There is Always Hope

Guest post by Alicia, Declan’s Mum

My names Alicia, I’ve been with my childhood sweetheart Mat for just over eight years now and we are to be married in June this year. We were told due to health reasons that I had to try for a baby quiet young as time was against me. In making the decision to have children and knowing the complications I had to give up my job, as I had to be on full bed rest at times.

We experienced five tough years where I suffered severe depression, I was hospitalised, Mat and I separated due to the stress, we had six miscarriages, including the still birth of our son Declan in 2010 Finally in 2015 I gave birth to our beautiful, healthy miracle, Nate on the 20th of February.

Mat and Nate

Mat and gorgeous Nate

It was only after all this did I hear from a friend about Sands Queensland and all that they do. My aim was then to fundraise and make people more aware of this wonderful organisation as I feel if I had been made aware and had the support that is available from Sands, I may have never gone down the terrible depression road that I did. With the help of my local Lions Club (Mirani Sugar Valley Lions), which is a non for profit organisation that assists with the local community fundraising for special causes and help with development and building of local parks, community venues and sporting centres, we fundraised through out the year raising $1000 for our local Sands Mackay organisation.

Alicia presenting Sands Parent Supporter, Julie with the donation.

Alicia presenting Sands Parent Supporter, Julie with the donation.

I feel by sharing our story hopefully people will start to open up and talk more freely about baby loss in general as it still is such a taboo subject and I believe talking is the best medicine and support for one another going through this.

I hope that our story also gives hope to others “That miracles do happen, our son is living proof of this”.

Releasing a butterfly for Declan at the Mackay Walk to Remember 2015

Releasing a butterfly for Declan at the Mackay Walk to Remember 2015

 

Mackay Sands Queensland

Julie Thompson is the Mackay Parent Supporter and has been with Sands for over 10 years. Julie holds support meetings at the Mackay Women’s Centre on the fourth Tuesday of the month for anyone effected by the death of a baby. For more information see SUPPORT MACKAY

Mackay Walk to Remember is held in October as part of International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month. It is a beautiful day held in memory of babies who have died during pregnancy or shortly after. To find when the next Walk will be held please allow us on Facebook at Sands Queensland Walk to Remember

In 2015 Sands fundraised for 2 Cuddle Cots for the Mackay Base and Mater Mackay Hospitals. To read more go to HERE

SandsQ Butterfly donates memory bags and bereavement clothing to Mackay Hospitals. If you would like to become involved or find out more, please email Lyndell at events@sandsqld.org.au or follow us at Facebook SandsQButterfly

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The Gift of Time to Mackay Parents

2015 was a big year for the Sands group in Mackay with the group raising over $7000 to purchase two Cuddle Cots for their local hospitals.

A Cuddle Cot is a special cooling unit that gives bereaved parents the option of spending extra time with their baby. Using the Cuddle Cot means baby can be kept in the room with them, allowing that extra time to make memories. Time to hold and love their baby, time to allow family to visit and time to capture small mementos like photos and feet and hand prints.

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The group held a Hoy and Cent Sale, a Mackay traditional fundraising event, as well as raffles and stalls at various local markets. The response from the community was overwhelmingly positive with many individuals and businesses donating items and money to the cause.

stall

Community Stall

 

Old fashioned Hoy and Cent Sale

Old fashioned Hoy and Cent Sale

The lovely Roz from Arozona donated the proceeds of her market day to Sands, Instagram store owner Yvette Williams from Adam & Yves held an auction and donated the proceeds, Mary Noonan held an Easter Egg Hunt, Annette Boyd from Mackay Base Hospital held a raffle, the QCWA Mackay gave support wherever they could.

 

Easter Egg Hunt and Raffle

Easter Egg Hunt and Raffle

A huge thank you goes to Zonta Mackay who donated $2000, which gave us the last push to get enough funds for the second Cuddle Cot.

Cheque Presentation at Sands Walk to Remember

Cheque Presentation at Sands Walk to Remember

Of course there was also the support from the Sands Mackay families who supported and gave in memory of their babies.

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Charlotte

 

Neveah

IsabellaKalen

 

Chelsea

In August we purchased and delivered the first Cuddle Cot to Mackay Base Hospital. The local TV station, Channel 7 covered two stories about the Cot and our local group fundraising, helping increase awareness of the importance for support for bereaved parents and the role Sands plays in that support. The second cot was delivered to Mater Mackay and received by midwife Michelle Dodds. Both hospitals also received memory bags and bereavement clothing from the SandsQ Butterfly program.

Cuddle Cot donation to Mackay Base

Cuddle Cot donation to Mackay Base

 

Cuddle Cot donation to Mater Mackay

Cuddle Cot donation to Mater Mackay

 

Thank you to all who contributed to making this possible.

