Red Nose Day a chance to support families through child loss

red plush toy next to photo of baby in a frame
After losing her daughter Willow at just 26-and-a-half-weeks gestation, Lana Unicomb said Red Nose Day helped in the “healing process”.

When Scott and Shari Hogan heard son Porter crying in his bed a little over four years ago, it was hardly a cause for concern. Newborns cry.

Having known him less than a month, the new parents assumed it was a tummy pain that would sort itself out in time.

But by 9 o’clock in the morning on 18 April 2016, the pair say they were becoming increasingly concerned and drove to John Hunter Hospital to have doctors investigate.

“We truly thought they were going to say he has a tummy pain, you can go home now,” Scott said.

But when the pair arrived at The John Hunter Hospital with Porter he was whisked away immediately.

“There were doctors and nurses surrounding him with oxygen, needles and the list goes on,” Scott said.

“They just didn’t know what was happening with our boy.”

By 5pm the tiny infant was on full life support in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

The Hunter’s Shari and Scott Hogan thank Red Nose for its support when they lost baby Porter York Hogan in April 2016.

Following investigative surgery, Scott and Shari were told little Porter had a blood clot that had blocked his small bowel and starved it of oxygen.

“Full of drips, buzzers, another surgery and confronting medical conversations, the following days were a living nightmare,” Scott said.

“Porter was on life support the whole time.”

On Friday morning on the 22nd of April 2016, Porter York Hogan took his last breath.

“In the blur of the days following our boy going to heaven, Red Nose offered some special services we would not have thought of, or managed, without them,” Scott said.

“They did a cast of his hands and feet and also collected some hand and footprints, as well as some of his amazing hair.

“These memories of Porter are so treasured and we are forever grateful, as once he was buried this would not have been possible.”

Scott and Shari’s experience is one shared by three thousand Australian families every year, with nine children dying suddenly and unexpectedly every day.

Long-time Red Nose supporter Lana Unicomb agreed it was vital the community show its support on Friday 14 August.

After losing her daughter Willow at just 26-and-a-half-weeks gestation and suffering multiple early pregnancy losses, the Hunter resident says the national health program helped in the “healing process”.

“Red Nose has given me the opportunity to connect with other bereaved families to which I have made some lifelong friends,” she said.

Lana has since become a Red Nose peer supporter, volunteering with fellow bereaved families, selling merchandise and donning a big red nose on her vehicle every year.

Red Nose
Lana Unicomb is urging the community to support Red Nose Day 2020 on August 14. Photo: Peter Stoop

“At every opportunity I try to contribute my time and self to honour Willow and leave her footprint, whether it be at the annual Christmas Memorial, donating a garden, hosting a stall or volunteering my time.”

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