Mum’s poignant run in memory of baby Isaac

Emma Dougal, from Melton Constable is doing a half marathon in memory of her son Issac and in aid o

Emma Dougal, from Melton Constable is doing a half marathon in memory of her son Issac and in aid of the Sick Children Trust. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

It is every expectant parent’s nightmare to be told to prepare for the worst, but now one woman is trying to turn her terrible experience into something positive.

Isaac Sillis was born 14 weeks prematurely.

Isaac Sillis was born 14 weeks prematurely. - Credit: Submitted

Emma Dougal’s son Isaac Sillis was born 14 weeks premature 12 days before Christmas in 2012.

He died 36 days later after it became clear that doctors at the Rosie Hospital in Cambridgeshire could do no more.

Now his mother is set to run a half- marathon in his memory and to help raise money for the charity which helped them to be a family for his short life. Miss Dougal, 28, who lives near Fakenham, said: “The doctors told us to prepare for the worst while I was in labour, which is obviously very difficult to hear. It was tough but never in my imagination did I think it would end the way it did.

“Obviously we are glad that he made it for the five weeks he did.”

During those five weeks Isaac was in an incubator at the hospital and naturally his family wanted to be nearby.

The Sick Child Trust was able to put Miss Dougal, her fiancée Lloyd Sillis, 28, and daughter Rori-Taylor, three, up in rooms at the hospital.

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“I had never heard of them before,” said Miss Dougal, “They did everything for us. They could be there for you to cry to or to have a chat and a cup of tea.

“They helped keep us from going mad. If it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have been able to have that time as a family for those five weeks.”

Mr Sillis, a plasterer, ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon last year in aid of the charity and at the finish line Miss Dougal swore she would do the same.

After Isaac’s death the struggle was just beginning with even a trip to the shops requiring a lot of courage.

Miss Dougal said: “It was very difficult at first.

“I remember there was a point where I thought ‘hang on Isaac wouldn’t want to look down and see you like this, he would want you to make him proud’.”

“If it wasn’t for Rori I don’t think I could have got out of bed but you have to manage don’t you?

“It was difficult for her because she didn’t understand why Isaac couldn’t come home.

“If you ask her now she will say that she does have a brother and that he is in the stars.”

The family has managed to stay in contact with friends they made while living at the hospital and are hoping to take as many positives forward as they can.

Miss Dougal, who lives with her family in Burgh Beck Road, Melton Constable, keeps a box of memories of Isaac along with the photographs taken while he was in hospital to help his older sister to remember him.

She said: “All the nurses knew him as the wild child. It made a lot of us giggle at the funeral. He was definitely a fighter.

“You can imagine him in the incubator kicking his legs and waving his arms.

“Now we try and look back on the funny times and be positive.

“There was a time when, at stupid o’clock in the morning, Lloyd and I sat as his bedside, while he was in the incubator, and sang Bohemian Rhapsody to him, laughing all the way through.”

The Royal Parks Half Marathon takes place on October 12 in London. Miss Dougal has already raised a significant amount towards her target of £350 but she is hoping to raise even more to support the charity that supported her when she needed it.

Miss Dougal said: “If I could stop another family going through this I would but I can’t so I want people to be able to get the help I received.

“Doing the run is a way of keeping Isaac with me.

“When I go training sometimes I run past the church where he is and think of him and it pushes me on.”

To donate to Miss Dougal’s fund-raising effort visit

Are you doing something special for charity? Write to Doug Faulkner at