Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has cut a brightly-iced cake to mark Red Nose Day and the 30-year effort to save precious little lives.
Friday is the 30th Red Nose Day, representing three decades of research funded by the event to help babies around Australia sleep soundly. It's estimated the lives of 10,000 babies have been saved thanks to the services of Red Nose.
Googong three-year-old Isobel Carroll, whose family has been supported by Red Nose, almost stole the show, also helping to cut the cake.
With about 330,000 babies born in Australia each year – 108,000 to first-time parents – the Red Nose safe sleeping messages being taught to parents in hospitals are helping to eliminate accidental infant death while sleeping.
Red Nose representatives met with Mr Turnbull in his office at Parliament House on Thursday.
He was joined in the cake cutting by Red Nose National Scientific Advisory Group Chair Professor Craig Pennell, Red Nose Board Chair Craig Heatley, Red Nose Head of Health and Advocacy Jane Wiggill, and parents and children from a Canberra-based Red Nose support group for bereaved families.
The two-tied cake represented the two grassroots services offered by Red Nose – safe sleeping education and bereavement support.
Mr Turnbull said he was delighted to be able to celebrate the occasion.
Nicole and Andrew Carroll, of Googong, tragically lost their son Samuel who was stillborn in 2013. He was born full-term at the Canberra Hospital but his heart had stopped and he had to be resuscitated. Their son suffered severe brain damage and organ failure and he was taken off life support the next day.
Mrs Carroll said the family were directed to SIDS and Kids ACT, now Red Nose, for counselling, meeting other people who had suffered the unfathomable grief of losing a child and finding friends for life. They were also supported through the pregnancies of Isobel and Elsie, and the anxiety that something could go wrong again.
"I think if we didn't have SIDS and Kids, or Red Nose as it is now, we would be in a completely different space,'' Mrs Carroll said.
Mr Heatley said the meeting was an important way to acknowledge the meaning of Red Nose Day.
“Over the past 30 years Australians have dug deep to donate to Red Nose Day, and this has allowed Red Nose to significantly support research into SIDS and stillbirth, deliver safe sleeping education to all new parents in Australia, and provide bereavement support services to families touched by the death of a child,” he said.
“As an organisation, we receive limited Government funding, and we really rely on the generosity of the Australian community to fund ongoing bereavement support services, vital research, and education projects such as eLearning programs for new parents and childcare educators.”
As one of Australia’s leading stillbirth researchers and professor of maternal fetal medicine at the University of Newcastle, Professor Pennell, said that almost 10,000 babies’ lives had been saved, thanks to Red Nose.
“We have come a long way,'' Professor Pennell said.
"Through research we have developed evidence-based education practices, such as sleeping baby on its back, that have contributed to reducing the risk of sudden and unexpected death
“But still, nine deaths a day – six from stillbirth – are too high, which is why we welcome the Government’s involvement in our research area with the establishment of the Senate’s Select Committee on Stillbirth Research and Education.''
People are encouraged to visit www.rednoseday.com.au to make a donation and help save little lives.
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