Meet Our Parent Supporters

Find out a little bit more about some of our Volunteer Parent Supporters.

You can speak to one of our Parent Supporters any time of the day or night. Call our Support Line on 1300 0 72637 or visit our support pages for other ways of reaching us by email, online or face to face.


 
 

Anne Altimore - Web Version

Anne Altamore

Why did you decide to become a Parent Supporter?
Being a Sands Parent Supporter is a way of honouring the lives of my twins. By helping others get through sad times, I hope to give back what I got from Sands - validation of my loss and hope that the dark storm clouds at the time would one day lift.

I had a very early loss 19 years ago, and to most people because it was so early, it was considered a "non-baby". However as I had seen and heard the heartbeats at an early ultrasound - to me they were babies not a clump of cells. I was referred to Sands and having someone acknowledge my babies was a tremendous source of comfort. This validation combined with time helped me heal. I am now part of the older loss group and while my grief is no longer raw and painful, I find that being with women who validate me as a bereaved mother especially at significant times of the year such as Xmas or Mother's Day very comforting.

How do you hope to help other grieving parents?

Lani Leary, Psychologist says "No one has to grieve alone. Validation is the key to resolving grief." I often get asked "is what I am feeling normal?" Another frequent comment is "it was so early in the pregnancy, no one acknowledges that I lost my baby". So I listen, validate their loss and normalise their grief. I find that being able to provide a safe space where there is no judgement only empathy for bereaved parents (or grandparents) to cry, vent, or just talk helps them share  feelings which they feel they can't share with others.

Do you have any other children?
No I don't. However, my personal grief work and involvement in Sands events has enabled me to find perspective, build resilience and re-author a meaningful life story. I now lead a fulfilled childfree existence, and if the grief is re-triggered as it can be sometimes - I reach out to my friends from the older loss group for comfort and keep moving forward.

What do you do outside of Sands?
I am a counsellor and life-coach who provides emotional support and helps people explore options for change and wellbeing.


Jo Castile-Roberts - Web VersionJo Castile-Roberts

Why did you decide to become a Parent Supporter?
I became a Volunteer Parent Supporter because I wanted to pass on some of the things I learnt from my own experiences of miscarriage and the death of a baby. I was extremely well-supported by a local miscarriage support group and then a Sands NZ group where I lived at the time, and I wanted to pass on some of that knowledge, information, empathy and kindness that had been shown to me. During my journey I learned a lot about my situation, my family and myself, and I wanted to share some of that with people in similar situations, and to offer them hope.
Ultimately I wanted some good to come out of my painful experience, which for me, is all part of the grieving and healing process.


How do you hope to help other grieving parents?
By listening to what they have to say. By acknowledging that what they are saying and/or feeling is valid and real to them. By sharing experiences so that they don't feel so alone or isolated. By offering hope that things can and do work out even though they can't see or feel like that right now.

Do you have any other children?
I have two children, a 10 year old son who was born prior to my experiences, and a five year old daughter, who has just started school! She was born after our journey through miscarriage and the death of a baby, and so in a way is the culmination of all those experiences, losses, hopes and dreams.


What do you do outside of Sands?
I am a full-time mum at the moment and have been for a few years, but now that both children are at school I am hoping to return to work and maybe even pick up the reins of my old career, or perhaps reinvent myself with a new one!
 


 

Wayne Faulkner - Web VersionWayne Faulkner

Why did you decide to become a parent supporter?
Initially, I joined Sands to provide support in any practical way, however over time, I realised that there was a need for a dedicated Men's Support program. I felt that my history as a bereaved parent would help me help other men in a similar situation.

How do you hope to help other grieving parents?
To provide bereaved Dads with a safe place to grieve and in particular, to continue to raise the profile of Sands men's support services.

Do you have any other children?
Yes, my first wife and I raised another four healthy children after two miscarriages. Janina and I also share her two children from her first marriage.. so we say we have six kids (our tenth grandchild is due in May).

What do you do outside of Sands?
I work in business development and management for a global logistics company supporting clients in the oil, energy and mining sectors. As a hobby, I enjoy painting and as an emerging artist form part of a small art group who hold regular exhibitions and sale of our work.


Tricia

Tricia Jancovich

What made you become a Sands Parent Supporter?
On 22 June 2010 my daughter Katie was stillborn at 41 weeks, I had experienced an easy complications free pregnancy but the cord had wrapped around her neck as I went into labour.

Unfortunately, Sands WA had not yet re-established and I did not receive any support after my loss. I have never experienced something so lonely and isolating and it took me several years to feel somewhat normal again. When I discovered Sands WA I knew I wanted to be part of this special group of people to help give others the chance to know that they are not alone.

What do you find most rewarding about the role?
For me the most rewarding part of the role is being able to hear the relief in a parent's voice when they are given a chance to talk about their baby without the guilt that they often feel when talking to people who have not experienced a loss. I enjoy being able to provide parents and their families a safe place to talk openly about their baby and their feelings because I know how lonely it can feel when you don't have someone to talk to.

What do you do outside of Sands?
I am a mum to two beautiful little girls, Emily and Abigail who are the absolute centre of my world, they keep me on my toes and I am so very thankful to have them. In my spare time I am completing a Diploma in Community Service Work. I strongly value the benefits of Community Groups and I am very passionate about getting people to realise their inner strengths and potential to work together to make a difference.


