On Sunday 24 October, the annual Walk for Prems will be held to raise awareness for
the 48,000 babies born sick or premature in Australia each year. Now in it’s twelh
year, Walk for Prems is proudly presented by Baby Bunting and is the largest fundraiser
for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, Australia’s foremost charity dedicated to
supporting the families of babies born sick or before 37 weeks gestation.
Due to current Covid-19 restrictions, this year’s walk will follow a hybrid format which
includes three physical walk locations – in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth – as well as a
virtual walk option for those restricted by location. This format has been designed
with a strong emphasis on community safety, to give people freedom and flexibility to
participate, regardless of their current situation.
For the past 12 years, families, friends and supporters have come together to walk,
connect and celebrate, whilst raising money and awareness for families impacted
by prematurity. Foundation CEO, Felicia Welstead, says the past twelve months has
presented numerous challenges to families, especially those of premature and sick
babies, and the foundation recognises the importance of bringing the community
together again in support of those families in need.
“In these unprecedented times, parents of premature and sick babies are doing it
tough. Without the traditional support network of family and friends, these families
are more isolated than ever,” Ms Welstead says.
“The theme of this year’s walk is ‘Together Again for Prems’. And that is exactly what
we will be doing – coming together, both physically and virtually, to raise awareness
and much needed funds for families of premature and sick babies.”
Regardless of whether participants will be walking in person or virtually, the day will
be run similar to previous events with an MC, speeches, entertainment, competitions
and prizes thanks to the generosity of the Walk for Prems corporate sponsors. A dove
ceremony will also take place in rememberance of those families who have lost a
baby. These activities will occur at each of the physical locations as well as being
streamed online for those participating virtually.
Ms Welstead says, “Walk for Prems is a wonderfully inclusive and supportive
community event and we have planned lots of great activities and competitions
throughout the countdown to the event. Our instagram and facebook pages are
very active and we have a Walk For Prems Facebook group where people can
share tips, their walking routes and connect with other families.”
HOW TO REGISTER:
People can register themselves or a team through the Walk for Prems website, as well
as fund raise: www.walkforprems.org.au. Each registrant will receive a race bib to
proudly wear on the day and a 2021 Walk Medal for participating. A selection of Walk
merchandise including T-shirts, branded face masks and portable hand sanitiser are
available, as well as other Life’s Little Treasures merchandise.
HOW LIFE’S LITTLE TREASURES HELPS FAMILIES:
In 2020/2021, the foundation has continued to support as many families as possible
despite 6 months of suspended or limited ability to deliver their services, due to
lockdowns and limits on volunteers. These services have included oering digital
products, running support events for families through social media, and encouraging
families to stay connected – particularly in those early uncertain days in hospital, and
during the transition to home, once they have le the security of hospital.
• Financial Assistance packages to 136 families with a total value of $30,000
• Information and resources to: 149 Hospitals; which included: 11,846 Tip sheets, 5,300
NICU/SCN books, 533 ‘Precious Prem Packs’, 3,214 ‘Little Bag of Calm’ given to new
parents, 2,114 ‘My Colourful journey’ sibling colouring in books, 864 ‘My Brave Journey’
sibling colouring in books, addressing sibling loss
• Supplied 1,620 breakfast boxes with a fortnightly Brekkie Bar available in 6 hospitals
• 99 sessions of ‘NICU connections’ facebook group chat facilitated by trained peer
support volunteers with 1,228 people attending in total
• 12,630 milestone gis sent to families in celebration (e.g. Mother‘s Day, Father’s Day)
By registering for Walk for Prems 2021, participants will be assisting Life’s Little Treasures
Foundation in continue to provide their products and services to those families in
need in 2022.