Some of the stories behind why people Walk For Prems
2017 Walk Stories
Layla and Miracle
The only way identical twin baby girls Layla and Miracle Pearce can be told apart is by their chubby cheeks.
The tiny babies are the newest addition to the Pearce family and made quite a dramatic debut when they arrived eight weeks early. Since they were born on July 20, parents Lalaine and Jay Pearce have fed the girls 1140 bottles and changed 1520 nappies.
llLL nine Pearce family members, including baby twin girls Miracle and Layla, will be lacing up their shoes and setting off to help support the services that supported them. On Sunday, October 29, people across Australia will join them to walk together in support of the 48,000 premature or sick babies born in Australia every year.
Mrs Peace said it was a way for her and her family to show their thanks to the nurses and hospital staff who helped them bring Layla and Miracle home.
WHEN Zoee Hall (1) was born three months early, she was so small her father’s wedding band fitted on her arm. Parents Breigh and Daniel’s heartache at seeing their newborn daughter in intensive care and not being able to hold her has motivated them to join this month’s Walk for Prems in the Perth on October 29 along with other families across Australia.
DECEPTION BAY family will pull on their walking shoes and take part in this year’s Walk For Prems fundraiser – a cause close to their hearts. Lisa Mitchell gave birth to her son Lucas, now seven, at 25 weeks and five days.
Champion swimmer’s Brooke Hanson plans to dedicate her leg of the Commonwealth Games baton relay to her prematurely born son Jack who never got the chance to feel the sand between his toes. Mrs Hanson, who plans to have sons Cooper (8) and Billy (3) and daughter Mathilda (2) run the baton alongside her, is an ambassador for Life’s Little Treasures Foundation which supports families dealing with sick and premature babies.
Jessica Harvey, her husband, son and friends are walking to raise money so that the foundation can continue to support families with premature babies. Jessica’s Lachlan was born at 31 weeks and 1.725kg. A year later, Jessica and her team will be walking 30am 29th of October at The Village Green, Barwon Park Road, St Peters.
In a bid to help other parents with premature babies, Mrs Kerri-Anne Cali and Josh will take part in the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation’s Walk for Prems on Sunday, October 29. The walk raises money and awareness for the foundation, which provides support for parents of premature babies. They will be joined by three of Josh’s best friends and their mums.
Falcon mum Kira Campbell will be supporting a cause close to her heart when she participates in the 2017 Walk for Prems this October. For mums like Ms Campbell, whose daughter Annelise was born 11 weeks early, it’s a chance to raise awareness for those dealing with the struggles of a prematurely-born baby.
2016 Walk Stories
Mothers Beacon of hope
JENNA Corby-McDermott knows first-hand the challenges faced when giving birth to a premature baby. The Rosedale woman gave birth to twin boys Oakley and Knox in December 2014 at 31 weeks after experiencing spontaneous pre-term labour – when a woman goes into labour before 37 weeks. Jenna, a single mum was alone in a Melbourne hospital by her boys’ sides for about seven weeks until they were well enough to return home. She described the experience as “lonely and daunting” and believed things could have been “a lot harder” if not for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation. Upon the boys’ birth, Jenna was presented with a folder from the foundation with “heaps of useful things that helped in the early days”, including what to expect as a parent of premature infants, a breakdown of medical terminology and contact numbers. Buy one driving lesson, Get one free “That folder was amazing… when the doctor tells you your son (Knox) has a brain bleed you’re in such shock you forget to ask questions.But then I could go back to the folder and realise ‘ok, it’s actually quite common’,” Jenna said. She also attended weekly meetings over coffee organised by the support service. “It was great; when you have a baby in hospital you tend to spend all day, every day next to the cots. It gets repetitive and lonely,” Jenna said. “I found the weekly coffee catch ups were enough to sort of refresh your mind before I went back to the boys.” As a way to say thank you to the foundation that “had been there through some of my toughest moments” Jenna and the twins, now thriving and almost two, will participate in the annual Walk for Prems on Sunday. Walk for Prems is a national fundraiser hosted by the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation to Buy one driving lesson, Get one free bring awareness and recognition to sick and premature babies and their families. This year, Victorian participants will take a stroll around Albert Park Lake to fundraise for the charity, followed by a picnic and live entertainment. “It’s my way of giving back to them,” Jenna said. “I wanted to do it last year but their (twins) immune systems were not up to it.” All funds raised will go directly to the charity and be used to provide support and education initiatives to families of premature and sick children. “Just knowing that Life’s Little Treasures, that someone is there and willing to listen and offer that support if I need it makes all the difference,” Jenna said. “They do such great work and I’d like to see it continue.”
Twenty-five-week premmie fighting fit
LITTLE Tobias Hollis-Tobin and his mother Jodie are lucky to have survived birth, let alone the 81 days intensive care that followed. After going into labour just 25 weeks into her pregnancy, complications arose and doctors informed the family that Tobias and Jodie wouldn’t make it. Jodie was put to sleep and emergency forceps were used to save both their lives. Tobias weighed just 886g, was smaller than a 600ml Coke bottle and was suffering from multiple life-threatening conditions, including bleeding on the brain. Tobias’ grandmother Mickie recalled the harrowing moments that almost robbed her of a child and grandchild. “We thought everything would be fine, but then I received a call saying she’s gone into emergency and they were losing her and her baby – and I was devastated,” Mickie said. “Thank God the surgeon saved my daughter and delivered our baby boy Tobias. “It was frightening how small a baby he was … his little foot was the size of my thumb.” The next few weeks were just as horrific as Jodie recovered and Tobias spent his first nine days in isolation from his family. “He was born with a hernia, a hole in his heart and blood on the brain – going through all this happens to premmies (premature babies) because they’re born so early, but it doesn’t prepare you for the shock,” Mickie said. “Then she (Jodie) was watching everyone else come in and leaving with their babies, which was heartbreaking to watch.
“It’s mentally and physically draining because you don’t sleep out of panic you’ll get a phone call from the hospital.” Tobias was Jodie’s third child and her second premature child after her daughter Ariella was the first at 33 weeks. Tobias is now four-months-old despite his original due date of October 10. He is still deaf in one ear and has a hole in his heart, but he has finally gone home. Mickie since raised almost $1000 for Life’s Little Treasures Foundation who free support, education and understanding to families of premature babies. She has also secured multiple prizes for the Brisbane Walk For Prems, and will be hosting her own walk in North Lakes. Donate to ‘Tiny Tiddlers Little Fighters’ at the www.walk forprems.org.au website or register to walk. Call Mickie on 0424420679.
Parents raise awareness in memory of prem son
A Dandenong North family will be remembering their son and brother when the annual Walk for Prems is held on Sunday. Nicola and Alistair Finch are the parents of twin premmies Jonathon and Joseph, born at 26 weeks. The 800g babies slowly put on some weight, but tragically Joseph died at six weeks. “It was the hardest moment we’ve ever had,” Mrs Finch said. Jonathon spent 93 days in hospital before going home. “We think Joseph has helped Jonathon because he’s just amazing and is doing everything he should,” she said. The walk, hosted by Life’s Little Treasures, is a national event which raises awareness for babies born premature and sick, and their families. Mrs Finch said the day was also about “commemorating and celebrating” the life of premmies.
Working to help new arrivals
KAT Collett (left) feels blessed every day her “little man is still with us and healthy” after arriving nine weeks early. “Flynn was in a hurry — once he decided he had had enough, that was it,” the Frankston North mum said. “He was born not breathing, but fortunately he was OK and just needed some medicine and longer to grow.” Flynn, who spent his first 42 days in hospital, is now five. Ms Collett and other family members are looking forward to taking part in the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation’s fundraising Walk for Prems event around Albert Park Lake on Sunday, October 23.