Narriss Miller - Web Version

Narissa Miller

Why did you decide to become a parent supporter?
When our daughter died I remembered how good it was to be able to speak to someone who understood what I was going through so when I finished university, last year, and was looking to do some volunteer work I contacted Sands about becoming a Parent Supporter.

How do you hope to help other grieving parents?
Though being a parent supporter I hope to assist other parents in feeling understood and supported though their time of grief by holding a space for them to talk about their experience and feelings and reassure them that how they feel is normal.

Do you have any other children?
Since losing out daughter Kalin, 17 years ago, we now have two children, a son who is 15 and a daughter who is 12.

What do you do outside of Sands?
Outside of Sands, I work as a hairdresser and study at university. In my spare time I enjoy going to the beach and bushwalking.

 



Jen Perrignon2 - Web Version

Jen Perrignon

Why did you decide to become a Parent Supporter?

I have been a Parent Supporter for approximately eight years. Almost 10 years ago my husband and I lost our fourth baby Scarlett, who was born sleeping at  28 weeks. Scarlett died in utero due to a small twist in the umbilical cord. The doctor assured us that there was no way we could have known and that there was  nothing we  could do to prevent it. At the time I felt a great desire to know and learn more about stillbirth, and also shock that I could not know that this was  even possible – after 3 healthy babies, I still did not know that stillbirth happened!

I felt I needed to be Scarlett’s voice for a while and started the Scarlett’s Kisses project ,which provides picture frames to local hospitals to give to grieving  parents in their darkest hour as a small gesture of support.

How do you hope to help other grieving parents?
 I became a Parent Supporter on the Sands Helpline as I believe I have the ability to just listen when the person on the other end of the phone has lost so much,  and just needs to talk. It is essential to get the words out. Knowing that you are not alone can be comforting.

Do you have any other children?
My husband and I have four other children, Annabelle, William (Bill), Elizabeth (Lizzie) and our subsequent baby (we call her our healing baby) Georgina (Georgie). I giggle sometimes at strangers who look at us as collective group with kids ranging from 18 to 7 and I am sure they are thinking – second marriage? Blended family? If only they knew!

Scarlett is very much a member of our family even though she is not with us. I think the reason for this is due to the ages of the older three children when we lost her. They needed to ask questions and we needed to give them answers. We had to mark her arrival and departure as much for us as for the children. We celebrate her birthday (privately) and she will never be forgotten by us. I am comfortable discussing Scarlett with friends and family who knew us at our time of loss, however I am very selective with who I share conversation about Scarlett with (a mother’s instinct perhaps?).

What do you do outside of Sands?
In my everyday life, my husband and I have a small farm (cattle, crops), half and hours drive from Toowoomba, while both of us also work in Education in Toowoomba. I am a Teacher Aide. I am currently studying to become a teacher. Our eldest child is at University in Sydney, with two kids in secondary school and our youngest in primary school, all in Toowoomba.

Life is busy but we love it and we are now at the stage that we feel so thankful for all of our beautiful children and blessed that Scarlett chose us as her parents. The pain has diminished yet the memory is strong – something that I have grown to learn is a good thing.


Chris Tsockallos

Chris Tsockallos

 

Why did you decide to become a Sands Volunteer Parent Supporter? Sands were extremely supportive to my wife and myself after the loss of our twins. We attended a number of support meetings and I spoke to bereaved dads at the meetings who were very helpful. I got to hear about their journey through this difficult time. Speaking to them was invaluable.

Now it is time for me to give back to Sands and provide some support to other bereaved dads. I feel that my journey as a bereaved parent may in some way enable me help other dads through their difficult time. I will always value the support I received from other bereaved dads.

How do you hope to help other grieving parents? I became a Male Parent Supporter on the Sands Men’s Helpline hoping to provide support to bereaved dads by listening to them and letting them know that there is support for them in their time of grief. I hope to offer support in the same way that I was helped by Sands.

Do you have any other children? My wife and I have a lovely ten year old daughter who was born after the loss of our twins. Each year we celebrate our twins birthday as a family.

What do you do outside of Sands? I work full time as a Business Analyst. Outside of work and Sands, I enjoy spending as much time as I can with my family. I have been given a second chance in life to raise a child with my lovely wife. I strongly value the benefits of community support and I look forward to expanding my volunteering work. My interests and hobbies are sports and collecting sporting memorabilia.

 


Peter VidinsPeter Vidins

Why did you decide to become a parent supporter?
It will be ten years next year that we lost our first baby, Daniel. During this time I got a lot of support from Sands, especially from the fellow dads in the Bereaved Dads group on Facebook. I thought it was time I gave back and supported others through what is a terrible, terrible time.

Do you have any other children?
Daniel was our first baby who passed away. Since then, we've had a girl, Zoe who just turned 7 and a son, Eli who turned 5 last month.

What do you do outside of Sands?
I work 9 - 5 in the city. In my spare time, I do a stack of freelance writing, try to spend as much time with my family and enjoy spending time in the garden.

Read Peter's blog post about why he is Parent Supporter.

Watch Peter talk to Emma Alberici and Paul Kennedy about Sands on ABC Breakfast