Saturday, March 10, 2012

Botany Community Day and Sands

Who understands you better when you have a tragedy of losing a baby?
Who walks with you further when you have a tragedy?
Who holds your hand when you have a tragedy?
Who cries with you when you have a tragedy?

I hope you never have one.
But if you have the misfortune of having one,
One of losing a baby.
Thank goodness, there is Sands.

The lovely ladies with Gary and Mark the organisers. Perhaps I should photoshop and paste my face.

On Saturday 10 March, the annual Botany Community Day was held at Botany Town Centre in South Auckland.

This great event was an opportunity for local residents to come along to the centre and get advice from organisations such as Inland Revenue, the Salvation Army and the Botany Crimewatch Patrol. Local creative arts centre Uxbridge organised a live entertainment. There were free dental checks, health checks and breast screening for the local residents.

The day is being organised by local figures including Pastor Mark van Wijk of the BotanyLife Community Church and Community Constable Gary Boles.

Sands Manukau was there.

Sands New Zealand is a network of parent-run, non-profit groups supporting families who have experienced the death of a baby. We have over 25 groups/contact people around the country.

All of the people involved in Sands give their time and energy voluntarily - we are not a government funded organisation. We do not have a national office or any paid staff. Most of our members/supporters are also bereaved parents.

We offer empathy and understanding. We are not counsellors and do not give professional advice but we do offer an opportunity and environment to share experiences, to talk and to listen. We promote awareness, understanding and support for those dealing with the death of a baby in pregnancy, birth or as a newborn, and due to medical termination or other forms of reproductive loss. We are registered with the Charities Commission.

For me, when I as shortly bereaved 22 years ago, I went to Sands meeting. There was a co-ordinator ho as bereaved 17 years, and she came a long way. I was touched. She would ring me during the day. Today, I attend some of the meetings, to try to wear the shoe of that wonderful woman ho helped me so much.

Mid last year, Television One producer Glenna Casalme contacted me to do a documentary of my book and me for the Baby Loss Awareness Week. It will be screened in October. Glenna googled me and invited me for coffee and asked if I was interested.
It is a documentary on how we can make people more aware of bereaved mums and dads and hopefully our sad experience will improve the sad statistics. She said she as also filming Sands Manukau.

The documentary, " It's OK to cry" came out on Oct 9th to mark Baby Loss Awareness Week: 9-15 Oct 2011

I watched the Sands ladies and became friends. These ladies are incredible. They do a lot of things to support newly bereaved. Today, they spent the day at their information tent.

Ka Pai. Annie OChen, Sarah Numan, Sonia Prasad, Lisa Wood, Josie Apelu and Sarah Olivet,


  1. Hi! loved having you guys at the Botany Community Day - would it be ok if i shared a link to your post on our facebook page?

    Mark van Wijk

  2. Hi Mark,

    Yes, Send me the link, and I will put it here too. e have a mutual friend, Jonathan Dove. he is my pastor. Do read this.