Team Hayley 2015

Guest post by Kara Smith who is participating in this year’s Bridge to Brisbane

In May 2013 our second daughter, Hayley, was stillborn. It felt like our worlds came to a halt and souls were shattered. My husband and I have always been overweight but started making changes when our first daughter was on the way. However, after losing Hayley we sort of rebelled against the universe through junk food and put back on some of the weight we had lost. We decided we couldn’t keep going like that, so for all of our children and our health we again decided to make a change.

Why do the Bridge to Brisbane? Bridge to Brisbane offers many opportunities – a goal, a benchmark to improve on each year, a way to show our girls fitness, but most importantly a way to honour of our darling angel, Hayley and spread the stillbirth and Sands Queensland awareness. We also fundraise through the Everyday Hero page for Sands Queensland in Hayley’s name. Last year we were joined by my in-laws to do the 5km course. This year my husband and I will be doing the 10km course and my in-laws are back to do the 5km course again, for Hayley and other beautiful angels taken too soon. They will be joined by my sister-in-law and cousin-in-law. Who knows who else may join in on this fledgling tradition.

Team Hayley in 2014

Team Hayley in 2014

What are we doing to prepare? My husband has been hitting the gym and is in the best shape of his life. After our girls are tucked into bed I take my dog for a brisk walk, even occasional jog. For safety reasons I do not wear headphones, so I am enjoying my time of quiet as well as the energy boost of endorphins from getting active. I have a lot of random thoughts and conversations, but my mind often also goes to Hayley and I feel her close, especially on those clear beautiful nights where the moon is full and everything is still. I am also planning ways to include Hayley, last year my eldest daughter (and I alternately) carried a pink pony balloon (Hayley’s totem), this year I am looking into shirts and possible a foil helium balloon.

KaraSmith2

I look forward to walking this year and spending time with my family afterwards. I hope to be able to meet some of you at the course, if you see us please come up and say hello. Walking in honour of our sweet Hayley and proudly making a change.

If you would like to show your support to Kara, please make a donation at her Everyday Hero page HERE

Would you like to join the Sands Queensland crew at this years Bridge to Brisbane on August 30th?

To register, simply go to Bridge to Brisbane  and select ‘team’

For the 5km
Team Name: Team Sands Queensland
Number: 3123

For the 10km team
Team Name: Team Sands Queensland
Number: 22580

You can also join the Sands Queensland Team fundraising at Everyday Hero, just click on this link HERE and request to join the team.

We would love to hear all about you too, so if you would like to share your story, share your photos and inspiration you can join the event on Facebook HERE, email events@sandsqld.org.au or share on social media using #SaveSands.

 

Links

Family and Friends: How you can help bereaved parents. – Sands Queensland

Family and Friends support booklet from Sands Australia

How you can help – Volunteering with Sands Queensland

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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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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.

Do all things with Love

This Valentines Day Everyday Hero is 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.

Take a photo of yourself holding up a poster that reads I LOVE Sands Queensland because (why you love them).

Upload the photo to either Instagram or Twitter or post it onto the Everyday Hero Facebook wall. Remember to tag @everydayhero and #IlovebeCAUSE so your entry appears on the global ‘Wall of Love’. If you also tag your photo with #SandsQld we will reshare on Instagram (@SandsQueensland) and add to our album on Facebook (www.facebook.com/SandsQld).

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@everydayhero #IlovebeCAUSE #sandsqld

Guest post by Sands Queensland volunteer Lyndell Price, whose daughter Charlotte was stillborn.

I volunteer with Sands Queensland because I love my daughter. The love I have for her had nowhere to go, no baby to care for, no parties to plan, no cute outfits to wear. So for me, I pour that love into making a commitment to something that I know, first hand that makes a difference to parents whose child has died.

From the very beginning I needed to do something practical, so I made the commitment to come into the main office and help one day a week. That day gave me something to look forward to and an opportunity to step out of the house and focus on something other than the pain I was feeling. What I also found was it gave me the opportunity to meet other parents, to talk about my experience, listen to others and know that the grief I was feeling was completely normal. Grief comes from love, and I loved my daughter Charlotte very much. It was ok to keep on loving her.

I have been volunteering at Sands Queensland for just over 3 years now. In that time I have met many wonderful people and made life long friends. Through the support I have received, lesson I have learned from them and watching the amazing way their love for their baby drives them to give back I have grown as a person and found something for the first time in my life that I am truly passionate about.  It is an organisation and a family I am proud to be part of. I love Sands Queensland because it is a place I can love my daughter and use that love to help other parents.

What do you love about Sands Queensland?

* Update

Thank you to all who participated. Sands Queensland came third and received a $500 donation from Everyday Hero.

Here are our entrants

Anna-Leigh Burgess

Anna-Leigh Burgess

 

Dani Hall

Dani Hall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Georgia Bedford

Georgia Bedford

Jen Miles

Jen Miles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kym Marshall

Kym Marshall

Nerissa Healey

Nerissa Healey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Penny Ten Brinke

Penny Ten Brinke

 

Sarah Kelly

Sarah Kelly

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharon Louisson

Sharon Louisson

 

Sophia Miles

Sophia Miles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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