From Little Things Big Things Grow, Say Walkers
When Sullivan was born at just 27 weeks, he weighed 800g and was about the size of an adult hand. Four years later, he is a strong and energetic little boy who promises to run ahead of his mother, Nicole Koglin, during the Walk for Prems event this Sunday. Ms Koglin, from Fawkner, will be walking around Albert Park with a group of mums she met during the first 75 days of Sullivan’s life, which were spent at the Royal Women’s Hospital. The walk raises money for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, which supports families of premature babies. “They really helped when I was in hospital,” Ms Koglin said. “This is giving back so they can continue to do it.” Details: walkforprems.org.au
Walk helps organisation fund support for premature babies
The day after her baby shower, at just 32 weeks pregnant, Penrith resident Karli McGrath was told to prepare for the worst when she realised she was going to give birth to a premature baby. For four days she was in and out of the delivery room with doctors trying to prevent her from giving birth so soon by giving her morphine and steroids. However, on May 30 last year, Ms McGrath and her partner Clint welcomed their son Kade into the world
“I was exhausted after spending so long in active labour,” Ms McGrath said. “The baby was in distress too so they eventually had to break my waters and an hour and a half later, he was here.” Being born at the gestational stage where the lungs develop caused Kade to have temporary breathing problems resulting in him moving into the neonatal intensive care unit. While Kade is now a happy and healthy 16-month-old baby, other families don’t always have the same experience. Life’s Little Treasures Foundation will be holding their seventh Walk for Prems in Sydney on Sunday, October 23, with Ms McGrath and her partner now regular participants. “We did the walk last year and after our experience we just said to each other that we have to do it every year – it’s important and very close to our hearts,” Ms McGrath said. Funds raised from the event ensures Life’s Little Treasures Foundation can continue to provide support, education and understanding to families in need, free of charge.
Walk for Prems: parents of premature twins to participate as thanks for help
Huntingdale’s Kaylene and James Shepherd want to help the people who helped make the birth of their premature twins an easier experience. The family will take part in the Walk for Prems on October 23, which raises money for Life’s Little Treasures Foundation. The foundation provides free support, education and understanding to families of premature babies. The Shepherd’s twin girls, Emily and Matilda, were born at just 28 weeks and Ms Shepherd said it was a shock when they came early. I didn’t really have time to think about it and I had no issues with pregnancy,” she said. “All of sudden I was in spontaneous labour.” She said her two girls were now healthy and no longer had to go for checkups, which they had to do for the first two years as each weighed little more than 1kg at birth.
Walk to raise money for prem babies
In Bridport on October 22, families, friends and supporters are walking to raise funds for Life’s Little Treasures Foundation. The money raised goes towards providing vital services to families of premature and sick babies. Each year thousands of babies are born premature or sick. Many families in the North-East have been affected by premature babies. Local parents Andy Lethborg and Jenna Crawford whose twins arrived prematurely have registered a virtual walk in Bridport so that locals can take part. “Because the main event is held in Campbell Town this year on October 23, we thought it might be easier for families in the North-East to participate in an unofficial event in Bridport the day before”. “We hope to meet those who would like to take part on the grass area in front of the Bridport RSL at 11am to walk along the foreshore track and return for a (BYO) picnic lunch. “People can register online and they will receive a Walk for Prems T-shirt and wristband for joining,” Jenna said. Jenna and Andy’s passion behind helping raise much-needed funds for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation stems from the incredible support they received from them during their journey with premature twins. “Our twins were born two and a half months early, and we had to stay away from our home in Bridport for four long months. “Our smaller twin, Rory, defied all the odds, the doctors gave him virtually no chance of survival, suggesting we didn’t resuscitate him. “He is now a busy, walking, talking 18 month old – all of which they said he might never do. “Life’s Little Treasures (LLT) provided so much support and information to us during this time, as they do to many families, and we’d really like to help with fundraising and raising awareness,” Jenna said. “When you have a baby (or babies in our case) born too soon, you need all the support you can get, organisations like LLT who truly understand what you’re going through. “Th ey o f f e r m a n y programs and initiatives to help families during what is such an overwhelming and traumatic time. “Even little things like providing children’s books in the NICU to read to your baby to help with the bonding process when you may not be allowed to physically touch your baby”. “The journey doesn’t end when you get your premature and sick babies home, and LLT continues to provide families with support. “Rory one of our twins, still suffers from chronic lung disease and will be undergoing surgery at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne later this year, the foundation still helps us during these tough times so in return we’d really like to help with fundraising and raising awareness,” said Jenna. To join the virtual walk in Bridport you need to register as soon as possible, visit www.walkforprems. org.au With your help, Life’s Little Treasures Foundation can support these families along their journey.
