Hope from heartache Tara McDonald, Bears of Hope co-founder Amanda Bowles and Blacktown Hospital birth unit staff with a cuddle cot donated in memory of Tara’s son Ryan.
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TweetFacebookThe death of a child is one of the most heartbreaking and difficult times for any parent to go through, but one charity is hoping their donation willhelp grieving families in Blacktown.

Bears of Hope isan organisation that supportspeople who experience the loss of a baby during pregnancy or at birth.

The charity recently donated a cuddle cot to Blacktown Hospitalin memory of Ryan McDonald, who was stillborn at the hospital in 2010.

The cot is fitted with an insulated cold blanket andacts like a refrigerated bassinet, allowing babies who have passed away to stay in the room with their parentsrather than in a morgue.

Ryan’s mum Tara McDonald, from Quakers Hill, said she hopes the cot will helpother parents grievingthe loss of a baby.

Ms McDonald said she was blindsided when she lost Ryan, who was born stillfour days before her due date.

“I’d had a perfect pregnancy; I had two other children so I knew what to expect and I’d been feeling great, there were no issues,” she said.

“At 39 weeksI noticed that I couldn’t feel much movement from Ryan so I went to Blacktown Hospital.I didn’t have any idea what was going to happen.”

Ms McDonald started working with Bears of Hope after Ryan’s birth, attending monthly support meetings and eventually deciding to raise awareness of the importance of cuddle cots to grieving parents.

“When we lost Ryan, Blacktown Hospital didn’t have a cuddle cot and I know it would have made such a difference to us,” she said.

“We would have done anything to have a little more time with Ryan, in a way that was comfortable and convenient. The cuddle cot just gives families that choice.”

Bears of Hope co-founder Amanda Bowles said the cots had been popular with parents.

“We want to reassure families that they can spend as much time as they like with their baby, without the fear of the baby needing to be cooled in a traditional mortuary,” she said.

“Giving the cuddle cot to Blacktown Hospital allowed us to honour Ryan’s memory, as well as the advocacy and fundraising efforts that his family have provided Bears of Hope.”

Blacktown Hospital birthing unit manager Julieanne Barratt said the ward was grateful for the donation.

“Our staff understand the gravity of the loss of a baby for parents,” she said.

“The cuddle cot really allows families to spend a few more moments with their child; we know our patients will benefit.”