HOBART families will walk together in unity along the Montrose Foreshore on Sunday 27 October to support the 48,000 premature or sick babies born every year in Australia.
The Walk for Prems is the largest annual fundraiser for the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation, which is Australia’s foremost charity dedicated to supporting the families of babies born sick or prior to 37 weeks gestation.
This will be the 10th year the event has run, with walks happening simultaneously in Hobart, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra, Perth, Cairns, Townsville, Ballarat, Goulburn Valley and Gippsland.
Hoor Jehan Noorani is a Lenah Valley resident who has been participating in the walks since her son Areeb was born premature three years ago.
“Areeb was born at 800 grams,” Mrs Noorani said.
“It took 11 days for me to be able to hold him because he was too delicate, his skin was too delicate, and he was on breathing support – that just became so normal for us.”
Mrs Noorani said Areeb was born at 26 weeks and had to be kept in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for three months.
“I had to leave my job, but I would be there with him from the morning to the evening for the whole three months and my husband would come straight after work,” she said.
“It was really difficult to try and juggle home and going to the hospital every day.
“There was also the emotional rollercoaster where every day the doctor would let you know how his [Areeb] day has been – has he been gaining weight, is he feeding, and every night we had to leave him there and come to an empty house.
“It’s definitely something I wouldn’t wish on anyone, but then we were just really blessed that he came out unscathed.”
Mrs Noorani said the Life’s Little Treasures Foundation provided a lot of support for not just them, but many families who have a premature baby.
“Whenever you hear of someone being pregnant or having a kid you just take it for granted that it’ll be normal, but for a lot of people it’s not normal,” she said.
“There’s so much that goes into keeping your child in the NICU, especially emotional support, so they [Life’s Little Treasures Foundation] raise funds for people who need it – I think they’re doing a great job all over Australia.
“They also contacted us checking whether we needed emotional support or to talk to someone who understood what we were going through – it’s a really important cause and a lot more people need to know about it.”
Mrs Noorani encouraged everyone to come along to support the walking event.
“Any baby can be born premature, so it’s really close to home,” Mrs Noorani said.
“It could easily happen to you or someone in your family, so it’s really good to come along.”
Walk for Prems has raised over 1.8 million and this year, Life’s Little Treasures Foundation hopes to raise $350,000.
At the beginning of the walk, participants will pause to show their respect for the families whose babies have sadly passed away.
Life’s Little Treasurers Foundation honours their babies’ memory with the ceremonial release of white doves by a family that has lost a child.
Walk for Prems 2019 will take place at Montrose Foreshore from 9:30am on Sunday 27 October.
To register for Walk for Prems 2019, visit www.walkforprems.org.au.
Caption: Hoor Jehan Noorani and her three-year-old son Areeb Khandwalla will participate in the Walk for Prems 2019.