Team Hayley 2015

Guest post by Kara Smith who is participating in this year’s Bridge to Brisbane

In May 2013 our second daughter, Hayley, was stillborn. It felt like our worlds came to a halt and souls were shattered. My husband and I have always been overweight but started making changes when our first daughter was on the way. However, after losing Hayley we sort of rebelled against the universe through junk food and put back on some of the weight we had lost. We decided we couldn’t keep going like that, so for all of our children and our health we again decided to make a change.

Why do the Bridge to Brisbane? Bridge to Brisbane offers many opportunities – a goal, a benchmark to improve on each year, a way to show our girls fitness, but most importantly a way to honour of our darling angel, Hayley and spread the stillbirth and Sands Queensland awareness. We also fundraise through the Everyday Hero page for Sands Queensland in Hayley’s name. Last year we were joined by my in-laws to do the 5km course. This year my husband and I will be doing the 10km course and my in-laws are back to do the 5km course again, for Hayley and other beautiful angels taken too soon. They will be joined by my sister-in-law and cousin-in-law. Who knows who else may join in on this fledgling tradition.

Team Hayley in 2014

Team Hayley in 2014

What are we doing to prepare? My husband has been hitting the gym and is in the best shape of his life. After our girls are tucked into bed I take my dog for a brisk walk, even occasional jog. For safety reasons I do not wear headphones, so I am enjoying my time of quiet as well as the energy boost of endorphins from getting active. I have a lot of random thoughts and conversations, but my mind often also goes to Hayley and I feel her close, especially on those clear beautiful nights where the moon is full and everything is still. I am also planning ways to include Hayley, last year my eldest daughter (and I alternately) carried a pink pony balloon (Hayley’s totem), this year I am looking into shirts and possible a foil helium balloon.


I look forward to walking this year and spending time with my family afterwards. I hope to be able to meet some of you at the course, if you see us please come up and say hello. Walking in honour of our sweet Hayley and proudly making a change.

If you would like to show your support to Kara, please make a donation at her Everyday Hero page HERE

Would you like to join the Sands Queensland crew at this years Bridge to Brisbane on August 30th?

To register, simply go to Bridge to Brisbane  and select ‘team’

For the 5km
Team Name: Team Sands Queensland
Number: 3123

For the 10km team
Team Name: Team Sands Queensland
Number: 22580

You can also join the Sands Queensland Team fundraising at Everyday Hero, just click on this link HERE and request to join the team.

We would love to hear all about you too, so if you would like to share your story, share your photos and inspiration you can join the event on Facebook HERE, email or share on social media using #SaveSands.



Family and Friends: How you can help bereaved parents. – Sands Queensland

Family and Friends support booklet from Sands Australia

How you can help – Volunteering with Sands Queensland


A Perfect Little Angel

It was on the 11.11.11 that I gave birth to my beautiful Ashley Tyler Miles.


She was perfect, so tiny and so quiet, that silence will never leave me. Born sleeping, our little angel now watches over her devastated parents, as we try to continue life without her. Sands Queensland plays an invaluable role in helping bereaved parents learn to live without their precious loved ones and support them in this devastating time….. Please donate to this amazing charity without whom people like me might never learn to live again.

You can support Jennifer and Nick on their walk fro the Bridge to Brisbane at their Everyday Hero page.

Our Beautiful Little Star

Ten months ago our world changed in an instant when we heard the words no expectant parent dream of hearing,

“I’m sorry there is no heartbeat, your baby has died!”

That is what my husband and I heard on the 20th November 2012 when we went to the hospital for a check up at 34 weeks and 6days. We were living in a country town 10 hours from Brisbane and after an agonising drive to Brisbane, 2 days later our beautiful little star Amelia Joan was born at 6:32pm, weighing 5pounds and measuring 50cm long.


She was perfect in every way and, unlike other parents who have no answer to the question all parents ask Why?, we were lucky in the sense that we know the cause of her death. It was an umbilical cord accident, it was around her ankle.

