Katie: “Your support after a miscarriage helped me return to work feeling stronger”

Katie Grant took on the 2023 London Marathon in aid of us having experienced our support first-hand.

Working in a fire service Control Room brings a unique set of challenges but, as Katie Grant has found, it also brings you and your colleagues closer together, so they become a second family.

And thanks to that close bond, Katie’s colleagues knew when she was struggling at work following a miscarriage – and gave her the push she needed to seek our support.

Katie, 32, who works for Cambridgeshire FRS, went on to run the London Marathon in aid of us in 2023 – three years after she first signed up and it was delayed due to Covid – and says it was a way for her to give back and say thank you for the support she received.

“I knew about The Fire Fighters Charity thanks to my husband. He’s been an on-call firefighter for nearly 10 years with Lincolnshire FRS, then he joined wholetime around three years ago,” Katie says.

“What I hadn’t realised was that I could get support for something that wasn’t directly fire service related.”

Katie, who has a daughter, 8, with her husband Alex, only thought to reach out for our support herself in 2021, shortly after experiencing a heartbreaking miscarriage.

“I remember at work we’d had a lot of flooding, so the shifts were fairly intense, and then I unfortunately got Covid,” she recalls.

“It was between Christmas and New Year, during the national lockdown, and then three days after that, I had the miscarriage.

“I was isolating anyway, and then when I had to go into hospital I was separated from everybody – I couldn’t have anyone there to support me. That was really hard. When I came out, I couldn’t even have my mum with me because I still had Covid. It was a really tough time to be honest.”

Katie had some time in the New Year at home, as she was forced to isolate due to Covid, but she set her sights on returning to work as quickly as she could – as she felt it was the best way for her to cope at the time.

“I thought I’d go back, keep busy, and try to forget about it,” Katie says. “In the night shift, your colleagues are like your second family and, when things are quiet, you chat a lot. It was those 2am chats when my colleagues said to me, maybe four or five weeks in, that I really did need to get some support. They could see I wasn’t coping.

“My husband had seen it as well – and it’s knowing it’s okay to seek help, it’s okay so say you’re struggling.”

Initially, Katie’s husband Alex got in touch with us on her behalf, and our teams then spoke to her directly to assess how we could best support her. It was decided she’d benefit from six weeks of remote telephone counselling.

“I wasn’t in a great place at the time, so having that support meant I could go back to work feeling a lot stronger,” Katie says.

“It was fantastic. Doing it from the comfort of my home was nice, I could shut myself in a room with a big blanket and it all felt a lot easier,” she adds.

“You end up discussing other things, beyond the miscarriage, and it really helps you with issues you didn’t even know you were struggling with.

“At work, you obviously deal with horrendous incidents in the fire service, and it’s helped me cope better at work in stressful situations. I’ve got the techniques in my head of what to do and how to stop anything escalating.

“Alex has actually had a lot of things happening in his family and he’s since reached out to you too. He wasn’t okay last year and some remote counselling really helped him too.”

Katie had initially signed up to do the London Marathon in 2020, before her tragic miscarriage. She had raised £2,000 at the time, with a large chunk of that coming from a charity ball she organised.

“We did it in a local venue in town and everyone was invited to wear black tie,” Katie says. “We invited loads of people from our separate Fire and Rescue Services and held a raffle which became huge. I emailed loads of companies who kindly donated some fantastic prizes.

“I called on different firefighters for their skills, so one was a chef and offered to help for far less than it would normally be, while another was a DJ.

“From that event alone I raised nearly £1,500. I also did a cake sale at my mum’s work and a quiz night, plus donations from friends and family. The local Round Table also donated £100 which was amazing.”

While Katie’s place ended up being deferred to 2023, due to Covid, she still did the marathon virtually that year. She went on to complete the 2023 marathon as planned, adding to her fundraising total throughout,

If you’re struggling with your health and wellbeing, we may be able to help you. Call our Support Line on 0800 389 8820, make an enquiry online or register for My Fire Fighters Charity now and visit the ‘Access Support’ tab at the top of the homepage.