Sands Awareness Month

June is Sands Awareness Month when we can all come together and raise awareness of miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death and the importance of support for those who experience the death of a baby through pregnancy or shortly after.

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Every year in Queensland around 700 families face the heartbreak of stillbirth or neonatal death.  Many thousands more will experience early pregnancy loss. Sands Queensland exists so parents don’t have to navigate this terrible time alone.

This year we are launching our ‘Go purple for Sands’ event to raise the profile of Sands in the community. We need your help to reach out and make sure these families, and the professionals that support them, know about the support Sands offers and know they are not alone.

How you can help raise awareness

Go Purple

Turn Facebook purple by changing you profile picture or banner to our customised graphics.

Download ‘Go Purple’ profile picture HERE

Download ‘Go Purple’ Facebook banner HERE

‘Go Purple’ for a day at you work or school, asking your collegues to do the same. You could collect a gold coin donation or sponsor a Sands Resource Gift.

Promote

Ask your local Doctors office, Women’s Centre, Hospital or other care services if they would display the Sands Services poster or would be interested in Sands Support Brochures. You can download copies at the link below or request copies from our head office.

Download Sands Support Services Poster HERE

Browse Sands Support Brochures HERE

Contact our head office and request a Sands Professional Pack, containing a copy of each brochure.

Sponsor Resources

Help Sands get resources out to the parents who need them now.

Give a Gift of Resources from Sands Queensland.

Sponsor supplies for the SandsQ Butterfly Memory Bag Program.

Volunteer

Pledge your time, services or skills to Sands. There are so many ways you can volunteer, find out more HERE.

Share Your Story

By sharing our stories we let others know they are not alone, we share in their grief and can show them support is there when they need. Sharing your story also shows those who have not experienced this loss what it means to us and how they can be supportive. Your story could be in words, pictures, music, art or other expressions and can tell as little or as much as you feel comfortable with.

Email Sands at events@sandsqld.org.au to have your story shared on the Sands Blog.

Use #SandsQ on social media to have your story shared.

Join With Sands

Do you have your own project, group or activity that supports bereaved parents? Why not connect and work with Sands to extend the consistent and professional support services in your area. Contact our State Manager to discuss how we can work together.

Book an Educational

Sands npw provides Educational Workshops on Caring for Bereaved Parents. These workshops are about meeting the psycho social care needs of parents whose baby has died during pregnancy or in the neonatal period. Participants recieve 3 CDP for complettion. Workshops are held quarterly at Sands House, Brisbane or can scheduled in your local area. Please contact our office for more information.

Download the Workshop Flyer HERE

Sign Up

Become a member of Sands Queensland. Membership shows your support of Sands and gives you subscription to our newsletter ‘Hourglass’.

Keep updated with future events, volunteer opportunities and fundraising by signing up to our Enewsletter.

Follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SandsQld), Instagram (@SandsQueensland) and Twitter (@SandsQ)

Thank you for helping Sands reach out to the community and support bereaved parents.

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!

Volunteer Spotlight – Bev Homel

Bev is another of Sands Queensland’s long time members and volunteers who has contributed an enormous amount of her time and skills, helping to shape Sands into the organisation that it is. Her hard work and dedication to ensuring Sands Queensland is a supportive place for bereaved parents has been her greatest gift to Sands in memory of her daughter Rosalie and son Andrew.

‘I joined Sands in Western Australia shortly after Rosalie died and the support I received there kept me afloat through those first very hard six months.  I strongly believe in the principle of mutual support – we don’t come to Sands as clients in a subordinate role – we are all bereaved parents who support each other.  Therefore it was natural for me to keep involved with Sands so that newly bereaved parents would be helped as I had been helped.’

Attending the Sands Walk to Remember

Attending the Sands Walk to Remember

Parent volunteers supporting one another

Parent volunteers supporting one another

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bev has been involved in many aspects of Sands Queensland and is always a strong advocate for what we do – parents supporting parents.

‘Over the years I took on more management responsibilities, serving as President of Sands Qld for a number of years but I have always maintained a link to direct support because it keeps me in touch with why we exist – to help bereaved parents navigate the journey of grief.  Now I facilitate the monthly evening support meetings in Brisbane.’

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

Handing over the reigns of Committee President to Nicole.

We asked Bev what volunteering for Sands Queensland has given her, and she said, ‘A lot of worry and sleepless nights and deep satisfaction that it’s been worthwhile and has helped other people.’

Sands Queensland can not thank you enough Bev for all you have done.

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Volunteer Spotlight – Marion Grimmett

Marion is one of our long standing Sands members, who has been volunteering with us for about 30 years and fondly refers to herself as ‘the old Sands bag’. Of course she is nothing of the sort. Marion brings her energy and enthusiasm for getting a job done every volunteer day at Sands House and is always a willing listener for new parents and volunteers.

