Sam and Pete Hawkins win this year's "Courage Award"
We’re proud to sponsor the Courage Award at Tommy’s Baby-friendly Awards to show our support to families across the UK.
Tommy’s Individual awards are very special accolades and awarded to some extraordinary people.
And this award celebrates a couple or individual who has had a difficult road to parenthood but made it through this difficult time in their lives with outstanding courage.
This year’s Courage Award went to Sam and Pete Hawkins from Bedfordshire after being nominated by their friend, Lynne Reed. Watch them collect their award here.
Sam, 39, and Pete, 47, started trying for a baby 21 years ago, soon after marrying in 1991. Despite exploring every avenue, including two years of treatment at a local hospital and two rounds of IVF, they suffered ten miscarriages. They were eventually informed that it was unlikely they would ever have children.
Then in August 2008, Sam fell pregnant naturally. The pregnancy was far from straightforward, requiring a scan every fortnight and at 14 weeks the decision was made to have a cervical stitch.
Their daughter, Jessica was born prematurely at 23 weeks on 29th December 2008, weighing just 1lb 6oz. Born in an ‘en-caul’ (when a baby is born inside the entire amniotic sac), doctors initially told the couple that she had a 5% chance of survival and a 50% chance of having a disability.
A five month hospital stay followed, requiring transfers to three various hospitals including Addenbrookes, Luton and Dunstable and, finally, Bedford. Sam and Pete were able to bring their daughter home on 5th May 2009, without the need for any oxygen or medication.
Despite their heartbreak, they never resorted to self-pity and they remained stalwart in their support of each other throughout. Pete said: “It proves no matter what life throws your way, strength and courage as a partnership can be the recipe to succeed. We had accepted that we could not have a child and yet agreed that it was not the end of the world as we were lucky to have each other, a home and careers – we would make the most of each other and what we have.”
Jessica, now four years of age, will be starting school in the autumn. On receiving the news that he and Sam had won the award, Pete was quick to praise his daughter: “Having this award was a surprise to us, we feel humbled as all we have done is have a baby – it is really Jessica that is the true fighter.”