Emma Sheppard


PANDAS Foundation
PANDAS Foundation supports families who are affected with pre (antenatal) and postnatal mental health illnesses in the UK. We also campaign to raise awareness and remove the stigma surrounding mental health illnesses. We provide peer support for families with a helpline open 365 days a year, support groups, email support and online communities to all and much more. Get in touch if you would like to help with fundraising or volunteering.
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Emma Sheppard's fundraising page for PANDAS

Emma Sheppard

My page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/EmmaSheppard

Thank you so much for taking the time to read about my reasons for taking part in this charity event. Please bear with me.

Of those that know me, most will be aware that following the birth of our second son in April 2011, I suffered a silent and invisible illness - postnatal depression. It is a debilatating illness and much more common than many people realise. It is perhaps much worse than many people realise too. It isn't just a case of moping around feeling miserable. Chemical changes in the brain can cause every minute of the day to feel overwhelmingly difficult, exhausting, and pointless. It can cause insomnia, irritability, panic, anger, frustration, and physical symptoms such as headaches and other pains. You can't concentrate. You feel entirely alone. All this and the demands of a new baby 24 hours a day. Plus any other children. Plus housework. And it never ends.

Imagine being in such distress and feel that the only way to stop the pain is to end your life?

This is the situation many thousands of women in the UK face every day. You may or may not remember the names Elizabeth Kinston, Linzi Mannion, Emma Cadywould and Joanne Bingley. They are not here today. Their children lost their mothers, Their husbands lost their wives. They are not the only ones, and they won't be the last. It is horrendous to think about, and easier not to. It could have been me. Even as a former midwife I didn't realise I had postnatal depression, or know what to do about it when I did. I felt ashamed and embarrassed. I came terrifyingly close to just not being able to bear it anymore. Thankfully I got the help I desperately needed. Thankfully my children are able to draw pictures like the one above because I was brought back.

Resources in the NHS are being stretched further and further every day. Mental health care is suffering.

"Mental health charities warn 'NHS cuts put lives at risk'"

This is where charities, entirely dependent on people's generosity, can fill the void the government is leaving and literally be a LIFELINE to those in crisis. 

PANDAS was set up in the summer of 2011, by Rachael and Stuart Dobson, following their own experiences of pre and postnatal illness.

PANDAS stands for:


And post



Advice and


PANDAS offer a telephone helpline 7 days a week, 11 hours a day. They offer email support, and have a HUGE amount of information on their website. They have peer support groups up and down the UK. They have Facebook and Twitter groups. They can support the whole family unit. It is an invaluable service and who knows how many lives they have already saved. How many children have been given their mother back.

This challenge is first and foremost an opportunity for me to raise some funds for this fantastic charity in order to prevent/reduce other people's suffering. Secondly it is a goal for me on a personal level, to push me physically and psychologically in order to remind myself of my own strength and perhaps give me back a little of my confidence and personality lost through this illness.

I know from all the messgaes I have received since starting my website www.cardtherapy.co.uk that so many women have suffered postnatal depression and some in silence, never getting any help at all. My hope is that every pregnant woman is informed about PANDAS at their first antenatal appointment so they and their families will be aware of the signs and symptoms to watch out for and that they can ask for advice and help at the earliest opportunity. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Two points to note before sponsoring me:

  • The cost of my participation in the event will be paid out of the monies raised. (With the exception of the first £200 which is paid by me, and any personal equipment I will need e.g. boots, sleeping bag, miracle to keep me going...)
  • Your sponsorship will be paid for the benefit of the charity and will not be refundable even if the event does not go ahead, I do not take part, or do not complete it.

Virgin Money Giving is a not for profit organisation and will claim gift aid on a charity's behalf where the donor is eligible for this.  

Thank you so much for reading and any amount you can give is hugely appreciated by me and all the other mums, dads, and children out there who desperately need help today. Thank you. Emma xxx

9th February 2015 - 25 days to go and the excitement is building! I have been training hard, in all weathers - much to my husband's amazement. I have blister upon blister, aching feet and a house that is lacking attention (i.e. it's a tip!). However it is all sooo worth it, and I have really enjoyed the long walks around Yorkshire. I am so thrilled at all the support and encouragement I have received along the way and am so very grateful on behalf of PANDAS for every penny that has been donated. Watch this space for Sahara news! Coming soon!

Recent donors

28.04.15 Many thanks to Pool in Wharfedale resident Ethel, who kindly sponsored me after hearing about my trek

13.04.15 What a great sense of achievement..well done Emma.

12.04.15 Well done Emma and for all of you who embarked on the challenge. For all who are in the midst of PND you are not alone

04.04.15 Kindly donated by Carrie Burrows, thank you very much x

27.03.15 Kindly donated by Amy, 'ti, & Jack xxx Many thanks

18.03.15 From Anna my fellow White Rosettes trainee! Many thanks x

14.03.15 Welcome Home ! Emma. Hope the feet held out.

13.03.15 Very best wishes from Warren and Lyn (Marc Burns' parents)

08.03.15 Well done hun! xx

07.03.15 Good luck x

06.03.15 Good luck!

05.03.15 Enjoy! And a worthy cause.


05.03.15 Good luck Emma, we look forward to hearing about your amazing adventure when you get back. Best Wishes. The Keech Clan

05.03.15 good luck Emma, a fantastic cause that I am fully aware of... X

04.03.15 Passionate about this myself! All the best x x x

04.03.15 All the best Emma Love the brankleys x

04.03.15 Good luck lovely, what a fabulous thing you are doing, enjoy your adventure xx

04.03.15 Good luck Emma, when the going gets tough, kick tough ass!

04.03.15 Good luck Emma, I hope you have got your shoes sorted!!!

04.03.15 Thanks for raising awareness as well as funds!

04.03.15 Absolutely fantastic cause and an incredible challenge, Emma. We are all very proud of you. (Even if it is a bit of an extreme method of getting away from Nick for a few days, but that's understandable ;)) Best of Luck, Love from The Jamils Xx

03.03.15 Good luck Emma and enjoy the adventure! S x

02.03.15 Good Luck with the trek x

01.03.15 All the best Emma


Running total

Total raised incl. Gift Aid:
Total donors:
Last donor:
Emma Sheppard on behalf of Ethel
Offline fundraising: