In Gear | Rotary in Southern New Zealand In Gear - Issue 3 - Page 64

weren’t available at that time in Wellington. Instead, Emmerson and Ben took Adisyn home with her wee body preserved by ice packs tucked beneath her. “We had her with us for three days – but, because she was just on ice, after the first 24 hours, she had to be covered,” Emmerson recalls. Shortly after losing Adisyn, the devastated couple moved to Dunedin to rebuild their lives, and were determined to both remember and honour their daughter. What evolved was their tribute, Adisyn’s Hope for Others. Through it the couple pays it forward in their daughter’s name, with everything from random acts of kindness to special gifts for children in hospital, to fundraising for sick youngsters. “They’re being inspired to do it in their areas,” she says. “I think they see, if we can do it, they can do it. It’s happening all over the country – it’s amazing. Already, there’s a woman in Lower Hutt who’s started fundraising for a CuddleCot, because she saw our story online. I’ve been getting a whole lot of inquiries around the country, looking for advice on what we did, where to go and who to talk to.” As well as giving parents the extra time with their baby through CuddleCots, Emmerson’s also driven by a passion to bring baby and infant loss – and, in fact, any grief – out of the shadows, so it’s acknowledged and spoken about openly, freely and honestly. She’s been particularly blown away by the older men who have praised her bravery in speaking out in In Gear, and sharing her and Ben’s journey for the benefit of others. Organising the donation of three CuddleCots, plus spare parts funded Emmerson Morgan by the Rotary Foundation, as well as bassinets and linen, has been their most ambitious and “It’s been really heartwarming – them commenting on involved project to date. how brave it is for us to share our story, how inspiring it The formal presentation was followed a week later by another poignant service, where a karakia was performed. is and how it will inspire others. “The blessing ceremony was lovely – and they said the CuddleCots will be blessed every time they’re used, which is really beautiful. “I encourage people to be open – why should we be afraid to express ourselves? “There was a real energy there ... the connections that are now being made, and the information that’s being shared is amazing.” One of the most touching developments since In Gear’s story in November has been bereaved parents in other parts of the country looking to follow Emmerson and Ben’s lead. “We don’t do grief very well in New Zealand. Because we don’t talk about it, people feel so alone. “I think sometimes, too, we live in a society where there’s, somehow, something wrong with being sad. “What people get out of our story doesn’t necessarily need to be about baby loss and CuddleCots. It could be about anything, anything that someone’s going through. How you can, as part of your healing, reach out; how you can tell your story, and how you can then get support, make something happen and pay it forward.” Emmerson, Ben, Queen Mary Maternity Centre staff, friends, family and fellow NRG members come together to realise a very special wish. Page 64 | In Gear - Rotary in southern New Zealand - District 9980 | www.rotarydistrict9980.org