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.

There is Always Hope

Guest post by Alicia, Declan’s Mum

My names Alicia, I’ve been with my childhood sweetheart Mat for just over eight years now and we are to be married in June this year. We were told due to health reasons that I had to try for a baby quiet young as time was against me. In making the decision to have children and knowing the complications I had to give up my job, as I had to be on full bed rest at times.

We experienced five tough years where I suffered severe depression, I was hospitalised, Mat and I separated due to the stress, we had six miscarriages, including the still birth of our son Declan in 2010 Finally in 2015 I gave birth to our beautiful, healthy miracle, Nate on the 20th of February.

Mat and Nate

Mat and gorgeous Nate

It was only after all this did I hear from a friend about Sands Queensland and all that they do. My aim was then to fundraise and make people more aware of this wonderful organisation as I feel if I had been made aware and had the support that is available from Sands, I may have never gone down the terrible depression road that I did. With the help of my local Lions Club (Mirani Sugar Valley Lions), which is a non for profit organisation that assists with the local community fundraising for special causes and help with development and building of local parks, community venues and sporting centres, we fundraised through out the year raising $1000 for our local Sands Mackay organisation.

Alicia presenting Sands Parent Supporter, Julie with the donation.

Alicia presenting Sands Parent Supporter, Julie with the donation.

I feel by sharing our story hopefully people will start to open up and talk more freely about baby loss in general as it still is such a taboo subject and I believe talking is the best medicine and support for one another going through this.

I hope that our story also gives hope to others “That miracles do happen, our son is living proof of this”.

Releasing a butterfly for Declan at the Mackay Walk to Remember 2015

Releasing a butterfly for Declan at the Mackay Walk to Remember 2015

 

Mackay Sands Queensland

Julie Thompson is the Mackay Parent Supporter and has been with Sands for over 10 years. Julie holds support meetings at the Mackay Women’s Centre on the fourth Tuesday of the month for anyone effected by the death of a baby. For more information see SUPPORT MACKAY

Mackay Walk to Remember is held in October as part of International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month. It is a beautiful day held in memory of babies who have died during pregnancy or shortly after. To find when the next Walk will be held please allow us on Facebook at Sands Queensland Walk to Remember

In 2015 Sands fundraised for 2 Cuddle Cots for the Mackay Base and Mater Mackay Hospitals. To read more go to HERE

SandsQ Butterfly donates memory bags and bereavement clothing to Mackay Hospitals. If you would like to become involved or find out more, please email Lyndell at events@sandsqld.org.au or follow us at Facebook SandsQButterfly

The Gift of Time to Mackay Parents

2015 was a big year for the Sands group in Mackay with the group raising over $7000 to purchase two Cuddle Cots for their local hospitals.

A Cuddle Cot is a special cooling unit that gives bereaved parents the option of spending extra time with their baby. Using the Cuddle Cot means baby can be kept in the room with them, allowing that extra time to make memories. Time to hold and love their baby, time to allow family to visit and time to capture small mementos like photos and feet and hand prints.

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The group held a Hoy and Cent Sale, a Mackay traditional fundraising event, as well as raffles and stalls at various local markets. The response from the community was overwhelmingly positive with many individuals and businesses donating items and money to the cause.

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Community Stall

 

Old fashioned Hoy and Cent Sale

Old fashioned Hoy and Cent Sale

The lovely Roz from Arozona donated the proceeds of her market day to Sands, Instagram store owner Yvette Williams from Adam & Yves held an auction and donated the proceeds, Mary Noonan held an Easter Egg Hunt, Annette Boyd from Mackay Base Hospital held a raffle, the QCWA Mackay gave support wherever they could.

 

Easter Egg Hunt and Raffle

Easter Egg Hunt and Raffle

A huge thank you goes to Zonta Mackay who donated $2000, which gave us the last push to get enough funds for the second Cuddle Cot.

Cheque Presentation at Sands Walk to Remember

Cheque Presentation at Sands Walk to Remember

Of course there was also the support from the Sands Mackay families who supported and gave in memory of their babies.

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Charlotte

 

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In August we purchased and delivered the first Cuddle Cot to Mackay Base Hospital. The local TV station, Channel 7 covered two stories about the Cot and our local group fundraising, helping increase awareness of the importance for support for bereaved parents and the role Sands plays in that support. The second cot was delivered to Mater Mackay and received by midwife Michelle Dodds. Both hospitals also received memory bags and bereavement clothing from the SandsQ Butterfly program.

Cuddle Cot donation to Mackay Base

Cuddle Cot donation to Mackay Base

 

Cuddle Cot donation to Mater Mackay

Cuddle Cot donation to Mater Mackay

 

Thank you to all who contributed to making this possible.

