In Memory of Chloe and Olivia

As many grieving parents know, the journey after our losses is full of milestones such as anniversaries that are painful and emotional to live through. We all have our own ways to cope with these days but many of us have the same thought – we want to honour and remember our babies in a meaningful way.

That was parents Andrea and Jonathon’s thought as well whose precious twin girls Chloe and Olivia died almost a year ago.

Olivia&Chloe

As the first anniversary of their passing approaches, they wanted to do something special to commemorate the day. The idea for a high tea fundraiser was born. ‘We wanted something where people come together socially, can enjoy themselves and we can raise funds for Sands at the same time’, mum Andrea explains. Organising the event has helped her to keep a positive focus and to keep her grief a little at bay as the emotional anniversary approaches. Andrea and Jonathon describe the last year as their hardest ever and are very grateful for the support they received from Sands. ‘They were there, connected me to support groups that I can’t live without and other services’, Andrea says. For the help they received, they would like to give something back with their fundraiser.

ChloeOlivia

The High Tea Fundraiser will take place on Sunday, July 9, at 12pm at the RACV Royal Pines Resort. The event is not to be missed. Besides a scrumptious high tea, there also will be a lucky door prize and a raffle to be won. A lot of small businesses have contributed generously to the raffle and lots of great prizes are up for grabs. If you can’t attend or live interstate but still would like to contribute, you can buy raffle tickets and might be the lucky winner of one of the prizes. To buy tickets, people are encouraged to pay cash where possible to the organizer or to transfer money to account 183991, BSB 812170, account name Michelle Shields. Raffle is $2 each or 3 for $5.

Post written by Sands Queensland volunteer, Karin Holmes

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How to give love and support on International Bereaved Mother’s Day

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May 7th is International Bereaved Mother’s Day.

It is a day for those in the Pregnancy and Infant Loss community to come together to show their support and recognition for those mothering children no longer here with them.

On this day we encourage you to reach out and let a bereaved mother know that you remember their baby and you see their motherhood.

Our volunteers have created and gifted to you a beautiful card that you can down load and print to give to a special Mum on this day as a simple gesture of understanding and love.

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Click on link to download card

One card on A4

Our volunteers have also been creating matching personalised profile pictures via our Facebook page. Images are free to request at this link HERE

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5 posts on how to support a bereaved mother this Sunday

  1. Why We Need Bereaved Mother’s Day, Women’s Weekly

Sands Parent Supporter Anne shares why she believes we need Bereaved Mother’s Day and how you can reach out to a bereaved mother.

2. On Mother’s Day: Remembering Mothers Without Living Children, Anxiety House Brisbane

Tara Schafer shares what loving family and friends can consider doing to help support mothers without living children coping with loss.

3. Dear Non-bereaved Parent, 

A heartfelt letter to a friend explaining the feelings around loss.

4. Mother’s Day Perspective From a Bereaved Father, Still Standing Magazine

Insight from a father on Facing Mother’s Day.

5. Carly Marie, Project Heal, International Bereaved Mother’s Day

Tips on how to how to help a bereaved mother and if you are a bereaved mother, how to survive the day.

Sands Queensland wishes all mothers a gentle and loving Bereaved Mother’s Day and Mother’s Day. Please know you are not alone.

For full Sands support information, please visit our Sands Queensland Website and Facebook page.

Our online support groups are open to all Australian residents who have experienced the loss of a child during pregnancy or shortly after. To request to join, please email events@sandsqld.org.au

2017 Sands Queensland Management Committee

The Sands Queensland Management Committee is comprised of volunteers who dedicate their time and skills to help steer Sands in it’s mission to promote and facilitate quality support and care systems for the parents and families of babies who have died during pregnancy, at birth or soon after.

We welcome and thank the new Committee for 2017 and look forward to a productive year.

Tina Thurtel – President

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Tina and the family at the 2016 Walk to Remember

Our daughter, Willow, was stillborn at full term in October 2015. For the past four years I have been an Educator and Assessor for various Registered Training Organisation’s delivering Youth Work, Counselling, Community Services and Mental Health. Previously, I had fifteen years experience working in non- government charity organisations and Management Committee’s across Qld and NSW. I have a degree in Psychology, a Post Graduate Diploma of Counselling, Diploma of Community Services Coordination, and Cert IV Training and Assessment. I was raised in a small country town in Northern NSW and moved to Brisbane twenty years ago.

 

 

 

 

Nicky Lynch – Secretary

Nicky 1

Nicky Lynch

After a long career in banking and finance I was drawn to a gentler career in the non-profit sector. Voluntary work in several organisations sparked a passion for community work and led me to Sands Queensland in 2005. My passion for grass roots community work developed as Sands struggled to overcome the many obstacles facing volunteer organisations including a lack of funding and the pressure to become more professional or businesslike in their activities. I completed a Bachelor of Human Services and Graduate Certificate in Business (Philanthropy and Not for Profit Studies) which allowed me to better understand the voluntary sector and provide useful skills as the Organisation navigated the changing environment.