Cranbourne mum Colleen Atkinson inspired by “miracle baby” Josh to take part in Walk For Prems
When Colleen Atkinson gave birth to her “miracle baby” Josh nine years ago, she really didn’t know what to expect. Born at just 25 weeks, Josh had to spend 81 days in hospital before he was strong enough to go home. Ms Atkinson, of Cranbourne, said there wasn’t as much information or support available to parents of premature babies back then. “Josh is very good. He is autistic and has learning difficulties … he is our miracle baby,” she said. “Everything he has accomplished in life is brilliant; he goes to mainstream school. He is very car-focused; any hotted-up car he is very into, and he is just about to start gymnastics, he is very, very excited about that.” Ms Atkinson said she decided to get involved in the annual Walk for Prems to support other families of premature babies. This year she, her husband Jamie, older daughter Jessica and Josh’s grandparents will take on the 5km walk for the fourth time. The event is Australia’s largest national event for premature babies and their families.
Life’s little walk for Oscar
FOLLOWING their own personal experience, Gawler East couple Matthew and Shari Chambers are preparing to take part in the annual Life’s Little Treasures Foundation Walk for Prems on October 23. After a complicated pregnancy, their son Oscar was born in March 2008. “We had complications in my pregnancy and were told that we lost him numerous times and it wasn’t until the 10-week scan they said that he was still there,” she said. “We had complications all the way up until 19 weeks and at 19 weeks, we had our growth scan and he was at two to three weeks lower than what he was supposed to be at, and they could see he had club feet at that stage. “I had to have growth scans every couple of weeks and then back down to one week, and I got to my 34-week scan and we went in there and they said he’s stopped growing and he’s going to have to come out.” Oscar was born at Lyell McEwin, weighing just three pounds and 38 centimetres long, and with severe club feet. “We had to have a caesarean because he was in the breach position, and because of how small he was they didn’t want to put more stress on him through the labour,” she said. “We stayed in hospital for the full four to five weeks, we left hospital when he was five weeks and he weighed 2kg at the time. The moment we left Lyell Mac we had to go to the Women’s and Children’s (Hospital) so the physios could start working on his feet; he’s had eight operations on his feet and relapsed already. The diagnosis wasn’t over for Oscar either, with a diagnosis of anxiety at the age of five, and then autism just a year ago. Shari and Matthew were prepared to do the walk in last year’s event, before Shari required surgery on her pack. “Last year they did a walk and we were going to do the walk and got sponsored but unfortunately I ended up having a back operation at that time, but we did our own anyway,” she said. “We’re going to do it again this year.” Life’s Little Treasures are doing their part to keep people aware of the ongoing difficulties of premature births, as at the time of Oscar’s birth, there was nothing to support premature babies and their families. “We actually didn’t have any premature baby groups in South Australia, there was a support group at the Women’s and Children’s, but I contacted Queensland and they had a foundation called PIPA, and I started PIPA up here in SA,” she said. “Oscar would have been just one and we got a lot of local people, we got someone from Nuri, some from Eudunda and lots of Gawler people. It’s making sure there’s still awareness after hospital.”
