Your name: Naz Rafiq
Your volunteering Role: Bliss Champion
Why did you start volunteering with Bliss?
In April 2008, I was blessed with a baby boy named Uzair. Unfortunately Uzair was born with (the muscle condition) Congenital Myopathy and three months later, he passed away. In 2010, I was approached by consultant Doctor Oddie from Bradford NICU. He wanted me to get involved in research for infant mortality which was run by Leeds University. I was also asked to speak at conferences and share my experiences worldwide. Shortly after, I became a parent support advisor on the unit so that I could support parents while their babies were in special or palliative care as I knew how they were feeling during this difficult time. All of this eventually led me to Bliss!
What do you enjoy most about your volunteering role?
I enjoy my role as a Bliss Champion because I am able to provide essential support to parents. When I was on the unit with Uzair in 2008, we had no Bliss Champions and now that I am one myself, I believe it makes a big difference to parents and families on the unit. I also enjoy holding our group sessions over a cuppa and cake as well as arranging fundraising events for Bliss like Bake for Bliss or World Prematurity Day.
Thanks to Bliss and my experiences, I feel that I have become a stronger person and I’m not afraid to speak in front of a big audience. In the last six years I have achieved so much and made a big difference within our unit in Bradford.
I feel that parents can speak to me about anything and feel relaxed.
I also enjoy making cards for different occasions and giving gifts to babies and their parents and seeing their faces light up. I feel that small things make a huge difference at difficult times.
Do you have a volunteering highlight?
In October 2014, after being a Bliss Champion for only one year, I was nominated for the Volunteer of the Year award by staff members on the unit. I felt privileged that in such a short time I was recognised by staff members and other organisations for supporting parents and families on the unit and also doing other events like bag packing, fundraising, cake sales etc. I was awarded with a first prize which made me feel more emotional and wanting to do more especially after losing my son Uzair, who I miss each and every day.
I love sharing my story and speaking at conferences, on live TV and for radio interviews. In October 2015 I was even invited to speak at a conference in Toronto, Canada!
Get to know Naz outside of her role…
I am listening to: Mike Posner
My favourite films are: Bollywood Movies
My favourite book is: Paul Hollywood’s British Baking
The three things I would take on a desert island are: Boat, Water, Make up
The fun fact most people don’t know about me: I love baking - a hobby which I take quite seriously, making professional cakes for friends and families. I love to take cupcakes to my workplace on occasions and see their faces because everyone is on a diet …Ha!!!