Each dollar you raise counts and will ensure we can continue to help grieving parents navigate life without their baby in their arms. We're constantly inspired by what our community fundraisers, like Melbourne's Lynton and Cara Joseph, can achieve with planning, passion and a whole lot of love.
The Longest Rally in Support of Sands
“Fundraising for Sands, you can see the results straight away. The money helps run training and education sessions for the hospital staff who care for parents like us, it pays for the production of information booklets – really practical things." - Lynton Joseph
For Melbourne couple Lynton and Cara Joseph, fundraising for Sands started as a labour of love in honour of their baby son, Jonty, who was stillborn in May 2016.
Struck by the silence surrounding stillbirth, Lynton and Cara conceived of the idea of holding a family-friendly day at their local tennis club that would bring together parents whose babies had died as well as the wider community to shine a light on what is too often an invisible loss.
“At our first hospital appointment when they couldn’t find Jonty’s heartbeat it was a big shock,” said Cara.
“We didn’t know how common it was. We didn’t know anything. No one had ever talked to us about miscarriage or stillbirth or anything like that.”
It wasn’t until Lynton and Cara attended a Sands face-to-face support group in the months after Jonty died that they began to realise theirs was a grief shared by over 1700 families in Australia each year whose babies are stillborn.
“Knowing that other people have experienced it every day since, we felt determined to make meaning from the experience and to help others in Jonty’s memory,” Cara added.
Their event – The Longest Rally in Support of Sands – took place on a sunny Saturday in late-October 2017 at the East Coburg Tennis Club.
With the incredible financial and practical support of Lynton and Cara’s friends and families, and generous sponsorship from local businesses and their tennis club community, The Longest Rally raised almost $10,000 for Sands.
“People’s generosity blew us away. So many people donated their time, skills, connections and funds to make the event a success,” Lynton said.
Sands CEO, Andre Carvalho, said Lynton and Cara’s fundraising efforts were nothing short of inspiring.
“$10,000 makes a huge difference to an organisation like Sands where all of our services are delivered by dedicated and committed volunteers,” he said.
“$10,000 allows us to recruit and train 60 new volunteers each year who then go on to deliver our vital support services, such as our national support line, email, live chat, men’s service and face-to-face support groups.”
“This amount could also fund the training of 285 midwives or other healthcare professionals to improve the care and support bereaved parents receive in hospitals after the death of a baby.”
Lynton and Cara said there was no winning formula behind their fundraising success, just a range of activities that ensured everyone would have a busy and enjoyable day out.
They ran a simple but successful BBQ, silent auction, multiple raffles, tennis clinics, market stalls, children’s craft activities and more.
For fellow bereaved parents attending on the day Lynton and Cara added their own special touches to the event, handing out candles for people to take home and light in memory of a loved one as well as giving families the opportunity to include their baby’s name in a butterfly memorial garden on the day.
“Everything we did on the day was out of love and being able to hear and say Jonty’s name,” Lynton and Cara explained.
Sharing their own personal story of stillbirth as part of organising the event proved an important opportunity for Cara and Lynton to connect with others as well as to reflect on their own journey to parenthood.
“Helping others really helped our grieving. We were really grateful Sands was there for us and it felt really good to give back.”
Throughout the almost year-long process of organising The Longest Rally, Lynton and Cara gained a lot of skills and experience in large scale event planning, which they hope will hold them in good stead for a repeat performance of their event somewhere down the track.
The couple said that the wonderful sense of community connection and involvement they experienced while bringing the event to life also had a huge impact on them.
“Meeting and working with so many people really gave us a sense of purpose. We loved being able to help raise awareness of stillbirth in the community, which we are both passionate about,” said Cara.
Lynton said fundraising for Sands was a really rewarding experience – not just because of their own personal connection to the cause but because of the tangible impact donations can have on a small volunteer-led charity.
“Fundraising for Sands, you can see the results straight away. The money helps run training and education sessions for the hospital staff who care for parents like us, it pays for the production of information booklets – really practical things.”
“We’d love to see this become a regular event to help support the many parents who’ve been where we have. It would be fantastic to be able to do that in Jonty’s memory.”
To find out more about The Longest Rally in Support of Sands follow the event on Facebook @TheLongestRally
How can I raise funds for Sands?
It's very easy - the first step to take is to decide the activity that you would like to take part in.
I'm ready to start!
Firstly, thank you very much for choosing Sands as the organisation to raise funds for. We rely heavily on generous individuals like yourself to ensure we can continue to support parents following the devestating loss of a baby.
Now that you are ready to start, just follow these simple steps:
- Pick your activity or event (run, walk, coffee morning, memorial, etc).
- Set up your fundraising page from the three options above.
- Raise funds by sending your page to family, friends and colleagues asking for donations.
- Keep your page updated - share your progress on Social Media.
We are here to help!