Introducing our Committee
Rebecca has over 12 years experience in customer service, inventory management and retail management. Rebecca has worked for high profile Australian companies such as Telstra, Australian Geographic and most recently The Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Rebecca and her husband had a very long battle trying to conceive their first child, after it was discovered that Rebecca had a condition called Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Initially they were told that they would 'never have children', but sought second and third opinions until through the help of another organisation the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome Association of Australia (POSAA) they learnt that there were other methods available for Assisted Reproductive Therapy (ART). After 9 months of intensive herbal treatments they were overjoyed to finally see 2 pink lines appear, 6 years after initially trying to start their family. Early July 2007 Rebecca gave birth to a very healthy baby boy. She experienced a traumatic birth, that resulted in an emergency caesarian after 21 hours of labour when her son failed to progress and had it was discovered there was meconium in her waters. Thankfully he survived.
Rebecca returned to her position within the Commonwealth Bank 10 months after the birth of her son. After being back at work for only 2 months they were shocked and excited to learn that they were expecting their second child. After everything that they had been through 'this' was their little miracle baby. The pregnancy was quite normal, other than slight morning sickness early on. In November Rebecca, her husband and their son went along to their 20 week morphology ultrasound eager to find out what the sex of their 'miracle baby' was. They walked out knowing so much more than they ever thought would be possible. It was discovered that their little girl had a congenital limb difference. The ensuing days and weeks were filled with specialist appointments with genetic Doctors, Limb Specialists, counselors and there was no organisation that filled Rebecca and her family's need for support and information.
The loss of Yasminah was very sudden and unexpected, they had dreamed of a long happy life with their two children, but in an instant their world as they knew it was shattered. Rebecca and her husband had to adjust to a new normal. "It was a very dark, lonely time, people didn't know what to say or do so they all kept their distance. We were given varied information on support services available and our options in the early stages of our loss." Rebecca had to seek support and order resources like books from overseas organisations. Rebecca found comfort and healing in writing about her journey. "We have little memories of our short time with our precious daughter, two of my most treasured items are my journal and my scrapbook I created with memories from during our pregnancy. These allowed me to express my anguish, grief, helplessness and despair of the traumatic loss of my child. I wish we had taken more photos, known that we could get professional photos, hand and foot print moulds, and invited our friends and family to meet our daughter. These things would of made a difference".
Two months after losing Yasminah, the Aziz family received another miracle, they were pregnant again. It was then discovered at an early ultrasound that they were expecting identical twins. The pregnancy was considered high risk, not only because there were twins but because of Rebecca's obstetric history. The pregnancy was closely monitored, then when Rebecca was 28 weeks pregnant they learnt that her twins had developed Twin To Twin Transfusion Syndrome. Once again their world was thrown into disbelief as they now had two lives hanging in the balance. Rebecca remained under regular monitoring and at 31 weeks and 5 days her twins were delivered just over 8 weeks premature by emergency caesarian. "It was terrifying thinking that the same thing could happen again and I could lose another child or worse two." The identical twin girls remained in a neonatal intensive care unit for 4 weeks before finally coming home on Rebecca's birthday. Again Rebecca kept a journal as her constant companion between hospital and home, juggling her time between her husband and son at home, expressing breast milk to provide to her twins and visiting her daughters in hospital 2-3 times a day often into the late hours of the night. "It was very hard trying to spend as much time possible with my daughters in hospital whilst making sure my son was ok at home".
Rebecca has made it her personal mission that every parent who experiences the premature birth or loss of their child will receive the same level of care, support, information and resources from the moment their precious child is born too early or passes away. So that they are able to create lasting memories with their child, that there are no regrets and they have support and information easily at hand within Australia. When a parent loses a child they loose all their hopes, dreams and vision of the future. Their world changes in an instant, and will never be the same.
Rachael is the Vice President for Yasminah's Gift of Hope.
Rachael has 2 children, 7 year old Abby & 3 year old Dylan. Rachael's first pregancy was trouble free until she reached 23wks & had ruptured membranes. At 26wks & 5 days Abby was delivered by emergency caesarian weighing 915gram. She spent 71 days in Westmead Hospital. There wasnt much support available when Rachael had her premmie & knowing how hard the road is & how much of a rollercoaster ride it can be, she wants to offer support other families going through the same thing.