 

Further Information

Julie Thompson is a Sands Parent Supporter based in Mackay. Support meetings are held at the Mackay Women’s Centre the 4th Tuesday of each month. For more details go to this link HERE

The Mackay Walk to Remember is held each October as part of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month. To find out when the next walk is visit the Sands Queensland Walk to Remember page HERE

Sign up to the Sands Queensland eNews for the Mackay region HERE

If you would like to fundraise for a Cuddle Cot at your hospital, contact events@sandsqld.org.au to find out how Sands can help.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In memory of Charlii

Guest post by Bree Hammond, Charlii’s Mum.

I found out I was pregnant with our second child on December 13th 2011. We couldn’t have been happier – an addition to our little family of myself, my husband Sean, and our Daughter Ellah (9 at the time, now 13).

I had my 18 week scan and the sonographer noticed something not quite right so I was sent back at 22 weeks to have another scan. I was ushered into a room with the head of the hospital…. it was a small town North Queensland hospital. It was there we found out that our baby was unwell and had a severe heart condition.

Eventually I was sent to a Brisbane hospital for scans and after many weeks, it was decided that we would move into Ronald McDonald house at 36 weeks for baby to be born, operated and assisted with the heart condition.

Over the weeks, we travelled fortnightly from home to Brisbane to have scans and relied on a fundraising event, family, friends and unknowns to assist in our travel and accommodation as I had to leave work at 12 weeks due to severe morning sickness.

At 32 weeks, the team of specialists decided that an amniocentesis was required. Once results came through, our baby was diagnosed with a genetic condition that only a handful within Australia are alive with this genetic disorder. The team of specialists decided that they would not operate on our baby’s heart.

We decided to have our baby at our local hospital where we were closer to home, and our family came to stay. We were told that our baby may live a few minutes or a few days… we organised the funeral before our child was even born. It was only days prior that we found out we were having a girl and had clothes handmade for her as she was smaller than other babies.

Bree Hammond

Our baby girl arrived at 2.13am on the 20th of July (our daughter Ellah was also born at 2.13am years prior). We named her Charlii Grae-Emma Indigo…. her heart was beating however she never took a breath and was therefore classified as stillborn.

I will never forget looking at my husband, holding his precious girl who we would never see grow.

Today, three and a half years later, we have our 13 year old daughter Ellah, and a little cheeky 2 and a half year old boy Junior, who both light up our every day and have assisted us in learning to not sweat the small things that occur in life.

I decided to have a fundraiser for Sands who greatly assisted all of us through the loss of Charlii and for months afterwards. Join us in the fun and win whilst raising money for Sands!

 

 

How do you join Bree’s Jamberry Bash for Sands?

Join her VIP group on Facebook HERE or

Order at breehammond.jamberry.com and help raise money for Sands by clicking on the Sands Fundraising party at checkout

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If you would like to fundraise for Sands Queensland, please email events@sadnsqld.org.au

SandsQ Butterfly Drive 2016

Welcome to the 2016 SandsQ Butterfly Charity Drive, the first in what we hope will be an annual event to get a jump start on the year and provide Queensland hospitals with memory bags and bereavement clothing.

SandsQ Butterfly began in 2013 and with the help many we made our first bags to be sent out to hospitals. As we spoke more with hospitals we found there was a need for clothing for the tiniest of babies and so began making bereavement clothing for babies between 12 weeks and 30 weeks gestation. Our aim is to provide appropriate, gentle and warm clothes to softly wrap these delicate babies in and give them respect and dignity of items made especially for them.

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The feedback we have received is that parents are always so incredibly touched that someone handmade something just for their baby. At a time when parents feel most alone, these items let them know they are not and someone is thinking of them. Hospitals are also appreciative of the quality and appropriateness of the clothing and the professional way it is donated, making it easier for midwives to access when needed.

Thanks to the many crafters we have met who are making bereavement clothing for the program, we have donated over 300 pieces to hospitals in Queensland in 2015. We have now started an online group for our crafters to chat, share patterns and connect as we come from all corners of Queensland.

This year also brings a few changes to the SandsQ Butterfly thanks to the generosity of supporters and volunteers in our community.

We have new bag design, thanks to Josepha from Nokobelle, that is easy to make and still has that lovely handmade quality. The memory bags are made to specific guidelines and we are looking for experienced seamstresses to help us reach our target of 300 memory bags in 2016.

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Talented Artist, Esther Anghart, gave us special permission to use her artwork, with which a beautiful Special Memories Book, and matching Certificate of Life and Print Certificate (ink less print kit) was designed by our volunteer Lyndell and with the guidance of the Virtually Done Team at Volunteering Queensland.

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SandsQ Butterfly Volunteer Kate has developed a new gift for women who have experienced a miscarriage. ‘Flutter’ is a handmade fabric envelope containing a poem, small crochet butterfly, Sands support reference card and gift card. The gift card allows mothers to request, if they wish, a small set of beanie, booties and blanket from us as a keepsake for their baby.

Flutter

 

Last year we supplied items to eight hospitals and this year we hope to increase that number.

How You Can Help

Find out more about the SandsQ Butterfly Drive HERE and how you can help whether you craft or not.

