Dear Joy Readers
Some of you may remember a blog we posted not long ago on SANDS. My dear friend Nicole who knows the terrible pain and anguish of losing a little one is a huge advocate for SANDS and has been over the past 9 years. Nicole is now the president of SANDS and unfortuantely as funding from the Queensland Government will cease at the end of 2015 Nicole is faced with te daunting task of fundraising to help SANDS continue. She has kindly written a blog about her story and what SANDS are doing for people in the same stituation.
The following is an extract from a letter that Nicole has written and shared with many people in the last few weeks:
There is nothing in the world that can prepare you for the heartbreak and the sheer devastation – particularly the agony of leaving the hospital without your much loved and longed for baby. Nine years on I remember walking out of that hospital so vividly that I still struggle to go back there today.
Worse still, what do you do when you get home to the nursery that is all set up and waiting for your new baby – a nursery that you have loving put together and now may never get to use. Instead of agonising over the best pram to buy, it’s trying to figure out how to go on.
More than feeling like something is missing, you feel like something has been ripped out of you and nine years later the feeling is still there – not every day but still there in the quiet moments and on every family and special occasion. When you meet new people who ask you how many children you have and when you have to explain to your other children why Mummy sometimes gets really sad.
Family and friends do everything they can to help and we have had amazing support – much of it overwhelming. But sometimes you need more than that.
At the beginning and for the past nine years, I have relied on Sands as a place to belong, a place where it’s okay to talk about my son and how I feel, a place where I can help others and, now, a place to give back.
Sands is all about parents helping parents and is an amazing group of parents and families who share the one thing they would love not to share and that is that their baby has died. It’s a club that no-one wants to join.
It is also so, so very important to help parents through the grieving process and to make sure they know there is someone who understands. I despair to think what might happen if people don’t have this special place.
Sands maintains an office and a small part-time staff to facilitate support, educational and memorial services across Queensland and to work with allied health professionals and other support services who help parents at the worst times of their lives.
It is, of course, my greatest wish that no more babies will die and that Sands won’t need to exist but that is just a fantasy. In the meantime, each year in Queensland approximately 1000 parents are affected by stillbirth and neonatal death and a further 20,000 parents experience the impact of early pregnancy loss.
After many years of continued support, the Queensland Government offered Sands funding at its current level (approximately $80,000 per year) until December 2015 after which time funding will cease.
That means, this essential service is at risk of shutting down because the core funding will cease at the end of this year. We have a plan in place to look at other ways to survive but this will take time to deliver. For this reason we are working as hard as we can to “Save Sands”.
I don’t want other parents to find themselves lost and alone in dealing with the death of their baby and I know that Sands is the only group that continue to provide support and help for parents, families, the community and all of those people who engage with bereaved parents in their darkest days.
Our son forever changed our lives and I hope that in his memory I can help to Save Sands.
Many of you can relate to my story or know someone who can but many people in the wider community still can’t. The Save Sands campaign is crucially important to give us more time to implement our transition plan and develop an alternate funding source. We are confident that we can do it but we need more time.
We are holding a Gala Dinner in Brisbane on 19 June and tickets are now on sale. We’ve got wonderful prizes on offer, great music and a two-course dinner and drinks package – what more could you ask for. Join us for a great night out and the opportunity to make a real difference.
I am so porud of the work that she has done and continues to do and we are hoping that telling Nicole’s story and advertising their event we will help raise awareness and much needed funds for the cause. If the event is not for you but you know of someone that maybe interested please spread the word.
Blessings the Joy Girls xx