Volunteers With Heart

Sands Queensland is very lucky to have the volunteers we do. Each person brings their own skills and abilities, helping out in different ways to form a fantastic team.

Melissa Zaini

Melissa began volunteering with Sands in 2014 and in that short time has successfully established herself as a new regional contact in the Innisfail area. Melissa not only volunteers as a parent supporter on the 24 hour phone line, but also holds support meetings for Innisfail families.

‘My nomination for Sands Queensland Volunteer goes to Melissa for all her hard work she has put in setting up the Innisfail group and running the support meetings.  She is passionate and loving natured, which is what Sands needs in volunteers.

She was a big part of our Cold Cot fundraiser and Walk to Remember last year. It is so great to work with her.’ ~ Kate Minto, Butterfly Co-ordinator

Melissa and local Member Curtis Pitt at the Cairns Walk to Remember

Melissa and local Member Curtis Pitt at the Cairns walk to Remember


Dani Hall

Dani is an active participant in our online community, offering support to families in the Sands Queensland online support group, taking part in online events and even organising online events to give other parents an opportunity to connect and support one another even over long distances.












Dani’s son Harrison is a great volunteer too, helping Mum participate in online events. All in memory of his big brother Jasper.

For the last two years Dani has organised our Christmas Gift Exchange where parents are paired up and send a gift in memory of their baby to each other.

‘After the first Christmas Gift Exchange in 2013, there was a lot of positive feedback from parents who participated. Some were published in the February 2014 Hourglass. I remember reading one from Natalie about how a butterfly whose colour and type she had never seen before landed on her the day she sent her gift, and how she believed it was a sign from the baby of the parent she sent the gift to. She commented about how it was a very special gift, and this story has always stuck with me.  Through the Christmas Gift Exchange, bereaved parents were thinking about each other’s babies and it is so wonderful that we think of each other and support each other like that. It made me determined to do the gift exchange every year.’ ~ Dani

Dani volunteers in memory of her son Jasper – ‘It is a way for me to support bereaved parents through their unimaginable pain, and makes me feel like I am connected to Jasper at the same time.’


At the Walk to Remember with Harrison and husband Corey, honouring Jasper’s memory.

Thank you Dani for the care and commitment you have made to helping the Sands online community. You make the group more connected and bring meaning to our motto of ‘parents supporting parents’.

Nell Hakfoort

Nell found support at Sands in 2014 after the death of her baby Jasper.   Ever since she came to Sands, Nell has been a volunteering powerhouse attending the monthly volunteer day at Sands House and contributing her amazing graphic design skills. If you’ve seen our Save Sands Gala materials, you’ve seen some of Nell’s work. In late March Nell and her teenage son Oliver also volunteered at a garage sale at Sands House staged by midwives from The Wesley Hospital, helping to make the day a great success.

Nell hard at work in preparation for the very successful garage sale with midwives from The Wesley Hospital

Nell hard at work in preparation for the very successful garage sale with midwives from The Wesley Hospital







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.


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.