robert would have turned 16 this August, had he not been painfully taken away by Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) when he was just nine months old.

Leanne's son Robert died when he was just nine months old

Leanne's son Robert died when he was just nine months old

Nearly 300 apparently healthy babies from SIDS – the sudden and unexplained death of a child – every year.

Also known as ‘cot death’, the causes of SIDS are not known, but there are ways to help prevent it.

“I went to pieces, I went off the rails big time,” said Leanne, who was only 19 when her son Robert died in 2002 at just nine months old.

“My parents were worried they were going to lose a daughter and a grandson.”

My parents were worried they were going to lose a daughter and a grandson

Leanne Bonwick

Nearly 16 years on, Leanne is forever grateful for the support she received from the Lullaby Trust, even though the pain is still there.

“Sometimes it still feels like it was yesterday. Especially with having a family now as well,” she added.

Leanne’s husband, 35-year-old lift engineer Danny, said: “SIDS is quite a common problem really, it’s about time we raised awareness.”

Danny, who lives with Leanne and their son Oliver in Somerset Close, is completing a year-long press-up challenge to raise money for the Lullaby Trust, a specialist charity providing counselling for bereaved families and advice to help prevent further cases of SIDS.

On January 1, Danny did one press-up. He adds one more each day, building up to December 31, when he will do 365 press-ups. Over the year this totals nearly 67,000.

“It’s going better than what I expected it to,” Danny said. “I thought I would be struggling a lot more than I am.”

Now doing more than 90 press-ups a day, he has had to push through a few ‘minor injuries’ to keep going.

Danny, originally from Lancing, is also doing a charity day at Hassocks Golf Club on June 22. He will complete 72 holes without stopping, doing ten press ups before each hole and walking the entire course.

Anna Thomas at the Lullaby Trust said: “We are delighted to have support from Danny.

“The funds will go to researching why babies die suddenly and unexpectedly and how to prevent these tragic deaths.”

For more information, including advice about preventing SIDS, visit the Lullaby Trust website.

Want to support Danny? Visit his JustGiving page.