As Office Manager until 2015 I was lucky enough to witness Sands’ transition to the leading provider of bereavement services and its never wavering commitment to its mission.

For the past eighteen months I have lived in Abu Dhabi (where my husband
is currently based) and taken the opportunity to travel. Now back in Brisbane,
I have joined the Sands Queensland Management Committee as Secretary and hope to continue my contribution to this wonderful organisation. The stint in the Middle East has once again led me to re-evaluate life with my hope for a less complicated existence. A couple of chickens, a dog and well-tended herb and vegetable gardens are now my focus.

My daughter is a lawyer in Perth and my son works in property development in Brisbane. My husband hopes to be home in early 2017.

Amanda Rohan – Secretary

 

General Committee Members

WTR 2011 Ribbon banner

Fra Left: Marie Deuble

Marie Deuble
For almost 30 years, Marie and her late husband Bob Deuble have supported parents and their families in the Townsville region. Their commitment to Sands Queensland and its mission has been unwavering. Sands Townsville is now recognised by health care professionals and the wider community as a leader in the support of bereaved parents through all stages of pregnancy loss and new born death.

Marie continues to provide invaluable support to Sands Queensland.

 

 

 

Nell Hakfoort

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Nell Hakfoort (right) at the 2016 Sands Luncheon

I received invaluable support from Sands Qld in 2014 when my baby Jasper was born at 16 weeks gestation. Since then I have been involved with the organisation as a volunteer, which has given me many opportunities to honour Jasper in positive and meaningful ways, and to connect with other people who understand and empathise with my experience. I have been inspired by many of the amazing people I have gotten to know through Sands Qld.
Most of my working life so far has been spent as a qualified picture framer and retail business manager, until I re-trained in graphic design. I live in Brisbane with my husband and three sons, and am a full-time mother and occasional graphic designer.
I recently joined the management committee because I believe Sands Qld has a very important role in supporting and advocating for bereaved parents, and I want to help continue that crucial work.

 

Sands Australia Delegate

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Nicole and her daughter at the Sands Queensland Walk to Remember

Nicole Ireland

Having joined Sands Queensland as a member following the death of our son Nicholas 11 years ago, I found the support services incredibly helpful for my family and our broader network. As time passed, I wanted to play a part in making sure that Sands Queensland would be able to provide support to newly bereaved parents across the State – support like we received.

I served on the Committee for four years and was President from September 2013 until the AGM in September 2016. I learnt a lot during that time and feel proud of my contribution in honour of our son. My current role at Sands Queensland is a delegate to Sands Australia.

I have a professional background in journalism, communications, stakeholder engagement and Government relations and have worked in the mining sector for much of my career. I live in Brisbane with my husband and our two young daughters.

 

Each year in September, a new Management Committee is selected from volunteers who are prepared to give of their time. If you are interested in learning more or perhaps becoming a Sands Queensland Committee member, please contact us on (07) 3254 3422 or email statemanager@sandsqld.org.au

 

To read more about the Committee and the positions available visit www.sandsqld.org.au

President’s Report 2015/16

In time, I expect 2015/16 will be recognised as a pivotal year in the history of Sands Queensland. It was a year where we were forced to look hard at our mission and our services and our future. The potential cessation of the long-term Queensland Government funding meant that we had to look at ways to survive and keep the doors open.

As challenging as it was, one thing did shine through – the value of our organisation and the importance members and now, the broader community, place on what we do. As President the long-term struggle to retain the Government funding was often overwhelming but it was the ongoing support of members and their commitment that provided the drive to push on.

Through the Save Sands campaign we were able to position the organisation very strongly for the future. The money raised, along with renewed funding for 3.5 years means Sands is well-placed for the future. Of course there is more we could do – the aspiration to reach more hospital and health professionals all over the State remains a goal, along with building and supporting strong regional volunteer networks – all of which will help bereaved parents and those who will sadly join our ranks in the future.

It has been an enormous year but one which we should all be proud of.

Nicole and volunteers at the 2016 Walk to Remember

Nicole and volunteers at the 2016 Walk to Remember

I want to thank my fellow Committee members for their ongoing contribution; our staff for going above and beyond; and our members for continuing to volunteer, fundraise and support parents. I would particularly like to acknowledge the long-term involvement of Nerissa Healey and Penny ten Brinke who both leave the Committee this year – thank you for all that you have done in so many roles. Don’t be strangers!

