Sew Beautiful

Post by Georgia Bedford

Butterfly is the new Sands Queensland memory bag for newly bereaved parents. Volunteer Lyndell Price launched Butterfly on the 12th October 2013 at the annual Brisbane Sands Walk to Remember.

Memory boxes are not a new idea, Sands has pushed the envelope and created the new generation of memory box. Liaising closely with hospitals and bereaved parents the new memory box is a bag, which means it can fold flat, this is key with storage at a premium in hospitals. The memory bag has staple items of a blanket, ‘Precious Memories of Our Baby’ book and pen, Certificate of Life, Inkless Print Kit and Sand resources including a ‘Moments’ brochure with suggestion for parents to create memories. Being a bag it is easy for the nurses to add specific items as needed.

Lyndell is busy creating a network of bereaved mums who make and distribute Butterfly to their local hospital. This project enables bereaved mums to actively support the bereaved community, and puts sewing skills to good work.

Sadly the number of miscarriage, stillbirths and neonatal deaths is still too high, and Butterfly is in demand. So to help the Butterfly network, bereaved parents, grandparents, family and friends have been called upon to learn how to create these beautiful bags. The first sewing tutorial was held on the 8th February 2014 at the Uniting Church behind the Sands Brisbane office. Judie, Leonie and Nicky from Sunshine Linus, the ladies who created the pattern for the bag, showed Luana, Sandra, Anna, Kim and her mother-in-law Edna, Georgia and her mother, Colleen, how to create the beautiful Butterfly bags.

Many hands make light work
Many hands make light work

A demonstration on how to cut the material, irons at the ready, and then into the sewing. Matching panels, ironing on wadding, stitching in feet, lining up handles. After a very productive morning, we paused for a bite, cup of tea and a chat, we then returned to the machines for the tricky part … sewing in the zipper. At the end of the day we all ended up with a little tote bag to carry home our sewing supplies and the know-how to create many Butterfly bags for our own community.

Showing the finished bags
Showing off our bags to Kay

Kay McGrath from Channel 7’s Making a Difference joined us on the day, to interview Judy Clarkson, one of Sands founding members, Lyndell, Luana and Kim. Utilising the day to promote Sands Queensland to the broader community and to demonstrate the positive power of grief.

Kim being interviewed by the Channel 7 crew
Kim being interviewed by the Channel 7 crew

A special thank you goes out to Sunshine Linus and the wonderful Judie, Nicky and Leonie, for sharing their skills with us on the day. Sunshine Linus has also made over 40 bags for Sands to distribute to newly bereaved parents. Thank you ladies!

How can you help?

Become a Butterfly Coordinator for your area.

Make it

Request the memory bag pattern and make a sample bag. Once your sample has been approved we can send you material to make memory bags for Sands Queensland.

Check out our patterns and see what you can make.

All donated items can be sent to: PO Box 373, Rural View Qld, 4740.

Buy it

Follow our material guidelines and donate appropriate material.

Donate small white washcloths for the memory bag.
Sponsor a memory bag in memory of your baby at www. sandsqld.org.au

Support it

Follow one of our Butterfly Coordinators to find out what is specifically needed.

Share the project with your crafty friends and family, get together, make a sewing circle, encourage others to help out.
If you would like further information please contact Lyndell at events@sandsqld.com

 

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The Voice of Experience

Guest post by Janelle Tsockallos, Parent Supporter with Sands Queensland

JanelleNVW

 

My name is Janelle.  My husband and I have been Sands members since early 2005 when we experienced the loss or our twins. We were so grateful to Sands for the support and friendship we received in the following years.

In 2008, the state co-ordinator asked if I would attend the Listener’s Training Workshop. I was honoured she felt that I could be helpful to other bereaved parents and the Sands organisation. I have been on the telephone listener’s roster for five years now and I find it to be a very rewarding role. To be able to offer support to bereaved parents is a way of honouring our own babies.

Whilst we are not professional counsellors, volunteer listeners are all bereaved parents who have completed a training workshop. Many people can offer you sympathy after the loss of your baby, but a Sands listener can offer you empathy. Whilst the circumstances of our baby’s loss may be different to yours, there are many common aspects of the grief journey we all travel.

