MY MARATHON MISSIONS IN MEMORY OF MIDWIFE PAL; Midwife Amie Wilson was heartbroken when her friend and fellow midwife Louise Salter died suddenly aged 42, leaving behind five children. Amie, aged 30 and from Birmingham, tells ZOE CHAMBERLAIN how supporting charities Louise believed in has helped her to come to terms with her loss.
Y friend Louise died aged 42.
MShe left behind five children - a boy and four girls.
They were aged between 15 and 25 at the time, three years ago.
Her death came as a great shock but her family pulled together and her children's dad moved back in with them.
I worked with Louise at Birmingham Women's Hospital. A group of us made an oath to support her children after she died.
And we've stuck by that promise. As well as supporting the girls I like to be a friend to them.
Being in the same profession Louise and I shared similar morals and outlooks on life.
Before Louise died, she and I became involved with a charity called Ammalife.
It was set up in 2006 to help reduce the number of maternal deaths across the world.
I have been a midwife for about 10 years.
I've just finished a PhD in reducing maternal deaths in developing countries.
I've worked in Africa and Asia and have seen a lot of changes over the past decade.
Here in Birmingham, we've recently launched a new home birth service and a lot of women are really interested in it.
A recent study showed the safest place to have your first baby was either at a midwife run birth centre or a hospital.
But for second births, the study showed the place was at home.
Louise's daughters - Lauren, Hannah, Megan and Jessica - are helping to raise money for Ammalife.
They wanted to get involved because their mum was a midwife.
Also, they have gone into the health care professions themselves.
Lauren and Hannah are 23 and 21 now and are both nurses.
Megan is 19 and looks after disabled adults and Jessica is 18 and doing her A levels.
It means they appreciate the problems women face across the world and the need for health care access.
To start with the charity didn't have many funds apart from those donated by a few well-wishers here and there.
So, in 2009, I decided to run the Birmingham Great Run to raise money and awareness for Ammalife.
I've always been sporty but I was never really into running.
Yet I wanted to get the word about the charity out there.
So I did it. And I went on to complete several more half marathons afterwards - always wearing my T-shirt with the charity's name on.
Then, in 2011, I decided to run the Bath Half for Leukaemia Research.
It was another charity that was close to Louise's heart - because her daughter Jessica experienced this devastating disease as a baby.
Thankfully, she's a fit and healthy now.
I didn't know the family when Jessica was ill but the girls talked to me about it after Louise's death.
They told me about the struggle their mum faced and how she spoke so passionately about the research that had been done into leukaemia and the charity's achievements.
I found the Bath race particularly arduous, especially when I reached mile 11.
I was dressed in a fluorescent tutu and leg warmers, and had "in memory of Lou" written on my luminous yellow top.
Then, among the crowds, I heard an elderly gentleman shout at the top of his voice "go on, keep going, do it for Lou".
Well, the flood gates opened and I had tears running down my face, but I ran the hardest and fastest I could.
I ended up achieving my personal best - one hour 56 minutes.
The finish line was a hurdle of emotions.
I do not know who the gentleman was, but it is support like that that keeps you going.
I felt more emotionally involved with that run than I'd ever felt before.
It was a charity my friend had strongly supported.
She did a lot of fundraising for it herself.
In 2012, I ran the Paris Marathon for Ammalife.
I'm now a trustee at Ammalife and am pleased to say we've just been awarded a PS1.6 million grant to look into infection and miscarriage in developing countries.
I'm running a trial into treatment being offered.
I hope to get 3,500 women on board, some in Africa and some in Pakistan.
My latest run was last Sunday when I ran the Bath Half again.
This time I did it for Ammalife - dressed up as a pregnant woman!
I had a big prosthetic bump and a gown with pregnancy stories from women all over the globe stitched on to it.
In some of the stories the births that have gone well, but there are others where they've gone not so well.
I also had a catheter and a drip. Louise's eldest daughter Lauren has recently had a baby, called Ava.
It was difficult for her having her first child with her mum not being there.
I spent a lot of time with her, supporting her as much as I could.
They're a very strong family unit, a real exemplary package of siblings.
Some of them were doing their exams at the time their mother died.
But they manage to completed their studies and came out really well.
I'm so very proud of them.
ONE MUM DIES IN PREGNANCY EVERY 2 MINUTES EVERY two minutes, a mother dies of pregnancy and childbirth-linked complications.
That's 800 mothers every day - and 99 per cent are from low and middle income countries. For every woman who dies, it is estimated that another 20 mothers are left with serious injury or long term illness. And yet, most of these tragedies are avoidable.
Ammalife works to stem this needless loss through research, expertise, recommendations and projects overseas. To find out more, visit www.ammalife.org TELL US YOUR TALES OF COURAGE Call 0121 234 5269 Email sundaymercury @sundaymercury.
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Amie Wilson at the Bath Half
Louise Salter's daughters, from left, Hannah, Megan with Lauren's baby Ava, Lauren and Jessica