 

Further Information

Julie Thompson is a Sands Parent Supporter based in Mackay. Support meetings are held at the Mackay Women’s Centre the 4th Tuesday of each month. For more details go to this link HERE

The Mackay Walk to Remember is held each October as part of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month. To find out when the next walk is visit the Sands Queensland Walk to Remember page HERE

Sign up to the Sands Queensland eNews for the Mackay region HERE

If you would like to fundraise for a Cuddle Cot at your hospital, contact events@sandsqld.org.au to find out how Sands can help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In memory of Charlii

Guest post by Bree Hammond, Charlii’s Mum.

I found out I was pregnant with our second child on December 13th 2011. We couldn’t have been happier – an addition to our little family of myself, my husband Sean, and our Daughter Ellah (9 at the time, now 13).

I had my 18 week scan and the sonographer noticed something not quite right so I was sent back at 22 weeks to have another scan. I was ushered into a room with the head of the hospital…. it was a small town North Queensland hospital. It was there we found out that our baby was unwell and had a severe heart condition.

Eventually I was sent to a Brisbane hospital for scans and after many weeks, it was decided that we would move into Ronald McDonald house at 36 weeks for baby to be born, operated and assisted with the heart condition.

Over the weeks, we travelled fortnightly from home to Brisbane to have scans and relied on a fundraising event, family, friends and unknowns to assist in our travel and accommodation as I had to leave work at 12 weeks due to severe morning sickness.

At 32 weeks, the team of specialists decided that an amniocentesis was required. Once results came through, our baby was diagnosed with a genetic condition that only a handful within Australia are alive with this genetic disorder. The team of specialists decided that they would not operate on our baby’s heart.

We decided to have our baby at our local hospital where we were closer to home, and our family came to stay. We were told that our baby may live a few minutes or a few days… we organised the funeral before our child was even born. It was only days prior that we found out we were having a girl and had clothes handmade for her as she was smaller than other babies.

Bree Hammond

Our baby girl arrived at 2.13am on the 20th of July (our daughter Ellah was also born at 2.13am years prior). We named her Charlii Grae-Emma Indigo…. her heart was beating however she never took a breath and was therefore classified as stillborn.

I will never forget looking at my husband, holding his precious girl who we would never see grow.

Today, three and a half years later, we have our 13 year old daughter Ellah, and a little cheeky 2 and a half year old boy Junior, who both light up our every day and have assisted us in learning to not sweat the small things that occur in life.

I decided to have a fundraiser for Sands who greatly assisted all of us through the loss of Charlii and for months afterwards. Join us in the fun and win whilst raising money for Sands!

 

 

How do you join Bree’s Jamberry Bash for Sands?

Join her VIP group on Facebook HERE or

Order at breehammond.jamberry.com and help raise money for Sands by clicking on the Sands Fundraising party at checkout

SandsJam

 

 

If you would like to fundraise for Sands Queensland, please email events@sadnsqld.org.au

Show your LOVE this Valentine’s Day

It is time again for Valentine’s Day Everyday Hero #IlovebeCAUSE campaign. They are donating $3500 to an organisation and you can help Sands Queensland be the recipient.

 What do you have to do?

Download Sands Queensland I LOVE beCAUSE sign or make your own.

Simply take a photo of yourself showing your heart and post it using the caption to tell us who your favourite charity is and why.

There are three categories to WIN and each winner will receive a $1000 donation to their favourite charity and one of three $100 Coles Group & Myer gift vouchers.

1. Most creative and heartfelt entry
2. Most creative location
3. Most creative way to show your heart

Enter now on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Remember to tag @everydayhero and #ilovebeCAUSE on your PUBLIC profile when entering via Instagram or Twitter.

If you also tag your photo with #SandsQ we will reshare on Instagram (@SandsQueensland) and add to our album on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SandsQld).

Check out last years entries to see how it is done HERE

Thank you!

Trek to Honour Finn

Guest post by Lauren Holden, Finn’s Mum

My husband, Paul, and I were so thrilled to be expecting our first baby. We were both in our forties and excited about introducing our child to all the wonderful people, places and creatures in the world. The nursery was ready and we had spent months choosing the absolute best for our baby.

And then the world came crashing down. And life shifted. We said hello to our beautiful boy and then goodbye. All of our hopes and dreams for our future with him were gone.

In the bleakness of the days, weeks and months that followed, when everyone else’s lives went back to “normal”, we reached out to Sands. The midwives had given us information about Sands, and desperate to talk with others who knew what we were going through, we gave them a call. I had many conversations with Rachel who had lost her first baby in similar circumstances and just talking with someone who could understand exactly how I was feeling was so hugely important. I can’t put a price on the value of that. Paul and I have also attended some of the Walk to Remember days in Brisbane and again felt that comfort of understanding and not being alone. Saying Finn’s name at the Walk days also means a lot to us – we don’t get to say his name nearly enough.

