Warning: This article contains a personal account of losing a child that some may find distressing.
In January 2015, NAB colleague Felicity Burgess and her husband David were rocked by the loss of their daughter Ayla.
“I gave birth to our beautiful angel Ayla at 38 weeks – born sleeping,” said Felicity. “No warning, no reason, no sound.”
“You go into hospital expecting to bring your baby home to a full house, set-up nursery and a new and exciting chapter, but we walked out with nothing but shattered hearts and empty arms.”
The first contact that Felicity had with Red Nose (a much-loved NAB customer) was when Red Nose gave her a special gift in memory of Ayla.
“They provided hand and foot moulds of our beautiful angel, at no cost,” said Felicity. “We had no idea they had been made so you can imagine the emotion when presented with them.”
“We absolutely love them and it’s so special to have something of her in our home!”
Talking made the difference
When families lose a baby suddenly and unexpectedly, Red Nose works closely with hospitals to ensure that parents have the care they need.
“You feel like the world’s moving so fast, but you’re still just trying to understand what has happened,” said Felicity.
“For example, we had a two-and-a-half-year-old son, Miller, and we didn’t know how to tell him. Red Nose guided us with the best ways to approach those conversations”
For Felicity, it was having someone to talk to that made all the difference.
“I don’t talk much about my loss and tend to bottle it all up,” she said, “so it was fantastic that they sat and spoke with us and told us what support was available.”
“I had one-on-one counselling with Red Nose, and then group counselling. It just makes you realise that you’re not alone.”
Felicity was also grateful for the support from NAB, including honouring her maternity leave and giving her the flexibility to come back to work in a different role.
“NAB was amazing and my People Leader said take all the time you need and allowed me to do what was right for me,” she said.
“If it wasn’t for Red Nose and NAB, hand on heart I don’t know how I would’ve got through it.”
Giving back to Red Nose
A year after losing Ayla, Felicity and David began many years of returning the favour to Red Nose.
“Because Red Nose had helped us so much in such a time of need, we started doing a lot of charity work to show our gratitude,” she said. “I use my NAB volunteer leave every year to be a part of Red Nose Day and honour my beautiful Ayla.”
“My volunteering can range from putting all the merchandise boxes together for Red Nose Day, volunteering in a booth at the shopping centre or going to the Red Nose house to maintain the garden and centre.”
David and Felicity have raised over $35,000 for Red Nose.
“We did a massive gala ball in honour of Ayla for her first birthday and raised nearly $30,000 there,” said Felicity “Many NAB employees attended which was very heart-warming”.
“And then David did Kokoda on Ayla’s second birthday and raised just over $6,000.”
Red Nose Day 2022
Thanks to the support from her family, Red Nose and NAB, Felicity and David had another baby, a ‘rainbow’ baby named Lucy, in December 2015.
“I had two babies that year, which was huge mentally and emotionally! But I am very, very blessed” she said.
This year, Red Nose Day falls on a pupil-free day for Miller (now 10) and Lucy (6).
“The kids are going to come and do a stand at the local shopping centre with me, and we’ll wear our memorial badges we have in honour of Ayla,” she said.
Miller doesn’t remember a lot, but he’s still connected with Ayla and to Red Nose Day.
“He always talks about her and says that ‘I’ve got two sisters’, said Felicity. “It’s beautiful and we love that he honours her. Hearing Miller talk about Ayla always makes me smile.”
Visit www.rednoseday.org.au to support the Red Nose Day Matched Giving Appeal.