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Hervey Bay family gives the gift of time to grieving families

Friday 15 October 2021

The Overall family raised $13,000 to purchase a new Cuddle Cot for Hervey Bay Hospital in memory of their beautiful boy Luke.
The Overall family raised $13,000 to purchase a new Cuddle Cot for Hervey Bay Hospital in memory of their beautiful boy Luke.

Grieving families experiencing the heartbreaking loss of a baby through pregnancy will be given more time to say goodbye after the generous donation of a Bears of Hope Cuddle Cot to Hervey Bay Hospital.

Earlier this year, James and Gabriella Overall sadly lost their beautiful boy, Luke, at 23 weeks and have since been channelling their grief towards something positive to honour the memory of their son.

“In the days that followed Luke’s birth at Townsville Hospital, we were fortunate to have the privilege of a Cuddle Cot, which gave us the gift of time,” Mr and Mrs Overall said.

“A Cuddle Cot is a cooling system designed to fit within a small bassinet and lies beneath the baby, enabling families – like ours – uninterrupted time to say hello to our babies, keep them close and create special memories that we will cherish forever.

“We had four beautiful days with Luke, where we held him, his big brother, Jordan, got to meet and cuddle him, he was beautifully baptised, we had an amazing photographer capture our time together and we had friends visit – not only to mourn with us, but also to celebrate his little life.

“The Cuddle Cot made it possible for us to have these special memories that we will treasure forever, before we had to say our goodbye.”

Mr and Mrs Overall said they’d been incredibly humbled by the overwhelming generosity and support they had received – from their friends, family, medical team and anonymous donors.

“To date, we have raised just over $13,000, allowing us to donate a Cuddle Cot to Hervey Bay Hospital where we currently live and another to Bathurst, a town close to our heart where both of our extended families reside.

“The Cuddle Cots will give many other parents the opportunity to prolong their last moments with their baby.

“We are also eternally thankful for the support we received from Harrison’s Little Wings, which took control of all of the little life ‘things’ that you cannot even bare to think about when your unborn child receives a terminal diagnosis.

“They linked us with support groups, organised fortnightly lawn mowing, arranged for a house cleaner, provided food vouchers and assisted us to put our son into day care for a few extra days to allow us to attend appointments.”

With October marking International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, James and Gabriella also want to shine a spotlight on this too-often taboo topic.

Every year, around 110,000 Australians have a miscarriage, 2200 more endure the pain of stillbirth (one in six), 600 lose their baby in the first 28 days after birth and many more face the grief of termination for medical reasons.

“By sharing our story, we want to raise awareness of the issue of pregnancy and infant loss – something that is not often talked about, yet experienced by so many,” they said.

“We hope to prompt a conversation and encourage affected families to publicly remember their much-loved babies, and to break the silence around them.”

Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness month events are happening right around Australia and online throughout October.

  • Friday 15 October: Light a candle at 7pm to join the wave of light for International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Take a photo and upload to social media with #pail and #standingsilent
  • Sunday 17 October: Virtual Walk to Remember online event. Register here.

Red Nose provides vital 24/7 support and services to thousands of Australian women every year who lose a baby to miscarriage, via termination for medical reasons, in early infancy or through stillbirth or SIDS. Anyone impacted is urged to contact a 24/7 Grief and Loss Support Line on 1300 308 307.

If you would locate to donate to Bears of Hope, please visit www.bearsofhope.org.au/ways-to-give/donate/.

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Last updated: 15 October 2021