Through the kindness of another mother who left us a card at her grave we discovered Sands Queensland and the fabulous support that they provide, and it is to thank them and to honour or little star who is constantly shining brightly over us that my husband and I walk the Bridge to Brisbane on this my husband’s first Father’s Day!


If you would like to support Erin in the Bridge to Brisbane, you can donate at her Everyday Hero page.

Dex’s Mum

Guest Post by Cassie Kennedy

On the 12th of October 2013 will mark the 1st Birthday of my son Dex Thistleton. Sadly, we will also relive a terrible nightmare that unfolded at that time also.

On Tuesday the 9th of October 2012, I had gone into the hospital for my routine 36+1 week checkup. Dex was very active and his heartbeat and size were healthy.

We went home knowing he would be here soon. His sister had arrived at 35+6 weeks weighing a massive (for gestational age) 6lb4oz. And it was obvious that I was running out of room fast!!!

At home, everything was organised and in its place. I finally finished putting all his stickers on his walls on that Tuesday night. This was the finishing touch to his beautiful room.

We had chosen not to know the sex throughout the pregnancy in order to have a surprise. But everyone was sure we were having a boy!

I woke on Thursday the 11th of October 2012 with the onset of very early labour. I knew this was it! So we took it easy I got my daughter Ramani ready for school and my partner Ryan decided to go for a quick surf (as any parent knows there’s not much me time when a bubba arrives so it was his last surf for a while!). I went off at 8.45am to drop Ramani to school, on my way I felt Dex give a few kicks. After I returned home at about 10am something didn’t feel right. Ryan was calling every 30 minutes to check in on me. When he called at around 10.30 I told him I was concerned because I hadn’t felt Dex move since on the way to school (normally this wouldn’t alarm me, but for some reason I just knew something wasn’t right). Ryan spoke calmly and told me that he was probably just going quiet to get ready for the pending labour. It made sense but I wasn’t completely convinced. So I started to drink icy cold water and lay down to see if I felt anything…. Nothing! So I moved to my sides and poked and probed him to get him to move…. Again Nothing! Then as I lay there my labour signs were slowly easing off until there was nothing….No movement and no labour.

At this stage most people would panic… I didn’t. I carried on with the rest of the day hoping labour would start again and that Dex would wake up and start kicking again. I felt off and a little sick. That evening we had anti-natal classes so we went along they were held next door to the hospital. I mentioned to Ryan that if I hadn’t felt Dex move by the end of the session then I would like to go and get checked. He agreed.

There was no change, so we went off upstairs to see the midwives. They checked me straight away. Within 3 seconds of the Doppler being placed on my stomach I knew. They picked up my heartbeat which gave my partner hope. But my instant reaction was that it was only mine and not the baby. They proceeded to get the portable ultrasound machine, and again when they placed it on my stomach… Nothing, just nothing.

It was confirmed Dex had left us. It was 10pm that night and we were told to go home and get some rest as they were going to induce labour the next day. I didn’t sleep a wink. My life was shattered and I just laid there and held my stomach and cried hysterically for hours.

I couldn’t believe my worst nightmare had come true. I never thought it could happen to me. I’m young (30 then), live a healthy lifestyle, do not drink alcohol, no coffee, no smoking, none of the foods on the do not eat through pregnancy list, you name it – I was a model pregnancy advocate and IT HAPPENED TO ME!

Dex was born at 6.03pm on the 12th October 2012 at a healthy 7lb2oz, big big boy! An autopsy was performed although it did not provide any answers.

Kennedy Family

On the 1st of September 2013 I will be participating in the Bridge to Brisbane – running in honor of my son Dex Thistleton!

I have raised nearly $4000 for Sands Queensland so they can continue to support families who experience the loss of a baby.

I also run the Bridge to Brisbane for STILLBIRTH AWARENESS & RESEARCH. I have now embarked on a lifetime goal to see that more research is done. Awareness and talking out loud about stillbirth is the key to building our knowledge. I was never asked throughout this whole ordeal about anything I experienced through the pregnancy. This should be the midwives & doctors first question. How can stillbirth rates ever be decreased if no questions are being asked?

