Marty Matters: Jo & Mark’s Story

In January 2022 Jo and Mark were excited to find out that Jo was pregnant with their second child. The news of Jo’s pregnancy brought immense joy to their family, and with everything proceeding smoothly, they eagerly planned a family getaway to France. A favourite destination for the couple and one they were excited to visit again as a family. Looking forward to their future as a family of four, the holiday was planned to be their last as a three and would give them some-much needed downtime before a busy period of decorating and preparations for their new arrival.

Early into their holiday, their lives would be forever changed…

At 26 weeks pregnant, Jo gave birth to their baby boy Marty. The premature birth brought about a series of complications which left Jo, Mark and their daughter Robyn living in uncertainty during the days following. Tragically, Jo and Mark had to make the heartbreaking choice to remove Marty’s support, and he peacefully passed away with his parents by his side.

We recommend reading Jo’s poignant and candid account in her own words. Her blog, Marty Matters shares the family’s story with unfiltered emotion and gives true insight into their experience, while beautifully paying tribute to Marty. The blog also addresses a number of topics related to bereavement which those in a similar situation might find beneficial.

Upon their return to the UK, the family received support from 2wish and have since become supporters of ours, showing incredible strength in raising awareness and funds to aid us in supporting other families. When asked about her experience with 2wish and why they’ve chosen to support us, Jo expressed the importance of immediate and ongoing support when faced with the loss of a child… “When we got home a bereavement midwife told me about 2wish and someone rang me quickly after I got in touch. 2wish have since supported members of our family. Losing a child takes families through the darkest of times and the support 2wish provides is invaluable – just to know someone is there, whenever you might need them, however long after your loss.”

In a remarkable display of determination, Mark, alongside Jo’s father and three friends embarked on a gruelling 400-mile bike ride across France over six days to raise money in memory of Marty. Starting in the port town they arrived in for their holiday, travelling through the city where Marty was cared for and finishing in the seaside town he was born. The bike ride concluded just days before what would have been Marty’s first birthday, raising nearly £30,000 for three different charities, including 2wish.

The family’s dedication has even extended beyond Mark’s bike ride. In an amazing show of solidarity Jo’s nephew raised £1,075 by growing out and shaving his hair, with the hair being donated to the Little Princess Trust and the money to 2wish.

Recently, the family visited the 2wish office for a cheque presentation and a chance to catch up. Reflecting on their journey, Jo and Mark expressed their desire to channel the funds raised into counselling and support services. Their wish is to assist others in navigating their grief with the same care that they received. Jo’s nephew has also expressed that he would like his funds to be spent on support for siblings and young people.

With Jo’s nephew’s donation, we will be able to offer either 19 play therapy sessions, 23 sessions of young person counselling, or a mixture of the two. While Mark & family’s contribution will fund over 200 counselling sessions!

Thanks to the family’s efforts, many others will receive vital support in the face of unimaginable loss. Through their resilience, determination, Jo, Mark, and their extended family are turning their own tragedy into a beacon of hope for others.

If you have ever been affected by the sudden and traumatic death of a child or young adult aged 25 or under, at any point in your life, you can seek support here. 

If you would like to get involved by supporting 2wish, there are many ways you can help!