Apprentice finalist Charleine Wain has spoken out about losing her son to cot death at just three months old.
Charleine, 31, gave birth to twin boys Ethan and Caylan in 2007, whilst she was still working in the Navy. The boys were premature but healthy, until Caylan suddenly passed away – a time which the now-hairdresser says was the toughest of her life.
‘If I didn’t have my husband Scott, I think I would have cracked. I was so low and so rock bottom,’ she says. ‘It was a really hard place to be in. It was really difficult.’
She adds that the decision to change her career was prompted by the tragedy, as she no longer wanted to spend long periods of time away from her children.
‘If I could have continued to do the job without going to sea then maybe things would have been different, but there was not a chance I would leave the children,’ she explains.
‘I knew I needed to focus on a new career path. I decided I wanted my own salon. For the first year I would work with the Navy Monday to Friday and then sneak off in my trainers to wash someone’s hair.’
Image: Just Giving/Charlene Wain
Charlene’s son Caylan, who passed away from cot death
‘I see my hairdressing and hair salon as a representation of something so good coming off something so tragic and so bad. I just want to make it as successful as I can.’
‘I always knew I wanted to do as well as I possibly could because amazing things can come as a result of terrible situations.’
Cot death, also known as sudden infant death syndrome, affects just under 300 babies in the UK every year. The deaths are sudden, unexpected and unexplained, and mostly occur within the first six months of a child’s life. Sadly, the exact cause of cot death is unknown.
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Charleine pictured with her family in November 2015
Charleine, who is also mum to daughter Maia and stepson Matthew, now raises money for the neonatal unit that took care of her sons when they were born in Caylan’s memory.
‘The Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit at Derriford helped look after our premature twins, the ward is incredible and the staff work extremely hard there to care for our babies and give them the fighting chance they deserve,’ she writes on her fundraising page. This year, her crowdfunded campaign raised more than £1000.
She also keeps a piece of jewellery close to her heart, so that Caylan is always with her.
She told the Plymouth Herald, ‘My dragonfly necklace is the way that I carry my little boy around with me.’