Dex Kennedy

Cassie is currently listed 8th in the Top Ten Individual Fundraisers on Every Day Hero. A perfect example of her determination to increase awareness of stillbirth, raise funds for Sands Queensland, and help other bereaved parents. If you would like to support Cassie and Sands, you can donate here.

Running for Riley

Guest Post by  Kelly Elliot-Maskiell

We lost our son Riley late last year at almost 41 weeks. We decided very soon after to create a running team for two runs in 2013. I have organised a team for the Bridge to Brisbane and Lee is running The Glasshouse 100 miler (162km). We realise that this is something we want to do every year and build it. Our goal is to encourage people to keep fit and healthy, celebrate personal achievements, raise money for families and research, make stillbirth less taboo and generally GET RILEYED!


We have raised $4281 for Sands Queensland, with 4 and a bit weeks to go. We are currently fourth on the Bridge to Brisbane fundraising team ladder. So far we have 20 runners in the 10km team and 9 in the 5 km team.

We have three runners in the 100 miler and have raised more than $300 for Stillbirth Australia.


We also all team members and support crew in RFR merchandise. So look for us on the B2B run.


If you would like to follow Kelly and Lee’s journey, head over to their blog Riley’s Room

or show your support for the Running for Riley Team at Everyday Hero


I support you, you support me.

At Sands this is what it is all about, parents supporting each other through the thick and thin of grief. My husband and family recently moved to Singapore and when we heard of our Sands family walking in the Bridge to Brisbane we were sad that we would not be able to join in. So we supported our Sands family the way we could by sponsoring them.

To our delight the idea of making butterflies and having them pinned to the walkers was created.


My mother and I sat  together to make little butterflies, we talk about Ruby, we thought about Ruby, we created butterflies that reflected Ruby, that reminded us of Ruby.

We might not be able to walk in the Bridge to Brisbane, our little Ruby will be there breaking the silence, walking with other parents, feeling love and spreading love, supporting parents that support us.



If you would like a butterfly for your baby to join us at the Bridge to Brisbane, please send it to

Bridge to Brisbane Butterflies, c/o Sands Queensland, PO Box 934, New Farm, Qld 4005.

Or you can view the butterflies in our Album

Walking, Because It’s Something I Can Do

Guest Post By Tash Foote

The moment Hugo passed away, at just 2 hours and 25 mins old, I realised that there would be a limited amount of things I could do for him. The things I could do started with bathing my precious baby boy and dressing him, it continued as I cuddled and loved him, it started ending as I prepared his funeral and became even more final as his funeral passed.

While I find fulfilment in tending to his grave and making memory boxes in his name, I am constantly searching for things I can do for my son. I’m sure parents in the baby loss community would be able to understand where I’m coming from- its hard looking for ways to be a good parent to an angel baby. I can’t feed my baby, I can’t rock him to sleep, or even play with him. Those are memories I will never be able to make. What I can do is insure his memory stays alive, that Hugo Michael Foote is never forgotten, and I can walk the steps that he will not take. The Bridge To Brisbane allows me to do both these things.

I am so grateful to be walking in the Sands Queensland Team. Sands have offered me amazing support through the last 16 weeks. I have been supported by other parents on their own grief journey and have made beautiful friends. I am looking forward to walking with other baby loss families and helping break the silence on miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death, as well as raising much needed funds for the ongoing support of bereaved families.

I will be walking with my Husband, My Mum, My Sister In Law and My Nephew. It is a beautiful feeling to be surrounded and supported in our grief journey.

Have you considered walking with us?

If you would like to read more about Tash and Hugo, you can find her at The Hugo Effect blog or The Hugo Effect on Facebook

If you would like to join us at the Bridge to Brisbane or give your support to our competitors, join the event Bridge to Brisbane for Sands Queensland