Janina Faulkner, a volunteer with miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death charity, Sands, has today, been announced as Sands’ Inaugural Jenny Miolin Volunteer Award winner for 2017.
Awarded during National Volunteer Week, the Jenny Miolin Volunteer Award acknowledges and celebrates the outstanding contribution and achievement of volunteers across Sands nationally.
Janina, from Kalamunda, WA, first contacted Sands in 1985, after her son Keith was stillborn. She says that she was desperately seeking to talk to someone who understood what she was feeling.
After engaging with Sands, she decided to get involved as a volunteer and has held and continues to hold many volunteering positions within the organisations.
She has been a Volunteer Parent Supporter, providing essential support to bereaved parents for numerous years. In 2014, she was elected as President of Sands WA and continues to be re-elected due to her extraordinary commitment and dedication. In 2015, Janina was nominated as Vice Chair of Sands Australia.
Under Janina’s leadership, Sands in WA has grown from strength to strength, providing vital support to more bereaved parents, than ever before.
“Janina has worked tirelessly to establish working relationships within hospitals across Western Australia so that healthcare professionals are aware of the support that Sands can offer and have confidence to refer their bereaved families to Sands.” Said Lyndy Bowden, Chair, Sands Australia.
Janina is also dedicated to ensuring that rural and regional areas of WA also have access to essential services. Sands will soon be in a position to launch Local Support Meetings in WA’s South West and the North East at a later stage.
“Janina puts her heart and soul into all her work for other bereaved parents and her passion is an inspiration to everyone at Sands. She is a very deserving winner. I’d also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and congratulate the other seven nominees for the award for their fantastic contribution and thank all Sands Volunteers, without whom Sands would not exist”. Added Lyndy.
Ann Kinnear, CEO of Australian College of Midwives (ACM) and member of the Judging Panel for the award added “The volunteers across Sands offer invaluable support to grieving parents which comes from a place of loss and grief that they themselves have experienced and still feel. They offer an exceptional service and I add my voice in honouring them. Thank you to the volunteers for giving their own time to help grieving parents.”
On receiving the award, Janina said “I am very grateful to receive this award and would like to thank all my fellow Sands volunteers – we’ve achieved what we have because of teamwork.”
“It’s an honour to support bereaved parents through their grief journey so that they do not suffer alone, or in silence. I always think back to what I wanted when my baby, Keith, died. I just desperately needed to be understood.”
Sands is a not-for-profit organisation that provides emotional support and information to parents and families who experience the death of a baby, as well as offering resources and education to healthcare professionals. Sands Volunteer Parent Supporters offer a real sense of understanding and hope; they too have been through the devastating loss of a baby.
Every day in Australia, 7 families are faced with the devastating and heartbreaking tragedy of their baby dying during or shortly after birth.