Celebrating Marions birthday at Sands House

Celebrating Marions birthday at Sands House

Marion found support at Sands in the 1980’s, many years after the death of her son John in 1960. Over the years she has been involved in many Sands Queensland support opportunities, events and fundraising.

‘We were finally allowed to grieve and have our son acknowledged after so many years of not being able to mention his existence.’ ~ Marion

On volunteering for Sands Marion said,

‘Age is slowing me down, I use to help one day a week in the office, but I still like to help on Newsletter day, and make little wraps and beanies for the tiny ones. 

I remember the many times of being able to sit with parents and listen and often cry with them. And later hearing how Sands has helped them. It was just natural to help others, if possible, in their grief journey, as we had been helped in ours.’

Marion makes beautiful sets for the Sands Butterfly group

Marion makes beautiful sets for the Sands Butterfly group

Thank you Marion for your years of dedication to helping Sands Queensland continue to support and be there for bereaved parents. Your warmth and compassion is an asset to us.

 

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Volunteer Spotlight – Kate Minto

As part of National Volunteer Week we are going to introduce you to some of our amazing volunteers. Sands Queensland could not operate the way it does without these inspiring people who give their time, energy and heart so enthusiastically.

 

Our first volunteer in the spotlight is Kate Minto.

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Kate Minto (right) and Cairns Regional Contact Nerissa

 

Kate first came to Sands for support in  2012 after the death of her son Fletcher and over time has become an extremely valuable volunteer in Cairns as well as on a state level.

In 2014 Kate became Butterfly Coordinator in Cairns, organising the making and distribution of the Sands Queensland memory bag and bereavement clothing. Her dedication to her role has seen her donate over 30 memory bags and over 100 items of clothing to hospitals locally and further in North Queensland.

Donations ready to go to hospital

Donations ready to go to hospital

 

‘It is my absolute pleasure to nominate Kate Minto as a volunteer who has made a difference at Sands. Kate has made an amazing difference to the work Sands does in supporting families across Queensland, including Cairns.

Kate has worked tirelessly to supply Cairns and surrounding areas hospitals with items for families who are touched by pregnancy and infant loss. She is always the first to put her hand up to volunteer for any event in Cairns and played a crucial role in the fundraising and purchase of the Cuddle Cot and camera for the Cairns Hospital. Just recently Kate organised an event that fundraised over $1000 for Sands and is running the Queensland Online Mother’s Day Handmade Market, the Cairns Bereaved Mother’s Day morning tea and Walk to Remember in Cairns this year. Kate’s approach to all of these activities is done with care and respect for all those she works with.

Kate is also a parent supporter for Sands, online, at support groups and on the 1300 line. She has such compassion, genuineness and warmth about her that people really appreciate.

Kate does all this while juggling three small children and a household. Kate is an amazing volunteer for Sands Queensland.

~ Nerissa, Sands Queensland Committee member and Cairns Regional Contact

When asked why she volunteers for Sands, Kate said

‘I have been thinking about this and for me something I have found at all the events and through talking to people is that what we do really does make a difference and it helps people to feel like they are not alone. So many people feel alone in their grief, & I felt the same way until I found Sands.  It is so wonderful to be given the opportunity to volunteer and give something back whilst helping other families know that there is support.’

Thank you Kate from all of us at Sands Queensland. We truly do appreciate all that you have done and continue to do.

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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.

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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.

 

Make a donation today

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sands Queensland and National Volunteer Week 2015

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Established in 1989, National Volunteer Week is the largest celebration of volunteers and volunteerism in Australia, and provides an opportunity to highlight the role of volunteers in our community and to say thank you.

Volunteering Australia has announced this years’ theme – Give Happy, Live Happy and we want to hear from our members about your volunteering or how a Sands volunteer has made a difference to you. We rely heavily on our amazing volunteers and this would be a wonderful opportunity to give them that extra recognition and word of thanks that they deserve.

 

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Nominate a Sands Queensland volunteer who has made a difference to you.

The volunteer can be a past or present volunteer who has a positive impact on you.

How to nominate: include the volunteers name and details about why you have nominated them.

 

Share your positive volunteering experience with Sands Queensland.

Write and tell us how you volunteered and what it meant to you. Did it help you connect with your family and community? Did it have a positive impact on your grief journey?

If you have a photo to go with your story, please attach as a full size jpeg file.

Nominations and volunteering stories can be sent to events@sandsqld.org.au by April 25th.

 

All volunteers who submit a story and nominees will receive a special award from Sands Queensland during Volunteer Week. Stories and nominations will be shared via our members newsletter ‘Hourglass’ and Sands Queensland Facebook page.

Join us for Volunteer Week May 11th – 17th and celebrate the difference we all make.