Vaccine Needle

Facts about Vaccines

There is so much incorrect information about it on the internet, often spread around by those who sell “alternatives” to vaccines.

If you’re ever struggling to really weigh up the risks vs benefits of vaccination, speak to an ICU doctor – they will be the ones who treat children who are suffering badly from a vaccine-preventable disease, or in very rare cases, a vaccine reaction. I have never, ever met an ICU doctor who is not completely supportive of vaccination.

Catherine Hughes




A Letter to Riley – one year on.

Dear Riley,

Today it has been one year since we held you as you left this world, and left a huge un-repairable hole in our hearts.

We whispered promises to you which we have tried to keep. All the time we would have spent cuddling you has been channeled into trying to sure this doesn’t happen to other undeserving babies and children. We are so sorry it happened to you. It has been a hard year for us.

You have been loved by more people than you ever got to meet. Your sister talks about you all the time, she loved being your big sister, even if it was just for a short time. She loved you so much she even was excited to help change your nappies – that is love, coming from a three year old!

We’ve been replaying in our heads over and over those last few days and hours with you. Even though you died sleeping, Our greatest hope is that you could feel our love and hugs and cuddles as you left us. I hope you heard the lullaby we sang as you drifted away from us.

We can’t believe it’s been a year. We can’t believe we’ve survived. If we could hit rewind, we would have done it a long time ago.

We love you so much.

xxx Mummy & Daddy

A Mother’s Plea – Light For Riley

A year ago I was sitting there helpless next to Riley and decided to put this plea up on my Facebook, urging friends and family to have a whooping cough vaccination.

“If you haven’t been immunised against whooping cough (pertussis) please consider getting it done. Heartbreaking to watch 4 week old Riley struggle with it at PMH please keep him in your thoughts!

I remember this day clearly. We had just been moved to a room right near the nurses desk because they wanted to keep a closer eye on him. While we still hadn’t received the swab results yet, his doctor was convinced he had whooping cough. We were told to be prepared to stay in hospital for a long time, possibly weeks or even months. I remember (stupidly) feeling so much positivity. I never entertained the thought that he wouldn’t make it. My brain refused to go there. He was having a tough time but he was going to get better. That was the only thought running through my mind. It wasn’t until he was moved to ICU the next day that I started to feel seriously worried.

Wish I had cuddled him more when he was in hospital.

Catherine Hughes.

baby booties

Dad’s Perspective on Grief – Greg Hughes

I found this photo while I was shuffling through our folders and even when Rileybear was still brand new you could see the incredible amount of love our daughter possessed for him.

Our little girl has had to do so much growing up in the past 12 months and for me it’s been the most difficult aspect of our grieving process. As ridiculous as it might sound, I’d never actually seen my daughter cry purely because her feelings were hurt. Sure, she’d grizzle over not getting her own way, but the first time I heard weeping and I walked into her room to find her sobbing saying ‘I miss my little man’ almost ended me.

She’s had to learn to cope with the enormity of loss at a far earlier age than I would’ve liked and it’s something that I think will always remain, even subconsciously, as part of her identity. Thankfully, we’ve had so many generous people who have donated Teddies, Photo Albums and other little items that she cherishes and which constantly remind her of her brother.

These days she seems to be coping quite well. She’s ecstatic that she’s getting the opportunity to be a big sister again and she finds solace in sending her brother letters via balloon each month to show him what she’s up to at school and how much she misses him. While she takes comfort in these actions I’ll keep encouraging it, as painful as it might be for me as a parent.

I think the most upsetting aspect of what we do is the extremely personal encounters with individuals who’ve lost a child or in some cases children. I’ve met Mums and Dads on our travels who’ve lost as many as 14 children and it’s a club that no parent wants to be a part of. From miscarriage, to still borns and children who were cruelly taken far too soon, no parent nor family should ever have to endure the heartache associated with the loss of a child.

For those of you who’ve only recently experienced this awful circumstance, I implore you to seek support. You’re not alone, you shouldn’t have to deal with this by yourself and unfortunately there’s too many of us who’ve experienced similar paths to yourself and have walked the same journey you’re about to travel.

Grief left unchecked has the ability to tear families apart and ruin lives, and it’s for this reason that I post this – to remind those of you who’ve experienced the cruellest loss of all, that you’re not to blame. You should never be shamed for grieving your child and there’s no ‘timeframe’ to ‘get over it’. This is a lifelong scar that may fade, but never disappears completely and can be reopened at the most inopportune times.

I’d love to hear from those of you brave enough to share your stories. I truly think you’re incredible.

To the bereaved Mums, Dads, Sisters, Brothers, Grandparents, Guardians and all those in between – I salute you.

-Riley’s Dad


Melbourne Pregnancy and Babies Expo 2016

A big thank you to all of the incredible immunisation nurses who volunteered their time this weekend to vaccinate 438 expecting parents against whooping cough at the Melbourne Pregnancy & Babies expo on the weekend. You have helped to protect many little lives from this nasty disease!

Unfortunately, in other parts of Australia, many Dads-to-be (and partners of pregnant women) are unable to get their hands on these boosters. They are not provided for free in most states (except VIC & NT), and therefore expectant Dads are forced to try their luck at obtaining stock privately, which is difficult due to major shortages around the country.

Parents want to do the right thing and vaccinate themselves to protect their vulnerable newborns. I hope more can be done by health departments around the country to ensure that these boosters can be more easily accessed.