Baby loss charity founder recognised by special award from the Prime Minister

The Luca Foundation, Sharon Luca-Chatha, CuddleCots

A Coventry woman who has supported more than 8,000 parents following stillbirth through her foundation, has been recognised with a Points of Light Award.

Sharon Luca-Chatha’s award-winning The Luca Foundation funds special refrigerated cots which are designed to act like a refrigerator to keep the body cold. This allows the parents to have precious extra time with their baby and, if they wish to, even take them home with that equipment.

‘The Luca Foundation works closely with the NHS to distribute, and repair ‘CuddleCots’ as well as raising funds to provide research and training to reduce infant mortality, and providing resources and facilities to maternity units, neonatal intensive care units and paediatric wards to support families through child bereavement.

Sharon’s life was turned upside down in June 2012 when she lost her son Luca to stillbirth at 36 weeks. Since then she has gone on to give the ‘gift of time’ to thousands grieving families.

Sharon Luca-Chatha, The Luca Foundation, Points of Light Award

Sharon said: “We are deeply grateful and humbled to receive this recognition for our charitable organisation, which was established in loving memory of our son. As the name ‘Luca’, which means ‘Bringer of Light’, suggests, receiving this award as we approach his 12th heavenly birthday feels quite uplifting, given the challenges of running a nonprofit charity without a salary.”

She added: “With the unwavering support of numerous individuals, we have successfully repaired well over 100 ‘CuddleCots’, thereby providing solace and support to countless bereaved parents who have experienced the profound loss of a child.”

“A CuddleCot will give the families the ‘gift of time’ with their baby that they would not otherwise have. When a baby dies, there is a lot of information to take in, forms to sign, post-mortem to discuss etc. therefore the extra time is very much needed to take in all that has happened and the trauma that comes with that.

“It is instrumental for the mental health of the parents and family, often including young siblings, for the grieving process to start with their baby in their arms.”

Sharon Luca-Chatha, The Luca Foundation, LK Eco Style, Angel Warriors, stillbirth

Sharon Luca-Chatha is one of the latest to be recognised by the Prime Minister for The Points of Light Award which honours outstanding individual volunteers who are making a change in their community.

Congratulating Sharon, the Rt Hon Sir Jeremy Wright, Sharon’s local MP for Kenilworth and Southam, said: “I first came across the work of ‘The Luca Foundation’ last year whilst promoting Small Charities Week and am delighted she is being recognised in this way.

“I hope this award can raise the profile of ‘The Luca Foundation’ and help them to reach more struggling families.”

Sharon is now an accredited CPD practitioner in the field of pregnancy and infant loss and is in the process of bringing her training into primary schools around how to discuss loss with children. She has also written two books on the subject, Angel Warriors and an illustrated children’s book Why Did Grandad Die? which is available in schools across Coventry and Warwickshire.

Through the charity Sharon also directs funds to provide resources, facilities and research to reduce infant mortality and support bereaved parents.

She is driven by her vision to fund enough cuddle cots to service every maternity unit throughout the UK and then turn her attentions to cuddle blankets, for under 18s.

She said: “A parent’s worst nightmare is to lose their child. We were beyond devastated, our world had fallen apart. From the moment Luca died on the Monday inside my womb, to the Thursday when I gave birth to him, everything was in a daze.

“We were not ready for the next blow when he was misplaced for nine hours, the limited time we had with him and knowing we would then never see him again. After holding onto Luca as long as we could – just a few hours – we had to hand him over to be taken to the mortuary. This caused us such trauma. We just cried uncontrollably.

“As I look back I realise that traumatic experience was the defining moment when I decided I wanted every parent to have access to a CuddleCot.

“The growth of The Luca Foundation has completely exceeded my expectations. I’m very proud of that and proud of the fact that, despite getting more than 10 repair requests every month, we’ve been able to fulfil all of them so far.”

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