I have a friend called Ande. We have never met although she is related to some friends I know. We have talked on facebook and I love reading her blog. I call her my friend because she has travelled a road that I can relate to and through her blog she inspires me to do better, to be better. Last year Ande lost her beautiful baby boy, Riley at 31 weeks. You can read about some of Riley's story here. and here. Ande and her family did a 'Run for Riley' last year to raise money for a wonderful charity called the Bears of Hope organisation. She raised enough money in the City2Surf run to purchase over 100 Bears of Hope. Ande continues to be involved in this amazing organisation (see here) and in a recent post encouraged bloggers to post about their upcoming charity ball being held on September the 24th in Sydney.
Bears Of Hope "offers support and guidance for parents who experience the loss of their baby during pregnancy, birth or infancy. Through the donation of a bear of hope, parents are provided with the comfort of knowing they are not alone from the very beginning, and offered significant ongoing support to heal their broken hearts. This includes support for all parents who experience miscarriage, genetic interruption, multiple loss, stillbirth, neo-natal & infant death throughout Australia".
I love the term genetic interruption. It made me realise that Charlotte's frequently coined, 'chromosomal abnormality' or as I like to call it, her 'magical extra chromosome' was just like a genetic interruption. Down Syndrome was for Charlotte, a chromosomal interruption that interrupted her life alot earlier than I expected it would, but the interruption is far from final. Our journey together is far from over.
Charlotte changed me forever on the inside, I suppose that is one of the gifts she left me, but lately I have been wondering what I could do on the outside. When I saw Ande's post about the Bears of Hope charity ball, I felt it was a wonderful opportunity for me to start my 'outside' and do something to not only remember my Charlotte but also in some small way help support other parents go through the hardest days of their lives.
Ande is one of the organisers of the charity ball and you can help out by doing the following 'donate something that can be put in our lucky dip or auctions. We are looking for items which are $40 - $100 in value for the lucky dips as you can buy a $50 balloon or $100 balloon and get a prize.' If people want to support the ball with a product donation, the email address is:
You can also make a donation in honour of an angel that has touched your heart. Just pop along to the website and see the amazing things that this organisation is doing and have a look at what you can do to help out. I am going to be doing something so if you know me personally and want to join with me, just send me a message.
We have nothing like this at the LGH, and if there was it certainly wasn't made known to me. One of the hardest things I had to do was walk out of that labour ward empty- handed knowing I had to leave my baby behind for a time until we had organised something for her. Among other things, Bears of Hope provide gift packs and gorgeous bears along with ongoing support for what to do both practically and emotionally in those first few numb days. I don't want other families to go through what I went through without any support other than a few government issued pamphlets so I feel a 'project' coming on. It's time for me to give back some of what Charlotte gave to me.
Thankyou Ande for your courage and for sharing a part of beautiful Riley with us.