Rachael's passion is helping others & understands the importance of raising awareness and offering support within the community about miscarriage, premature birth, neonatal loss, stillbirth, infancy loss and congenital abnormalities.
Ameer joins YGOH with a wealth of experience from a variety of industries. He holds an MBA and has successfully established, managed and sold over four businesses
Spanning the Retail, Services and Hospitality industries.
With a decade of event management experience, Ameer hopes to utilise his skills In creating and managing major events to promote the cause of this great charity.
His passion lies in helping others and bringing awareness to causes that affect Everyday people. Currently working at CPA Australia, he is hoping to work with his network
of professionals to take YGOH to the next level.
Although Sam is new to the challenges of being a treasurer for an industrious and expanding charity, she has always had a passion for community service. With over 18 years experience supporting a variety of charities and community groups, Sam is excited to join the team at Yasminah’s Gift of Hope. She is looking forward to sharing her skills, as well as learning some new ones so that we can offer Hope, Light, Love and Happiness to those families in need.
Volunteer members of the committee
Melanie was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia. Always one for adventure, she worked at Olympic Dam Mine before studying Environmental and Adventure Tourism. Positions to follow include working as a trekking guide, a shark feeder and SCUBA instructor. Wanting to explore the natural world in more detail, she attained a Bachelor of Science (Environmental Biology) at the University of Technology, Sydney. She has spent the last six years researching a protected species of fish at Lord Howe Island to attain a research Masters in Fish Ecology.
In 2007, after a textbook-perfect pregnancy, Melanie arrived at Royal North Shore Hospital for her 31-week checkup with the midwife. Without warning, her waters broke in the car as she arrived at the hospital: the right place, wrong time! Labour suppressants failed to stop little Harry that day, and he was born nine weeks premature, without the important lung-developing steroids. After stabilisation at birth, Harry went on to become a strong and healthy resident of the RNSH Neonatal Unit for five weeks and was released just in time to spend Christmas with his proud parents. Then, with a healthy and happy baby at home, Melanie realised her life had been altered by her experience at the NICU. Without an explanation for Harry's premature birth, hesitation and anxiety for another pregnancy consumed her, but Harry expressed immense interest in a sibling. Early 2010 she was pregnant again, but this time the morning sickness was so bad that she was admitted to hospital with dehydration. Difficult times lay further ahead, when baby Baxter was diagnosed with early signs of kidney distress and posterior urethral valves at 19 weeks gestation. She was referred to the RNSH Maternal Fetal Medicine Unit for high resolution scanning and tests - life was tipped upside down in an instant! It became evident that there was a paucity of information in neonatal medicine: just six similar cases had been observed in Australia over the past 15 years. Consultation with nephrology experts at Westmead Children's Hospital nonetheless confirmed a dire prognosis for little Baxter, and Melanie was induced at 21 weeks 3 days. After his birth, Melanie and her husband, Mark, cuddled Baxter for an hour, wrapping him in a blanket, reading him a story and crying as he took his last breath. Their perspective on life had altered forever. Melanie found some comfort in researching pregnancy loss, stillbirth and premature labour.
In 2012 Melanie suffered a miscarriage and felt the need to find a peer support group. After extensive online searches, she located Yasminah's Gift of Hope.
She now hopes to bring her sense of adventure, drive and passion to the charity that has been a vital component of her ongoing healing. The friendship, support and comradery of the YGOH Family and its Support Groups has provided a motivating and inspirational atmosphere for venting on a bad day and sharing on a good day.
As Newsletter Editor, Melanie aims to share the wonderful work of YGOH and its amazing team of volunteers.
Rebecca Phelan is the Yasminah’s Gift of Hope Webmaster. Rebecca is a Mum of 2, who enjoys volunteering and has volunteered her services to Polycystic Ovary Association of Australia (POSAA) and Yasminah’s Gift of Hope. She is also completing a Certificate III in Home & Community Care, and working in the Aged Care Industry.