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 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 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
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.
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.