With a heart full of love and determination, Dr David Whalley took part in the Beachside 10km Dash on Sunday, 10 September2023, in memory of his granddaughter, Daisy, who tragically passed away at 30weeks gestation.
Before lacing up his shoes for the run, David raised over $5,200 for Gidget Foundation Australia to support our emotional wellbeing programs for expectant and new parents.
We were honoured to speak with David, hear from his heart about the inspirations behind his run, and learn about our organisation's impact on the lives of those dear to him.
Gidget Foundation Australia: You recently ran the Beachside 10km dash to fundraise for Gidget Foundation Australia. Tell us what inspired you to do that.
David: My daughter Eliza and her husband Matt recently experienced the anguish of losing one of their twin daughters, Daisy Elizabeth, at 30 weeks gestation. It was entirely unexpected and was discovered by a 'routine' ultrasound. I can still feel the heartache of Eliza's call to me that day… "Daddy, they can only find one heartbeat".
The days, weeks, and now three months since that day have been filled with grief and joy for them and all our extended family. The great joy came in the birth of a beautiful, healthy baby girl, Lucy Joy.
I decided to do a run to raise funds for the Gidget Foundation to thank them for their support for the emotional wellbeing of our family and countless others experiencing grief, anxiety and peripartum depression. I ran the Beachside 10km Dash on a crisp, sunny September day through a few tears and with Daisy's name proudly on my running singlet.
Gidget Foundation Australia: How has Gidget Foundation Australia supported your family, and what has this impact been?
David: The Gidget foundation had already been supporting Eliza with counselling sessions for several years after a miscarriage, and their help was certainly needed and welcomed again to help her and Matt navigate through the complexities of processing their grief for Daisy's passing whilst living through the daily stresses of having Lucy in the special care nursery for a month after her birth, as she had to be delivered prematurely at just over 33 weeks.
Through the help of the foundation's counsellors, Eliza has been able to anticipate, understand and cope with the emotional highs and lows that have come through in these early months. She and Matt have also received strategies to help them understand the unique ways their other children express their sadness at Daisy's passing.
Gidget Foundation Australia: What would that be if you had a chance to say something to those who supported Eliza and Matt and your fundraising?
David: I want to thank all of those who sponsored me in that run and assure them that their funds will be massively appreciated by the Gidget Foundation and be used wisely in so many life-changing ways across a variety of programs, including the Emotional Wellbeing Screening Program and the Start Talking Telehealth Service which provides free psychological counselling via a video call.
Gidget Foundation Australia: There are many non-profits in Australia - why should others follow your example to support Gidget Foundation Australia?
David: Whilst many worthy causes in Australia need support, I would encourage others to support the Gidget Foundation because the issue of perinatal anxiety and depression has, for too long, gone 'under the radar' and under-resourced. Having seen the huge difference one-on-one counselling has made to our family and having explored the many avenues of support provided by the Gidget Foundation, I now have a much greater appreciation of the immense value parents find in knowing they are not alone in their emotional struggles and that there is a way forward.