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Category Archives: Thank you Thursday

Thank You Thursday: A Home for Hummingbirds

Supporting a loved one with a life-limiting condition or through palliative care is hard on any family. It’s emotional and physically draining. But what about when the person with the life-limiting condition is a child? Your child. And in addition to supporting your one sick child, you must still love and care for your other children. And what about your job; what happens to that? How will this affect your financial situation? Sadly this is the reality for about 3,700 families across Queensland today.

And at the heart of one of those families, are foster parents, Paul and Gabrielle Quilliam, who about ten years ago fostered a little girl with a life-limiting condition. Among transplants and surgeries, they provided love and care, but the stress, emotional and financial, was great. They tried to reach out for support, perhaps some respite at a hospice, but no such place existed in Queensland.


That’s when Paul and Gabrielle made the decision to do something to change that. And that decision would be the conception of Hummingbird House – Queensland’s first children’s hospice and only the third in Australia.

Gabrielle recently shared their story at a TEDx talk which you can view here:


Hummingbird House has been created to provide world-class respite and end of life care for children with a life-limiting condition and their families, and to help families discover moments and create memories to last a lifetime.

Despite its small size and fragility a hummingbird can be radiant and bright. Many cultures believe the hummingbird is a symbol of love, the lightness of being and the presence of joy. In many ways the hummingbird is representative of the children who will seek respite at this new facility with their families.

Hummingbird House will offer tailored stays for children with life-limiting conditions, their parents and their siblings. It will be a holistic approach for the whole family.


Later this month, on Saturday 21st in fact, Hummingbird House will be having its housewarming gala as it gets ready to open its doors to the first families that will call it home. And this Thursday we say thanks to Paul and Gabrielle for their vision and leadership in making this possible.

See you in the pond,
The Fish Chick


Thank You Thursday: Shaking Things Up

Daddy Fish and I at the football

It’s a special day today, and those that know me well, will know what it is. It’s my birthday. But that’s actually not why it’s a special day. It’s special because I share my birthday with someone amazing… my Dad. (Just like Peppa Pig’s father is called Daddy Pig, let’s call my Dad, The Fish Chick’s father, Daddy Fish.) So, in light of this special day, and this very special bloke, I’ve decided to get a little personal with today’s Thank You Thursday blog post. I hope you won’t mind…

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Thank You Thursday: Brave and Beautiful

Next Tuesday, March 8th, is International Women’s Day. On this date, every year, people around the world celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. So, in honour of this occasion, today’s Thank You Thursday blog is going to celebrate an inspiring Tasmanian woman and the organisation she founded that supports young women across Australia.

Bernadette and her son at the Barnados Dinner

Bernadette Black was 16 when she became pregnant with her son, Damien. Young and nervous, while she had the love of her family, she felt there wasn’t much outside support for her. That was in 1993. In 2006 she published a book called, Brave Little Bear, about her own experiences a pregnant teenager (and mother) to hopefully give hope to other young girls going through a similar situation. Then, in 2006, nominated by her now 16-years-old son, she won the Barnados Australian Mother of the Year.

In that same year she began the Brave Foundation in Hobart. The interest in her book had been overwhelming. It was soon in secondary schools and health clinics around the country; and requests for more books and advice streamed in. Bernadette realised there was a lack of centralised support for pregnant teenage girls and she felt inspired to do something. She had a vision of building up ‘the village of support and acceptance around every person facing teenage pregnancy and parenthood, ensuring a happy, healthy and skilled future is available for all‘.

Her vision has certainly become a reality, with the Brave Foundation expanding and late last year was launched as a national charity. Take a few moments to watch Bernadette tell her story and how she came to founding Brave Foundation:

In Australia, 25,000 teenage pregnancies were recorded in 2012; or around 70 teenage pregnancies every day. Brave Foundation aims to equip those experiencing teenage pregnancy and parenting with resources, referral and education opportunities to facilitate happy, healthy and skilled families over time.

Their website has an interactive timeline for young expectant mothers to guide them through each week of their pregnancy, with practical advice and age-specific content such as talking with teachers at school. The website also provides other real life stories and encourages young girls to make three promises to themselves for life after the baby is born, as the Founder and CEO, Bernadette did. At the time of her pregnancy, and motivated by a teacher, she promised herself: 1) To be a good mum, 2) To finish her education, and 3) To write a pamphlet or book to help others. The Foundation also provides education scholarships so pregnant girls can complete secondary school without the financial burden.

This Thank You Thursday, we give a shout out to Bernadette and her incredible work with the Brave Foundation, helping so many young women be brave at a time when they often feel they cannot.

See you in the pond,

The Fish Chick


Thank You Thursday: A Plus for Schools

Photo courtesy of Australian Schools Plus.

About this time every year thousands of Australian children head into schools all across the country, ready for another school year. Another year of learning, growing and experiencing the world under the supervision of some incredible teachers. And while these students have educational opportunities far greater than many children in other corners of the globe, unfortunately there is great disparity across the schools in our country.

There has been a long held belief in the education community that philanthropy can help change this inconsistency, but the schools that need the most financial support do not usually have deductible gift recipient status to provide tax deductible receipts to donors.

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Thank You Thursday: A Bit of Love for Pets

Homelessness is a problem worldwide but one aspect of this issue that is often overlooked is the pets that belong to those living without a home. The human connection with pets is a powerful one. Our country has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world with over 60% of households owning a pet. We can only assume that this high rate of pet ownership would also translate into our homeless community.

In the United States it is estimated that 5-10% of the 3.5m homeless people have a dog or cat. That’s more than 175,000 homeless pets on the streets of America. What is happening to these animal companions? One organisation, Pets of the Homeless, was established to provide some much needed assistance to these devoted, fur-buddies.

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Thank You Thursday: More than Words

I regularly hear about organisations that are doing some incredible work in the world, and the group featured in today’s blog is no exception. It’s one that has stood out to me since I first heard about it, perhaps it was a result of my love of reading and writing, or perhaps it was the fact that I have had some wonderful relationships with the elderly people in my life.

This Thank You Thursday we’re fortunate to have one of our dear Fish friends and associates, Laura Keily, share with us her passion for and involvement with a small Melbourne-based charity, helping reduce the feelings of isolation in aged care homes and truly reveal the value of our community’s seniors. Read the rest of this entry

Thank You Thursday: Bellies Full of Love

As a mummy myself I can vouch for how difficult it is bringing your new bundle of joy home and getting into the swing of your new hectic routine. With all the feeding, sterilising, crying, cuddles, washing and sleepless nights I can remember asking myself ‘When do I get to go to the toilet?‘. This time was made even more difficult for me by having no family nearby.

One New Zealand organisation has really started to reach out to those in similar situations and need. Bellyful delivers food to mothers with new babies and also for young families with a loved one with serious illness.

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