Muswellbrook's De-anne Douglas on a 'personal' mission to help grieving families during heartbreaking time

FAMILY TIES: Harley Fordham, De-anne Douglas and Kylie Spelde with the bio-degradable balloons that will be released at a special event in Muswellbrook next month.
FAMILY TIES: Harley Fordham, De-anne Douglas and Kylie Spelde with the bio-degradable balloons that will be released at a special event in Muswellbrook next month.

FOR De-anne Douglas, it's a very personal mission.

The Muswellbrook PCYC manager is determined to raise $6000 so she can purchase a cuddle cot, which would allow people the chance to spend precious time saying goodbye to their gorgeous babies.

It's a cause extremely close to her heart.

"All my friends would know the heartache my beautiful family has gone through in recent years with the loss of our much-loved babies Ambah De-anne, Amarni, Brayden and Ryder," Ms Douglas said.

"We were lucky enough to have time with them due to the John Hunter Hospital boasting cuddle cots for us to use.

"But, not every hospital has one.

"So, in memory of our beautiful babies, we're going to raise the $6000 needed to buy one.

"We'd like to help other families who go through this experience.

"It's an incredibly heartbreaking and traumatic instance for parents - at a time when they require loving support and care."

Ms Douglas said a cuddle cot would assist bereaved families in those crucial days after the loss of their loved one.

"The item has a cooling system that lies beneath the baby within a bassinet," she explained.

"It enables families to keep their infant close and create beautiful memories, spending as much time as they wish with them, before saying goodbye.

"This reduces the worry or distress of separation to keep handling their baby back to hospital staff to be cooled in a traditional cooling room away from them.

"For me, that's very important.

"And, I want to help any way I can."

Ms Douglas will also host a special fundraiser at the Railway Hotel on Saturday, July 6, between 4pm and 9pm.

The event is $25 for adults (a tax deductible donation), while children are admitted free of charge.

"Stash, Melly and Kyda Rock will provide the entertainment at no cost, while Greg Smith is forgoing 10 per cent of the bar sales on the evening," she said.

"At the moment, I'm looking for donations - of items or vouchers - to raffle on the night, so contact me at the Muswellbrook PCYC.

"Before dark, we'll release bio-degradable balloons into the sky at Simpson Park, too.

"But, we're doing that as a community.

"Any resident can purchase a balloon; and release it in honour of their child.

"Hopefully, it may alleviate a little bit of grief."