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!

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.

 

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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.’

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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

 

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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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A New Butterfly at Harvey Bay

Guest post by Jodie Tangikara

My name is Jodie Tangikara and I am now the Butterfly Coordinator for Hervey Bay Hospital.

Let me tell you a little about my loss and how I ended up here. On the 22nd September 2012 I delivered my son at 19 weeks 5 days gestation after a 32 hour labour. Marcus was beautiful and only 17cm long and weighing 135g. The following day I was discharged from hospital to go home to my four beautiful children. Twenty four hours later I was placed back into hospital due to lack of blood in my body. After a night in hospital and three bags of blood I was right to go home. Four days later I was rushed back to hospital due to heavy bleeding. Some placenta had been left behind, which caused my body to get a infection. I was taken to surgery for a curet only to flat line on the table due to major blood loss. After two minutes of nurses trying to bring me back I finally had a heartbeat again. I spent the next four days in ICU to be closely monitored. Once I was given the all clear I left hospital to go pick up my sons ashes and go home to my family.

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A few months passed and I felt lost and needed to do something. I started a petition to get all babies recognised from the state government and after 18 months I finally accomplished it. Now the Queensland Births Deaths and Marriages issues In Loving Memory  Certificates for babies under 20 weeks gestation. I have also raised money for the SCN unit at Hervey Bay Hospital and money for a Cuddle Cot for the Maternity Ward.

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I ended up becoming a volunteer for Sands Queensland after speaking to Nicole the Sands Queensland Committee President at the In Loving Memory Certificate launch. Knowing what a difference this beautiful organisation does I wanted to be a part of it and help families in need. I look forward to moving forward with sands and hope I can make a difference.

 

You can help support Jodie at Marcus’s Butterfly

 

To learn more about the Sands Queensland Memory Bags, please visit our Website HERE and if you would like to know more about how to become a Butterfly Coordinator in your area, please email Lyndell at events@sandsqld.org.au

 

 

Grace’s Gathering and the Wave of Polish

Last year saw the first Wave of Polish held during October for International Pregnancy and Infant Loss (IPIL) month. A challenge was issued to paint your nails blue and pink each Tuesday to help raise awareness of pregnancy and infant loss. The event was a success with many showing their support and we hope this year will be bigger and better.

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Theresa Carter organised the event and in conjunction with the Wave of Polish campaign she will be holding an auction of one off polishes made by some amazing Australian Indies and also some gorgeous pastels from amazing Australian polish brands. The auction will start on the 8th October at 9am and finish on the 15th October. Visit WAVE OF POLISH BLOGSPOT for all the details.

Last year funds raised were donated to Sands Australia and helped fund ‘Grace’s Gathering’, in memory of Theresa and Rod’s daughter Grace. These meetings gave the wonderful volunteer parent supporters at Sands an opportunity to connect with other supporters, share ideas and support, and receive further training to enable them to better support bereaved parents

 

Sands Queensland Grace's Gathering at Sands House, New Farm.

Sands Queensland Grace’s Gathering at Sands House, New Farm.

 

At the beginning of each gathering a poem written by Theresa was read out. Each and everyone of us were touched by Theresa’s words and we would like to thank her for sharing a part of Grace with us and bringing us all together.

The following is the poem written by Theresa in memory of her daughter Grace.

 

 

You say just get over it.

You weren’t there the day we held our daughter, in our arms the first and the last time.

You say haven’t you grieved enough?

You weren’t there to rub her face as she struggled to cling on to life.

You say you can have another one.

You weren’t there to answer yes, turn life support off on this child, of yours,

Your child part of YOU.

You say time will fix all.

You weren’t there to watch her take her last breath, while your heart shattered into 1000 pieces.

You say its time to move on.

You weren’t there when I was aching, screaming and rocking in pain at night,

just to hold my baby,

just one more touch.

You say she wouldn’t want me to be sad.

You weren’t there the days I ripped at the grass on her grave, just wanting to see her face one more time

You say I have another child, life must be normal for him.

You weren’t there the nights I rocked him to sleep, as he wanted his little sister.

You say you must look after your husband.

You weren’t there the days I wiped tears, from his face just so he could get to work.

You say it all over and over again,

I know you mean well and I forgive you,

because you weren’t there…..

Theresa 28th September 2003