In an organisation like Sands Queensland, everyone has a role to play and it is truly about helping one another.

It has been an honour and a privilege to serve as President and I thank the organisation and our members for allowing me to honour our Nicholas and help other bereaved parents.

~ Nicole Ireland, Sands Queensland Committee President 2013-16

For a review of the 2015/16 achievements, the Sands Queensland Annual Report for 2015/16 is available to download HERE

Plans To Remember

Guest post by Sharon Louisson in memory of Isabella Marie, Born sleeping May 2012.

Today, 2 and a half years on I still remember the day we had prepared ourselves for, the day we lay Isabella to rest, next to her Great Grandmother.

We had known at 21 weeks our baby only had a 5% chance of survival, but on the day she died, I was still so unprepared. I had not thought about the funeral plans, until after she died, as I still had hope.

Suddenly, we were home from the hospital, without a baby. We had to start planning a funeral. I remember thinking what if I make a decision I would regret, what if I forgot to do something on the day and felt guilty. Out came a note pad and lots of To Do’s.

The funeral director was too much for me to think about, so my mother in law did that for me. Ringing a friend I knew through work to do our service leaflets ended in sobs, with again my mother in law taking the phone when I could no longer talk. Some things were just too overwhelming and seemed impossible.

I remember going to see the florist, again a friend through work. I had texted another friend to ring the florist and warn her I was coming in. I didn’t want to have to explain why I was there, I just wanted to go, look, choose and go. But I really wanted to do it myself. Choosing the flowers was so important to me. I walked in and got a great big hug, tears flowing, but I was glad she knew already. The relief of not having to explain was what helped me. I organised balloons from the town we were heading to, and gave family members jobs to do that I couldn’t or didn’t feel I could do. I remember telling myself, its ok, you can’t do it all.

Isabella's Flowers

Isabella’s Flowers

Balloon release for Isabella

Balloon release for Isabella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We drove an hour and a half to another town for the funeral. We had decided to bury her next to her Great Grandmother. We lived in another town, but thought, what if one day we move, she will be alone. I felt at peace knowing we could have her there. My grandfather sorted all of that for me. Again, another job I just didn’t feel I could do. How do you ring and ask about a grave site for a child?

At the funeral I felt numb. I don’t even remember feeling like it was real. I stood next to my husband as he read out a poem I had written, I had no emotion. I didn’t know how to feel. Nothing had prepared me for this.

Nothing could have prepared me.

The whole day felt like a blur, like a weird dream. We had lunch together at a Café, and it just felt like a family outing. I remember going back to the cemetery after lunch to say goodbye, and again it just didn’t feel real. We had the funeral, five days after she was born sleeping. I think by the time the funeral day came, I was tired, all cried out and just focusing on this day being over. I just wanted to be at home, cuddled up with my husband and my two and a half year old daughter. I just wanted my bed.

Sharon is currently fundraising to purchase a Cuddle Cot for Mackay hospitals. If you would like to donate and support this worth cause, please visit the link below.

Donate Now

 

Links

Queensland Health and Sands Queensland – What to expect after the stillbirth of your baby brochure

Sands Australia  – Life, Loss, Hope – Surviving the Death of Your Baby booklet

Sands Australia – Caring for your other children booklet

Rockhampton Butterfly fundraises for a Cuddle Cot

After the success of the Cairns Cuddle Cot fundraiser, several parents have approached Sands Queensland to help them fundraise for a cuddle cot at their local hospital.

Marga is the Butterfly Coordinator at Rockhampton, providing the Sands Queensland memory bag to Rockhampton Base and is proudly organising fundraising for the next Cuddle Cot through Sands.

‘Hi my name is Marga and I am the mother of two beautiful children.  I had never heard of Sands until I had the heartbreak of losing my daughter Paige, which was the most amazing yet saddest time of my life. Over the years I have found myself wanting to get involved in something that would help me through my grief and do something my children and family would be proud of but most of all to honour the memory of Paige; so when the opportunity to become a Butterfly Coordinator was made available for Sands Queensland I didn’t give it a second thought.  To be apart of this program that makes such beautiful gifts for bereaved parents has been the best decision I have made.’

Marga Quinlan on her role as Butterfly Coordinator for Sands Queensland

Equipping a hospital with a Cuddle Cot system is about giving bereaved parents a choice on how they spend their time with baby. The system allows the baby to be kept cool, without being taken away from parents and family, so they can spend the time they need with their baby. As any bereaved parent will tell you, more time is what is wanted most. It allows more time for parents to collect memories such as photos, prints, casts, and even introducing baby to family.

If you are a member of Sands Queensland you can join the fundraising team at Every Day Hero by emailing events@sandsqld.com

or if you would like to support this cause and make a tax deductible donation

Donate Now

 

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