Troy and Kelly Austin, Dr Elize Bolton, Nurse Unit Manager Dohna Myler and Bundaberg Regional Mayor Jack Dempsey.
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service has welcomed the unveiling of a new memorial artwork at Bundaberg Hospital that acknowledges families who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy.
The artwork, which is the brainchild of a group of bereaved parents, was organised by local group T.G’s Legacy, was funded thanks to a grant from Bundaberg Regional Council as well as contributions by Sands Queensland and T.G’s Legacy’s own fundraising.
T.G’s Legacy launched the artwork fundraising project in conjunction with the Walk to Remember event, which commemorates International Infant & Pregnancy Loss Day.
Bundaberg Hospital’s Clinical Director of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Dr Elize Bolton said the artwork was greatly appreciated by staff and by the families who attend the Bundaberg Hospital Family Unit.
“The Bundaberg Family Unit acknowledges the fantastic work of T.G’s Legacy in organising this memorial artwork, as well as the financial support of Bundaberg Regional Council, Sands Queensland and the many community members who donated to the fundraising for the memorial,” Dr Bolton said.
“It’s wonderful to have this artwork featured in the Bundaberg Family Unit so we can not only remember those families who experience a pregnancy loss - whether it’s a stillbirth, miscarriage or neonatal death – but also offer them our ongoing support.
“It’s important to acknowledge and validate bereaved parents’ grief as well as to provide understanding so parents do not feel so alone and overwhelmed by their loss.
“This artwork is a great visual acknowledgement that even though these babies are no longer with us that they remain part of these families as well as a public statement about destigmatising pregnancy loss so we, as a community, can better support those grieving families.”
Bundaberg Region Mayor Jack Dempsey said Council was privileged to be able to lend support to such an important, essential and moving occasion.
"The loss of babies and infants is an event that touches so many families in such a lasting and often devastating way," Mayor Dempsey said.
"As Mayor and as a parent I am extremely honoured to join in this show of support for Kelly, her partner and every other family who have experience the tragic loss of a child."
T.G’s Legacy’s Kelly Austin said the artwork would not only be a memorial, but will also act as a visual education piece celebrating the diversity of families.
“The artwork project was an idea that came about as a way to have our babies, who were born here, but no longer with us, acknowledged,” T.G’s Legacy’s Kelly Austin said.
“As a permanent memorial, it will have significant meaning to local families as they will be able to see their child publicly recognised as a member of the Bundaberg community.
“The colour theme for the butterflies on the artwork is white, blue, pink and yellow which were chosen to allow for families who have lost their baby early in pregnancy and may not have known the gender of the child as well as those later losses where the child’s gender was known.
“The colour of the tree is purple that represents Sands Queensland, an organisation many of us have received ongoing support through after our precious baby or babies were born.
“On behalf of T.G’s Legacy I wish to thank Bundaberg Regional Council, Sands Queensland, Walk to Remember participants, community leaders, supporters and the organising committee of Jacinda & John Wimbus, Taryn Hayhurst, Michelle Stevens and Debbie Cassie.”
An important aspect of the artwork is its continuing nature which will enable bereaved families at each year’s Walk to Remember to add their babies’ names to the piece.