Tiny Sparks WA Inc was founded on the 13th November 2013 and launched February 2014.
The founding families of Tiny Sparks WA all had one of their pregnancies impacted by preterm premature rupture of membranes (pPROM), resulting in the premature birth of their sons.
It is the gratitude the families felt for the amazing medical professionals involved in the world of maternal foetal medicine, neonatology, research and support services as well as the obvious benefits of peer support that provided the motivation to start this charity. It is the spark their tiny sons showed as they were fighting to live, that inspired the name.
Tiny Sparks WA is the first organisation in Australia to support families facing high-risk pregnancy, and the first Western Australian based organisation to support families with newborns requiring the NICU or SCN. The founders decided that a local focus was imperative to ensure the unique needs that come with the distances in WA are met. The fact is that only KEMH specialises in high-risk pregnancy, and there are only two neonatal intensive care units in WA, both located in Perth.
'Parents of Prems', were welcomed into the Tiny Sparks WA fold in October 2014. Parents of Prems was a a small WA charity with similar values, providing care packages to WA families with babies born less than 1kg. Both organisations recognised an opportunity for collaboration and growth by joining forces. From January 2015 the services that 'Parents of Prems' offered continued in full under the Tiny Sparks WA banner.
Why does this community need support?
Enduring a high-risk pregnancy, watching your baby struggle to breathe, not bringing your baby home, not knowing if your child is meeting their 'appropriate' stage of development, protecting your child with a low immune system from normal childhood germs…these are without a doubt some of the toughest challenges any parent can face. It is a very lonely journey and one which your family and friends can empathise with, but will never understand unless they too, have travelled a similar journey. Peer support groups provide an incredible community for families to share their experiences, not feel so alone, and understand that the way they are feeling about their experience is normal.
The incidence of preterm birth is increasing. In Western Australia in 2011 (1)
- 2,755 babies were born pre-term (before 37 weeks).
- 10.5% of all babies born required the care of a Level 3 or Level 2 Special Care Nursery.
- There were 332 perinatal deaths.
The founders believe that investing in parent education and research is imperative to reducing the rate of premature birth and reducing the number of babies born sick.
They look forward to working with the Western Australian community to raise awareness of issues faced by our families, support our families and help reduce the incidence of preterm birth.
On the 15th January 2014, Tiny Sparks WA Inc was licensed under the Charitable Collections Act (1946) to collect money or goods for the objects of the organisation being a charitable purpose.
On the 14th July 2014, Tiny Sparks WA Inc was registered as a Health Promotion Charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) and received Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status with the Australian Taxation Office.
(1) Western Australia’s Mothers and Babies, 2011 (Department of Health, Western Australia, June 2014)