Coming Together to Support Premature Babies in the UK

Sep 3, 2019 12:10 PM ET
Ruth Turner-Blood (left), Lauren Tobin, Good Morning Britain host (center) and Tamsyn Johnston- Hughes, were all smiles after Hallmark created the new cards.

Every year across the U.K., more than 95,000 babies require care within specialist neonatal units. That stunning statistic from Bliss, a U.K.-based charity that aims to give premature and sick babies the best chance of survival and quality of life, combined with an inspiring personal story from Good Morning Britain’s weather presenter Laura Tobin, caused Hallmark Greetings and Bliss to jump at the chance to work together to create a collection of cards with families like Tobin’s in mind.

“Our baby Charlotte was born extremely premature — three months early — and it was a very stressful time,” explained Tobin. “Friends and family want to offer support, but it’s hard to know what to say.”

Well-intended wishes may have resulted in sending traditional cards with a baby on them, or cute images, but that can be upsetting to parents of premature babies as the images remind them of what they may be missing — a healthy baby at home.

“We looked to design a new type of card with input and advice from a group of parents whose babies were born premature or sick and had spent time in neonatal care,” said Ruth Turner-Blood, Hallmark U.K. Writing Studio. “Our aim was to develop a deeper understanding of what these parents had experienced, how they felt at each step of their baby’s journey, and what they really wanted and needed to hear from their friends and family at that time.”

This insight was combined with further research to create a collection of four beautiful cards currently sold on Amazon, plus select Tesco, Morrisons and specialty card and gift shops in the U.K. In addition, nearly 10 percent from the sale of each card goes directly to Bliss to assist their efforts. To date, consumers have helped raise nearly £3,000 or nearly $4,000.

“I thought it was such a lovely idea, tears came to my eyes,” said Tobin when she saw the cards unveiled on air to 700,000 viewers for the first time. “Having special premature baby cards will mean people know they are offering support to the parents at what is a very emotional time.”

“We are absolutely delighted that Hallmark has developed these beautiful cards especially for parents of premature and sick babies,” said Caroline Lee-Davey, chief executive, Bliss. “These tailor-made cards are perfect for many of those situations and help parents feel they are not alone.”

Read more in Hallmark’s 2018 Caring in Action Social Responsibility Report.