Inspired by Turia Pitt, we have decided to fundraise for Sands, in honour of Finn, by trekking the Great Wall of China. We’ve set ourselves a minimum target of $5000 (and hopefully a lot more!). Our nephew, Ben, and good friend, Kate, are joining us on the trek and raising funds. We were so honoured when they told us they were going to join us. It’s such a significant acknowledgement of Finn’s life and makes us so proud.

L-R, Ben, Paul and Lauren Holden, Kate Lipke.

L-R, Ben, Paul and Lauren Holden, Kate Lipke.

Our trek starts on 24 October on the Great Wall, camping near villages along the way, and on the last day of the trek, 29 October – Finn’s 4th birthday – we summit Bejing Tower. We think that’s a pretty cool way to celebrate our little man’s birthday. Just the sort of thing we would have encouraged him to do.

 

You can support and donate to Trek to Honour Finn at Everyday Hero HERE

 

 

 

Links

Sands Queensland Walk to Remember October 2015

How to I get involved with Sands Queensland?

Sands Queensland support resources

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.

KaraSmith2

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 events@sandsqld.org.au or share on social media using #SaveSands.

 

Links

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

Save Sands

2015 is the year we have to Save Sands as our current grant funding will end in December.

More than ever, Sands Queensland needs help to provide essential support for parents who face the tragic death of their baby during pregnancy, at birth or in the neonatal period. Around 700 families face the heartbreak of stillbirth and neonatal death every year thousands more have to deal with miscarriage and early pregnancy loss.

Sands - A little life not a little loss

Sands support service include; phone, email, online and face to face support for bereaved families, along with support and education for professionals.

 

Post by Nicole Ireland, Sands Queensland Committee President

There is nothing in the world that can prepare you for the heartbreak and the sheer devastation – particularly the agony of leaving the hospital without your much loved and longed for baby. Nine years on I remember walking out of that hospital so vividly that I still struggle to go back there today.

 Worse still, what do you do when you get home to the nursery that is all set up and waiting for your new baby – a nursery that you have loving put together and now may never get to use. Instead of agonising over the best pram to buy, it’s trying to figure out how to go on.

 More than feeling like something is missing, you feel like something has been ripped out of you and nine years later the feeling is still there – not every day but still there in the quiet moments and on every family and special occasion. When you meet new people who ask you how many children you have and when you have to explain to your other children why Mummy sometimes gets really sad.

 Family and friends do everything they can to help and we have had amazing support – much of it overwhelming. But sometimes you need more than that.

 At the beginning and for the past nine years, I have relied on Sands as a place to belong, a place where it’s okay to talk about my son and how I feel, a place where I can help others and, now, a place to give back.

Nicole took on the role of Committee President in 2013, here with outgoing president Bev Homel

Nicole took on the role of Committee President in 2013, here with outgoing president Bev Homel

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Nicole and Sands Queensland founding member Judy Clarkson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sands is all about parents helping parents and is an amazing group of parents and families who share the one thing they would love not to share and that is that their baby has died. It’s a club that no-one wants to join.

 It is also so, so very important to help parents through the grieving process and to make sure they know there is someone who understands. I despair to think what might happen if people don’t have this special place.

 Sands maintains an office and a small part-time staff to facilitate support, educational and memorial services across Queensland and to work with allied health professionals and other support services who help parents at the worst times of their lives.

Nicole and State Manager Kate Cowmeadow (right) and parent volunteer Erin (left) at the Sands Walk to Remember

Nicole and State Manager Kate Cowmeadow (right) and parent volunteer Erin (left) at the Sands Walk to Remember

 It is, of course, my greatest wish that no more babies will die and that Sands won’t need to exist but that is just a fantasy. In the meantime, each year in Queensland approximately 1000 parents are affected by stillbirth and neonatal death and a further 20,000 parents experience the impact of early pregnancy loss.

 After many years of continued support, the Queensland Government offered Sands funding at its current level (approximately $80,000 per year) until December 2015 after which time funding will cease.

 That means, this essential service is at risk of shutting down because the core funding will cease at the end of this year. We have a plan in place to look at other ways to survive but this will take time to deliver. For this reason we are working as hard as we can to “Save Sands”.

 I don’t want other parents to find themselves lost and alone in dealing with the death of their baby and I know that Sands is the only group that continue to provide support and help for parents, families, the community and all of those people who engage with bereaved parents in their darkest days.

Our son forever changed our lives and I hope that in his memory I can help to Save Sands.

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Nicole and her daughters releasing a butterfly in memory of Nicholas at the Sands Walk to Remember

 

 

On June 19th, 2015, Nicole will be hosting a #SaveSands Gala in Brisbane we would love for you to attend. All information can be found HERE. It will be a wonderful night with Rebecca Sparrow as guest MC, entertainment by Pheonix, silent auction and an amazing special raffle where one lucky guest will take home a beautiful piece of jewellery from Canturi.

For those not in the Brisbane are who would like to find out how they can help to #SaveSands, please contact our head office or follow Sands on Facebook for more information.

 

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