By Rosa Kent -
For her birthday this year, Sarah Macdonald set up a registry through The Good Registry to raise money for The Neonatal Trust.
The Neonatal Trust provides specialised support across New Zealand’s 23 Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) for the whānau of premature and sick full-term babies.
Sarah and her partner Andrew experienced this generosity and support first-hand, throughout the beautiful life of their baby boy, Jay.
Jay sadly passed away in September, after 6.5 weeks in NICU.
Sarah describes The Neonatal Trust as a vital part of the NICU journey. “It just wouldn’t be the same without them,” she says.
“I just have such great memories of the kindness that we received...I cannot fault it. It was such a traumatic time, but I had the most amazing people around me,” she says.
Neonatal Trust – A charity with big heart
Sarah, Andrew, and Jay’s NICU journey was during the national COVID-19 lockdown in August, meaning their family were unable to visit them in NICU.
Because of this, Sarah says, “We genuinely felt like the The Neonatal Trust and the NICU team became Jay’s extended family, and I don’t say that lightly.”
Sarah says that the people she met from The Neonatal Trust do this mahi out of love. She says they didn’t help because they had to, “they were just genuinely caring people.”
Tasia from the Wellington team built a relationship with them weeks before Jay’s birth.
Sarah says that she would ask Tasia to visit Jay when she could. “[Tasia] was always there for me,” Sarah says. “She was the kindest person you could ever meet.”
The Neonatal Trust also provided Sarah and Andrew with a care pack, which included scent heart pads. These are fabric hearts that are designed to be worn under a parent’s shirt to get their scent on them and then placed under babies’ heads - so they can smell their parents when they aren’t together.
Sarah says the La-Z-Boy chairs were another significant contribution from The Neonatal Trust.
“We sat in them for hours. You’re so exhausted - so to me that was quite significant,” Sarah says.
She says that such thoughtful contributions allowed them to feel “relaxed and comfortable, to spend quality time with Jay making memories.”
A total of $2195 was gifted to Sarah’s birthday registry from 45 generous donors, to help The Neonatal Trust continue providing families and babies with specialised support during their NICU journeys. This money is enough to provide support packs for about 200 families in need.
Sarah describes being able to give back to The Neonatal Trust in this way, through The Good Registry, as “turning my grief and trauma energy into something positive”.
“Having The Good Registry as an outlet to celebrate Jay is amazing and it meant I could share Jay’s story while promoting The Neonatal Trust at the same time.”
Sarah hopes that sharing her story through The Good Registry might help other bereaved parents feel more inclined and open to talk about their babies as well.
“A lot of grieving parents find that when their baby passes away, it can be really hard to talk about their babies because a lot of people feel uncomfortable discussing baby loss, naturally, because it’s so heavy,” Sarah says. “But the more everyone talks about it, it will make it easier for bereaved parents and they’ll feel less alone. It’s a very lonely journey otherwise.”
“There are so many amazing memories we have...there’s the heaviness and there’s also the celebration of Jay,” says Sarah, adding, “I used The Good Registry as an opportunity to share about him, and that was special to me.”
As she reflects on Jay’s life, Sarah describes her son’s legendary head of hair which always looked like it was blowing in the wind. “He was named after the Blue Jay bird and they actually have these feathers spiked up on their head so it was really uncanny that his hair was like that too!”
The Good Registry is privileged to be part of the celebration of Jay’s beautiful life and to help share Sarah, Andrew, and Jay’s story.
Sarah urges anyone to donate to The Neonatal Trust when they can. Sarah and Andrew are aiming to raise $5000 by the end of 2022! You can support them with this goal via Jay Mac’s memorial registry.
Or you could set up a fundraising registry of your own for a birthday or other special event over the next year.
Find out more about The Neonatal Trust and other ways to support them here.