IT is the special donation that has its roots in a personal tragedy.
A Raymond Terrace mother whose son was stillborn at 35 weeks has turned her grief into generosity, after presenting John Hunter Hospital and the Red Nose charity with hundreds of “keepsake” boxes that aim to hold the physical memories of humans lost too soon.
James and Laura Grzelak, of Raymond Terrace, sought to protect the memory of son Link by having his hand and feet castings stowed in the box.
Mrs Grzelak, whose son died at 35 weeks old last year, said it was important to her to keep memories of her son that she could touch.
“We wanted a special home for the most precious things we have of Link,” she said.
“Red Nose came to take imprints of Link’s hands and feet and Heartfelt came to take photos of our family, so I wanted something that is safe, looks nice and is worthy of the most precious memories of our little boy.”
An idea she believed was worth spreading, Mrs Grzelak went about fundraising to donate many more of the boxes for the hospital’s birthing suite.
She raised more than $12,000 and, through a further donation from Lake Macquarie business Personalised Keepsakes, hundreds of hand-crafted boxes have been put into production.
All up, the donation is expected to help 400 families affected by stillbirth or infant death.
“The fundraising event was not only about giving back, but bringing awareness to a topic that often too difficult to discuss,” Mrs Grzelak said. “I don’t want people to feel like they are alone.”
John Hunter Hospital’s midwifery manager of birthing services, Dorothy Kauter, said the donation would show other parents that support is available in a time of need.
“From our experience, women going through the pain and loss of a child are comforted by donations like these keepsake boxes, because they are a gift from another mother who has walked in their shoes and knows the pain of the situation they are going through,” Ms Kauter said. “They are not alone in their grief.”