A Ramsgate mum-of-five will hurl herself out of a plane at 10,000 ft to raise funds and awareness of baby loss and the need for more support for siblings and wider family.
Mel Bolton will take part in the ‘Leap of Love’ on October 15 in aid of Sands, the stillbirth and neonatal death charity, which supports families affected by baby loss and also funds research for areas including baby death prevention.
The jump is in memory of her daughter Kaycee who sadly died in April 2020, just a few weeks before her 1st birthday.
Mel, 43, has already raised around £2,000 for the charity through a camp out, sponsored squats and a 10k steps challenge.
Now she wants to undertake her biggest fundraiser to date to mark a special year when Kaycee would have started school as a Reception pupil.
Mel said: “When people explain who I am they say I had the baby that died. I do prefer people to be literal and yes, Kaycee did die but she also lived, she affected our lives when she was born and was here as well as when she died.
“Kaycee was the youngest of my five children. She was a typical, dirty little baby who loved the garden, loved being outside, never kept clean clothes, she was the outside one!
“Kaycee was a part of all our lives. She was a ray of sunshine, she brightened everyone’s day with her smile with her two teeth sticking out.
“She was into anything and everything and was very active. Kaycee was just amazing.
“She should have started school this September. Every milestone this year has been difficult. April 5th is her angelversary, April 30th is her birthday, 12th May is when she was cremated and this year is the (school) September and then there is Christmas.
“For me this is quite prominent and so I wanted to do a big jump, We try and do things Kaycee might have done as an adult but won’t do now.”
At an inquest into Kaycee’s death the coroner recorded sudden unknown death syndrome but Mel says she remains convinced it is connected to her little one getting a cell battery stuck in the roof of her mouth which resulted in a hospital trip just a few days before she sadly died.
Mel, who is also mum to Jake, 25, Jess, 22, Bonnie, 16 and Eddy, six, hopes that raising funds for Sands will help other families but says she also really wants to highlight how more support is needed for siblings, grandparents and extended family.
Mel, who has worked in Early Years, pre-schools and specialist colleges for 22 years, said: “I am supporting Sands because no family should suffer the death of a baby. I also want people to see that it doesn’t just affect mum and dad. It affects siblings and grandparents, aunts, uncles, other family.
“That is where there is a lack of funds and support and I would like to do more to see support for siblings. I would love to make a difference, even if it is just someone hearing me and realising siblings support is an area that needs more done.
“Chilton were amazing with Eddy but even they couldn’t find anything to help siblings dealing with a death in the family. That’s why I would like to raise awareness.”
Mel says she is “really excited” to be taking on the tandem skydive. She added: “I’ll be going to Maidstone on October 15 with a minibus of about 20 people and my children who have all been a great support.
“Then I’ll jump out of the plane, hopefully with a handsome Army man, which will be nice! I’ll spend eight minutes ‘flying’ with my angel.”
Mel has raised £320 so far on her justgiving page for the Leap of Love.
Mel will also be marking Baby Loss Awareness Week from October 9-15 with ribbons on a tree by her home on the Nethercourt estate.
The tree was adopted as Kaycee’s memorial when neighbours wanted to leave flowers and items to mark her life.
Mel will also be taking part in the annual Wave of Light on October 15 at 8pm, at the close of Baby Loss Awareness Week.