Pre­ma­ture birth sparks gen­eros­ity

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health -

TINY Sparks are cel­e­brat­ing their 1000th care pack­age for fam­i­lies with sick or pre­ma­ture ba­bies.

The not-for-profit de­liv­ered their first pack­age to King Ed­ward Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal (KEMH) four years ago; each neona­tal pack­age is spon­sored by a donor fam­ily and in­cludes a per­sonal mes­sage to the re­cip­i­ent.

Co-founder Am­ber Bates said fam­i­lies were of­ten over­whelmed when their baby ar­rived early or sick with lit­tle or no warn­ing.

“The neona­tal unit is a scary and con­fronting place to spend days, weeks or months watch­ing your baby fight for its life and grow be­fore your eyes,” she said.

“Pro­vid­ing es­sen­tial items to fam­i­lies through our care pack­age pro­gram al­le­vi­ates stress, con­nects fam­i­lies with peer sup­port and im­proves the fam­ily’s sense of well­be­ing.”

Ms Bates wanted to help change other peo­ple’s ex­pe­ri­ences af­ter hav­ing her son born pre-term in 2010 at 25 weeks.

Mum Sophie Thompson is at KEMH with baby Scar­lett, born in March at 26 weeks and four days; she said her daugh­ter is now do­ing well.

“It was very scary; I came in a week and a half be­fore she was born, my wa­ters had bro­ken,” she said.

“I was in Bus­sel­ton and I was meant to be singing at three wed­dings.”

Ms Thompson re­ceived one of the Tiny Sparks care pack­ages.

“It was so lovely to know peo­ple are think­ing of you,” she said.

Twenty-five core vol­un­teers, mostly moth­ers who have had high-risk preg­nan­cies or pre-term births them­selves, help the wheels of Tiny Sparks turn, along with seven board mem­bers.

The pack­ages are now dis­trib­uted to KEMH, St John of God Su­bi­aco, Perth Chil­dren’s and Fiona Stan­ley hos­pi­tals. Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie

Tiny Sparks founder Am­ber Bates with new mum Sophie Thompson.

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