This was no ordinary Saturday morning.
Eddie Jones took a break from preparations for the Rugby World Cup to join me for a very special training session with you at England Rugby’s training ground, Pennyhill Park.
And what a cracking session it was, lads. Rhino tells me that you all had a brilliant time. I do hope you enjoyed this extraordinary Saturday, and it inspires you to play for Barnes’ First XV – perhaps your country! – one day.
Rhino mentioned that some of you very kindly wanted to know more about Borne, and maybe join me in supporting their work. I thought I would share with you Caro and my story.
A huge thank you to Rhino and Nick Beighton for making this day possible through your generous support of my baby charity, Borne.
Our first child, Freddie, was born at 22 weeks and lived for only 45 minutes. There was no medical explanation at the time for what happened to Freddie. To be told “it was just bad luck” and “there is nothing that we can do” is simply not acceptable.
There is so much yet to learn about why babies like Freddie are born too soon. We must focus on research to find answers to the problems that can accompany childbirth and that causes so much heartache for families.
We are blessed with three more children today but all of Caro’s pregnancies were complicated. We were helped by a gifted obstetrician who has dedicated his life to understanding pregnancy and improving pregnancy outcomes for future generations of parents and children. Professor Mark Johnson founded Borne in 2013, a charity dedicated to bringing the best clinicians and scientists together to find the answers that we need to reduce the risk of preterm birth.
Life should be a game for all, but 60,000 children are born too soon in the UK each year, and never reach their full potential.
Prematurity destroys the joy of parenthood, turning it into fear and anxiety about the future. It increases the risk of lifelong physical and mental disabilities, including cerebral palsy and autism, which comes at a huge social and economic cost to our community.
Yet 85% of women who deliver preterm have no idea that they are at risk. And 45-50% of preterm deliveries are unexplained. We have no way of predicting who will be affected and we have had no new interventions in 50 years to prevent it from happening.
A rugby player is supported by the rugby community to participate, play and achieve for the full 9 months of a rugby season. Babies need the same support from the medical and scientific community to thrive and survive the full 9 months in the womb.
Borne is working very hard to change clinical practice and take new discoveries from bench to bedside. As a father, I would walk to the ends of the earth to give my children – and future fathers and children – the full and healthy life they deserve. We did in 2018 – watch the videos here.
If you would like, join Caro and me in helping change the game for future generations of children who would otherwise be born too soon. There is something we can do. Together.