Page 2199 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 21 June 2011

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on the Australian calendar ever since. In their first year alone, Red Nose Day organisers were successful in raising in excess of $1.3 million for the SIDS Foundation. This event encourages us all to get a little silly to raise money for a worthy cause and is held on the last Friday of June each year. This year it takes place on 24 June, this Friday. The Sudden Infant Death Association of the ACT and Southern Districts, what we know as SIDS and Kids, was formed in 1978 by a small group of parents who had lost their children to SIDS. Since 1999, SIDS and Kids has offered support to families who have lost children unexpectedly from SIDS or any other cause.

Losing a child is surely one of the most devastating experiences someone could ever endure. Often that pain can be magnified when the cause of the death remains uncertain. This is where SIDS and Kids can be so helpful. Whilst almost every Australian instantly recognises Red Nose Day, they may not realise how their contribution goes to help those in need. The funds raised from this great day do not solely go to research. Indeed, much of the funds raised on the day go directly to assisting families with such loss.

Among the many services SIDS and Kids offer is a 24-hour crisis support line so that the help is there whenever it is needed. Further, other professional counselling and support groups for parents, grandparents and friends are also provided. They are able to assist families when death first occurs and can even support in making funeral arrangements. Of course, all these services are offered free of charge. One of the most successful campaigns in the SIDS foundation has been the safe sleeping program and to date it is estimated that the lives of 6,500 children have been saved as a direct result of this effort.

It is for all these reasons and many more that I am proud to offer some support to this commendable organisation. Late last year I was fortunate enough to be invited to the opening of the SIDS and Kids facility at the old Chifley primary school site. Jeremy Hanson, Brendan Smyth and Steve Doszpot also attended. I am pleased to see the organisation continue to go from strength to strength.

Earlier this month I had the privilege of attending the launch of the 2011 Red Nose Day and I will be sure to don my red nose this coming Friday. Members and staff who are interested in supporting this great cause can get merchandise from the office of Zed Seselja.

I would like to thank all those in our community here in the ACT who helped make this happen. In particular, I acknowledge the staff at SIDS and Kids ACT. I include the chief executive officer, Karen Faichney, the fund development coordinators, Marnie Barton and Trudy Taylor, the grief counsellors, Mandy Cox and Fiona Vanderhook, and the safe sleeping educators, Maggie Salmon-Room and Catherine Cotter. I would also like to acknowledge the current board of SIDS and Kids ACT: the chair, Richard Asher, the treasurer, Steve Merenda, members, Alison Kent, Denise Lamb and Heather Ross, and family group representatives, Peta Martin and Trish Brody.

I would also like to mention the businesses who assist the organisation to perform their roles and duties, including Tobin Brothers, AutoCo and Pedders Suspension,

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