Follow us on Facebook to see the latest news, FB@SandsQButterfly

Join the online event to see what we are making FB@SandsQButterflyCharityDrive

Sign up to the eNewsletter to keep updated with donation requests, donations and fundraising

Join our online crafters group for support and a chat FB@SandsQButterflyCraftersNetwork

 

or contact Lyndell at events@sandsqld.org.au

 

Thank you so much for your interest in helping us and making the Drive successful.

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Save Sands Campaign Update

All year long we have been talking about money and, in particular, about where the money will come from to keep running Sands Queensland.

While this has been a daunting experience for the Committee and the staff, it has also been an amazing opportunity.

As many readers know, we had been told our funding from Queensland Health had been cut and was due to end in December this year.  This meant we had to find alternate income and the Save Sands campaign began.  While there is a lot of hard work that goes in to organising events, the most refreshing and rewarding aspect was realising that our members and our community truly value what we do.  Our members and their friends, associates and colleagues gave so generously of their time, money and donations that we were overwhelmed.  The Save Sands Gala, the Save Sands High Tea and some flow-on donations received through interactions at the events, raised nearly $70,000, which is incredible. The Sands Management Committee want to thank everyone who contributed and helped us to ensure our long-term security.  We also found that an additional benefit was that the events attracted a whole new audience of extended family, friends and colleagues allowing us to raise awareness of our member’s experiences.

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Save Sands Gala

In even bigger news though we have received news in recent weeks that Sands Queensland funding from Queensland Health has been renewed and will continue for at least the next three years.  This is a massive relief for us all and reflects the hard work we’ve done in making sure the Government understands what we do and how valuable it is to bereaved parents, their families and the medical community.

The grant represents less than half our annual budget so fundraising remains vital to maintain and extend our reach across Queensland.  The grant provides a baseline of predictable cash-flow to ensure we can keep Sands House open, maintain our important online supports and support the work of our volunteers.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Queensland Treasurer and Sands Member Curtis Pitt and Sands Queensland Committee President Nicole Ireland

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Queensland Treasurer and Sands Member Curtis Pitt and Sands Queensland Committee President Nicole Ireland at Parliament House

With the new funding security, we will be working on extending our educational program for hospital employees and other professionals.  This training program allows us to work with those people who help bereaved parents – doctors, midwives, other health professionals and funeral home employees.  This program includes information on the need to recognise grief; how important babies are to our families; creating memories; how to talk to bereaved families and the sharing of parent stories.  We have presented to one of the larger Brisbane Health and Hospital Service and we are hoping to present in Mackay and Rockhampton in the New Year.  Parent volunteers play a big part in developing and presenting these training programs and we will continue to do this important work to make sure any future parents facing the death of their baby are well cared for and have access to important information in a timely manner.

Thank you all for ensuring Sands Queensland continues to support bereaved families.

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LINKS

Save Sands Campaign

Save Sands Gala Slideshow

Save Sands High Tea Image Gallery

Funding Restored for Community Groups: Queensland Government Media Release

Sands Queensland: Get Involved

Sands Queensland: Support Services

 

Trek to Honour Finn

Guest post by Lauren Holden, Finn’s Mum

My husband, Paul, and I were so thrilled to be expecting our first baby. We were both in our forties and excited about introducing our child to all the wonderful people, places and creatures in the world. The nursery was ready and we had spent months choosing the absolute best for our baby.

And then the world came crashing down. And life shifted. We said hello to our beautiful boy and then goodbye. All of our hopes and dreams for our future with him were gone.

In the bleakness of the days, weeks and months that followed, when everyone else’s lives went back to “normal”, we reached out to Sands. The midwives had given us information about Sands, and desperate to talk with others who knew what we were going through, we gave them a call. I had many conversations with Rachel who had lost her first baby in similar circumstances and just talking with someone who could understand exactly how I was feeling was so hugely important. I can’t put a price on the value of that. Paul and I have also attended some of the Walk to Remember days in Brisbane and again felt that comfort of understanding and not being alone. Saying Finn’s name at the Walk days also means a lot to us – we don’t get to say his name nearly enough.

Inspired by Turia Pitt, we have decided to fundraise for Sands, in honour of Finn, by trekking the Great Wall of China. We’ve set ourselves a minimum target of $5000 (and hopefully a lot more!). Our nephew, Ben, and good friend, Kate, are joining us on the trek and raising funds. We were so honoured when they told us they were going to join us. It’s such a significant acknowledgement of Finn’s life and makes us so proud.

L-R, Ben, Paul and Lauren Holden, Kate Lipke.

L-R, Ben, Paul and Lauren Holden, Kate Lipke.

Our trek starts on 24 October on the Great Wall, camping near villages along the way, and on the last day of the trek, 29 October – Finn’s 4th birthday – we summit Bejing Tower. We think that’s a pretty cool way to celebrate our little man’s birthday. Just the sort of thing we would have encouraged him to do.

 

You can support and donate to Trek to Honour Finn at Everyday Hero HERE

 

 

 

Links

Sands Queensland Walk to Remember October 2015

How to I get involved with Sands Queensland?

Sands Queensland support resources