Walk to mark an early start
Libby Thomas was 27 weeks into her first pregnancy when she started to feel cramps. Adamant she was not in labour, she tried various stretches to ease the pain, but nothing worked. About four hours later, at the insistence of a friend, she reluctantly went to Flinders Medical Centre. “I had an infection, it was some form of influenza, and my body tried to expel everything, including my son,” Ms Thomas, of Morphett Vale, says. “Because my infection wasn’t getting any better, they didn’t want to pass it on to Jacob so I was induced.” Ms Thomas, 27, says it was heartbreaking seeing Jacob, who was in hospital for 78 days, hooked up to tubes, fighting for his life. She recalls the first time she held her son. “I was petrified I was going to break him but at the same time, it was the most magical experience I’ve ever, ever felt,” she says. Now nine months old, Jacob still makes regular visits to the hospital for physiotherapy to treat clubfoot, but is otherwise happy and healthy. Ms Thomas is taking part in this year’s Walk for Prems in Adelaide on Sunday, October 23, to raise awareness about the complications associated with premature birth.
Baby Alicie was delivered at 28 weeks after her mum was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition
STEFANIE Godinho knows how distressing it is to give birth to a premature baby. The first time mum delivered daughter Alicie at 28 weeks after being diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, a variation of pre-eclampsia. The condition causes a rise in liver enzymes and lowers blood platelets, with fatal consequences for mother and child if the baby is not delivered. Stefanie, who lives in Fairlight with husband Wander, was diagnosed during routine appointment at Manly Hospital and was rushed to Royal North Shore Hospital. “I never went in to labour — Alicie was delivered under general anesthetic. She weighed 1kg,” she said.
Melbourne’s Walk for Prems a special day for Eltham family
Eltham twins Nathan and Samuel Hannington’s rocky start to life won’t stop them from giving back to other premature babies and their families.
The seven-year-old twins, who were born eight weeks early and spent the first 49 days of their lives in hospital, are taking part of this year’s Walk for Prems in Melbourne on Sunday, October 23 to help raise money for Life’s Little Treasures. Their mum Jodi’s fight to save her sons started when she was diagnosed with Twin to Twin syndrome, where identical twins share the same placenta. After complications developed she was admitted to hospital when she was 24-weeks pregnant. Mrs Hannington said the family was proud to join the walk with other families who had experienced the same things as them. “This is hugely important for us to be involved because it means the world when you know that there are people out there willing to help out,” she said.
“Initially we came across Life’s Little Treasures when the boys’ were four years old while on a Facebook support group and they were a great help to us.” The Facebook support group has formed a team and will walk around Albert Park Lake on October 23.
A loving stroll for prems
The Carcarello twins and their parents will join thousands of families in walking to raise awareness about premature babies. The Life’s Little Treasures Foundation’s Walk for Prems in Melbourne on Sunday, October 23, will be part of Australia’s largest national event to raise money to support premature babies and their families. Sunbury mum Tahlia and husband Gary welcomed twin boys Bede and Samuel at just 27 weeks in 2014. The couple’s expanding family already included five children. “They were very fragile when they were born,” Mrs Carcarello said. “We didn’t prepare for a premature birth, we prepared for a healthy birth. So it’s very daunting. There’s a lot to learn … when you have a prem baby, it can be an isolating experience because naturally you want to be with your child around the clock. “Life’s Little Treasures does a wonderful job at providing support for all those parents and that’s why it’s very important that we have organisations like this to help.” The twins had a number of ongoing health issues with their lungs and mental development, Mrs Carcarello said. Foundation founder Shusannah Morris said money raised from the annual Walk for Prems event helped ensure the organisation could continue to provide free support, education and understanding to families in need.
