1 in every 10 babies is born premature. That’s more than 26,000 each year in Australia alone and around 15 million worldwide.
Life’s Little Treasures Foundation - Australia’s foremost charity dedicated to supporting the families of babies born sick or before 37 weeks gestation – is taking part in World Prematurity Day, a global movement which seeks to shine a light on the challenges and burdens associated with preterm birth.
CEO of Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, Felicia Welstead, explains: “World Prematurity Day is about honouring the babies born too soon, celebrating those who graduated from the neonatal unit to eventually go home and remembering the babies who lost their fight to survive.”
Prematurity remains the number one cause of neonatal deaths worldwide, with 76 babies being born preterm in Australia each day. Causes for why babies are born prematurely are still not fully understood, making it difficult to predict or prevent premature labour.
“Babies born too early may face life-threatening complications and have lifelong health problems. One in every 5 babies born premature requires some form of resuscitation at birth and will often suffer further complications, as a result of entering the world too soon. Usually, these babies will be admitted to a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) or a Special Care Nursery (SCN) due to the complexities associated with being born premature,” says Ms Welstead.
“The chances are you know a premmie baby but what you might not know is how their lives have been impacted by being born prematurely – from spending extra time in the hospital, to requiring surgeries and medication, to continual developmental interventions. Not to mention, the impact this has had on their family.”
When a baby is born premature, it can be unexpected, leaving families are unprepared for the journey ahead. Life’s Little Treasures Foundation provides vital information, support and connection opportunities to families in hospital and when they go home.
“We’ve seen and experienced first-hand how having a premature baby takes an emotional, psychological and financial toll on families with many of our team having the lived experience. We understand the feeling of helplessness and isolation that families often go through at a time when things are so uncertain. That’s where Life’s Little Treasures Foundation comes in! We provide a range of products and services which include our NICU Connections parent groups to enable families facing similar circumstances to come together and share their experience. We also supply educational content, care packages and breakfast boxes as well as financial assistance in the form of accommodation and fuel vouchers to families during their baby’s hospital stay,” says Ms Welstead.
On Friday 17 November, Life’s Little Treasures Foundation is asking families to share photos and stories of their little treasures on social media with #76borntoosoon to help raise awareness of the impact of prematurity in Australia. They’re also asking cities, landmarks and businesses to Light it Purple in acknowledgement and support of their community of vulnerable babies and families.
If you’d like to make a donation to Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, visit www.lifeslittletreasures.org.au. All donations over $2 are tax deductible. Donations assist Life’s Little Treasures Foundation in continuing to provide essential products and services to families in need.
“Even as little as $10 goes a long way, enabling us to provide a family with our comprehensive hospital booklet to help inform them during this vulnerable time,” says Ms. Welstead.
HOW LIFE’S LITTLE TREASURES FOUNDATION HELPS FAMILIES:
Life's Little Treasures Foundation is the Australia's foremost charity dedicated to supporting families with babies born premature or sick. In 2022/2023, Life’s Little Treasures Foundation provided:
· 192 families with financial assistance packages to the value of $250 per family
· information and resources to 149 Hospitals, including 1556 Precious Prem Packs and over 2500 ‘Little Bag of Calm’ to distribute to new parents
· 4,260 breakfast boxes with a fortnightly Brekkie Bar available in 8 hospitals around the country
· 124 sessions of our virtual ‘NICU Connections’ event facilitated by trained peer support volunteers; and
· 21,974 milestone gifts sent to families in celebration of Mother‘s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas etc.
For interviews, images and more information, please contact:
Marketing & Communications Manager, Life’s Little Treasures Foundation
0479 151 731