A family have given the gift of time to grieving families of stillborn babies.
It will be the legacy of a baby girl who was stillborn at birth who will have a lasting impact on Ipswich families in their time of need.
Sunshine Coast man and Sydney 2 CAMberra Charity Ride participant Craig Christie has donated a Cuddle Cot to Ipswich Hospital at the end of a 165km ride made in his daughter’s honour.
Mr Christie, whose daughter, Sarah, was stillborn at 24 weeks, said he wanted to ensure other regional community families impacted by stillbirth had access to a Cuddle Cot, just as he and wife Heidi did when their baby was delivered at Nambour Hospital in 2016.
The cot has an inbuilt cooling system that is designed to extend the time families can spend with a stillborn baby. It was purchased through Mr Christie’s fundraising initiatives as a participant of the Sydney 2 CAMberra Charity Ride, which was founded after a Sydney couple lost their son Cameron through stillbirth. This year alone he has raised $12,500.
“Our beautiful daughter Sarah was stillborn at 24 weeks,” Mr Christie said. “I support this event to connect with her and feel closer to her and to support other men and women who experience the pain of loss.
This year, due to COVID-19, the charity ride moved to a virtual event last month and Mr Christie made the most of the opportunity by completing the full 165km two-day ride along the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail from Yarraman to Ipswich.
“This event raises awareness for stillbirth and Sudden Unexpected Deaths in Infancy (SUDI) that affect families like ours, and for this reason, it really does mean a lot to us and other families who have lost their children.”
Bereavement Care Liaison Midwives Tess Wyld and Katrina Schwarz said it was heartening to know there was an extended community of supporters rallying to help bereaved families after the loss of a baby.
The donation was coordinated by Sydney 2 CAMberra and their charity partner Bears of Hope.
Ms Wyld and Ms Schwarz, who coordinate the emotional and physical care of bereaved parents, said the Cuddle Cot gave the gift of time for parents to make memories with their child.
“The Cuddle Cot will allow families to connect with the little person they have created, giving them the opportunity to make memories that will last a lifetime, as well as farewell their baby with no need to feel rushed,” Ms Wyld said.
“We know that time is very precious with a baby after stillbirth and forms an important part of the grieving process.”
Ms Schwarz thanked the Christie family and their charity partners for their generosity, adding the shared experience and support of others would provide comfort to families experiencing loss.
“Sarah’s legacy will leave a tangible mark on the West Moreton community for many years to come.”