WHEN Erin Scott was born at 28 weeks, Tara and Peter Scott feared the worst.
Erin originally tried to be born at 21 weeks, but finally settled on 28 and weighed 959 grams and could fit into her father Peter’s outstretched hand.
Erin was in intensive care for three weeks and on oxygen all the way through to discharge – almost three months after being born.
Helpers on the run for premmies
Helpers on the run for premmies JULIE Wessling knows only too well the agonising wait that comes with having a child in hospital. All three of her children, Brayden born in 1996 and twins Tarnee and Casey, born in 2002, were premature babies who required considerable time in neonatal intensive care. For the Nudgee resident, it was a “long road” but one that ended happily.
Karen & Jamisyn’s story
Luke is walking for Prems
Mum Kate’s story: Eight years ago today I was admitted into the Mater Mothers Hospital.
I was 19 weeks pregnant & the only thing holding my baby in was a stitch placed at 12 weeks. Less than 12 months earlier my precious Eloise was born too early & there was a real possibility that I would lose this baby. I only made it to 25+6 weeks. Luke was 1034g when he was born, huge for a baby of that gestation. I believe having a baby so premature made me appreciate what it really means to be a mum.
I think I’m a better Mum for it, not that I’d want anyone to have to go through the stress, anxiety and at times despair that goes with the utmost joy, excitement & relief of bringing a prem home. Please help me to support Mum’s like myself who have a baby or babies in the nursery by registering for the Brisbane Walk for Prems event.
Miracle Miles walking tall
Seville Grove couple Jacqueline Wereik-Dimer and Ian Dimer will be walking proudly alongside their son Miles at this year’s annual Walk for Prems on October 23 at Sir James Mitchell Park in South Perth. That’s because Miles, or ‘Miracle Miles’ as he is affectionately known, was born 17 weeks premature on June 18, 2014. Despite doctors saying he would not survive the night, two years later he is able to talk and walk unassisted and will join his family on the walk. Ms Wereik-Dimer has had four other premature children but none as premature as Miles.
Walk for Prems to support families with premature children
THE birth of a child is normally a cause for celebration. But for families who welcome a premature child it can be a time of confusion and anguish. Helena Geyer’s first child, Charlotte, was born 12 weeks premature in 2014. The 37-year-old, who resided in Colebee at the time, said the birth was “very unexpected” and left her feeling overwhelmed. “I’d never had any experience with premature babies before or known anyone who’d had a premature baby before, so it was completely foreign to me,” she told the Star. “I was quite upsetting. You start to think about what you could have done differently or could have been prevented.”
Nationwide walk to seek awareness for babies born premature and sick
ARARAT’S Emma Hobson is set to take part in Australia’s largest national event on Sunday, October 23 to raise awareness for babies born premature and sick. Life’s Little Treasures Foundation’s Walk for Prems is in its seventh year and happens every October, bringing together those affected and those wanting to support the cause.
A parent of three children who were born prematurely, Ms Hobson told Life’s Little Treasures Foundation all three children were forced to spend time in hospital before going home, with her last child spending 57 days in care before it was deemed safe for her to be taken home. Australian retailer of baby goods for more than 30 years, Baby Bunting will present this year’s walk.
Stacey’s walk for prems
Stacey Snow’s fight for her premature twins did not end when they left the hospital. Edie-Jayne and Tobias Snow were born about 15 weeks premature on February 4. Months were spent in a Sydney hospital with the twins fighting for their life and Mrs Snow, her husband Clint and their eldest son Corbin hoping for their recovery.
They were discharged and returned to Wagga in early May but this is not where their battle ends. The twins are now seven-and-a-half months old but their corrected age, which is measured from their actual due date, is four months. Their underdeveloped lungs mean they are vulnerable to the slightest infections. The twins just spent four days in hospital on oxygen with chest infections. “Because their lungs are still underdeveloped, it causes havoc,” Mrs Snow said.