Telephone support is available through the 1300 0 sands (1300 072 637) support line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you feel the need to talk to someone or need support, do not hesitate to call. You are never wasting our time. Every call is important. If a listener is not available when you phone, please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Listeners are not judgemental, we are here to listen and support.

It is a big step for some people to reach out for help and pick up the phone to make that initial call to 1300 0 Sands support line. Many bereaved parents and family members find it such a relief that they can talk to and open up to someone who understands what they are thinking and feeling during one of the most shattering experiences of their lives.

Remember you are not alone. Sands is only a phone call away.

The Power of Sands Queensland Volunteers

 

This year’s theme for National Volunteer Week (NVW) is ‘The Power of Volunteers’. What a great theme for Sands, since Sands is powered by volunteers. Without all our wonderful volunteers we couldn’t reach out through the Queensland community like we do.

To celebrate NVW, we want to show you how each piece of what someone does contributes to a whole. How what each person does matters; how Sands achieves its mission support parents and families who experience the death of their baby before, during or after birth.

In 2013, a number people participated in the Bridge to Brisbane. Some formed teams, some ran as individuals but all made an outstanding effort to raise awareness and funds for Sands Queensland. Through the Every Day Hero page these participants set up donation pages to get their message out and ask for support and support is what they got – $30,000 was raised!

Thanks to these volunteers, Sands was able to hold Parent Support Training in two locations – Cairns and Brisbane. Regional Contact, Parent Supporter and Sands Queensland Committee member, Nerissa Healy, ran the training days, resulting in 4 new parents supporters for the support phone lines, email support and support groups.

Last year 350 support calls, 314 emails and 82 support meetings were held providing essential support services, and a place for bereaved parents to express their grief.

Volunteers power the support services at Sands Queensland. From the fundraisers who raise vital funds, to the long term volunteers who dedicate their time and skills, to the newly recruited volunteers making a commitment to carry on the Sands motto of parents supporting parents.

 

Thank you to all our volunteers!

 

If you would like to share your volunteering story, please use #NVW2014 and #NVWSands or post your comments and photos on our wall at http://www.facebook.com/SandsQld

Cold Cot for Cairns Base

The Sands Queensland team in Cairns has been busy this year fundraising to purchase a cold cot cooling system for the Cairns Base Hospital.

Cuddle Cot System photo from www.parmed.com.au
Cuddle Cot System photo from http://www.parmed.com.au

A cold cot cooling system is a small unit that can be placed inside any bassinette or cot to keep a baby that has died cool. This enables bereaved parents to extend the time they have with their precious baby. Time they can spend creating memories and spending time as a family before they say their final goodbye. This time is a crucial part of the grief process.

The team has been overwhelmed by the response they have had, with just under $2500 dollars raised so far. On Monday May 5th the Maternity ward at Cairns Base Hospital are holding a sausage sizzle fundraiser for International Midwives’ Day with all proceeds generously donated towards the cot.

Dedicated Sands members have set up individual fundraising pages through EveryDay Hero and are participating in events to ensure this purchase becomes a reality.

If you would like to show your support for the purchase of a cold cot

DONATE NOW

 

You can also donate towards the cold cot by supporting individuals from the Cairns Team.

Kate Minto – In memory of Fletcher John                             DONATE NOW

Nerissa Healy – In memory of Milaya                                     DONATE NOW

Rachelle Johnson – In memory of Charlotte and Sharee    DONATE NOW

Melissa Zaini – In memory of Harry                                        DONATE NOW

 

Sands support meetings and events in Cairns can be found   HERE.

 

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

Prepare for the Bridge to Brisbane

The countdown is on for the Bridge to Brisbane here in Queensland. Three weeks to go and I am glad I only signed up for the half distance of 5km!

We have 12 members in Team Sands Queensland, some of us walking, some of us running, some doing the 5km and superstars doing the 10km. There is also the Running for Riley Team, headed by Lee and Kelly, and a list of individuals who have all signed up on behalf of Sands Queensland. It’s is very exciting to see so many getting involved and raising money for Sands.

Leading up to the event we will share some of the stories behind the competitors and their motivation for taking part.  Make sure you stop by and give them encouragement and support.

Lyndell

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