When their daughter Kiera passed away just hours after she was born, Victoria and Danny Liston knew they wanted to find a way to honour their baby.
On May 4, 2020, Victoria and Danny Liston welcomed their first child, Kiera, into the world. Victoria had experienced a normal and healthy pregnancy, but tragically Kiera passed away unexpectedly just a few hours later.
“She was our firstborn and it was just such a shock,” Victoria says. “In the weeks and months following her death it was a blur and we didn’t know what we were doing.
“We did an autopsy and the hospital did an investigation. We had to know why she died. It was found she had died from an infection called Group B Strep (GBS), although I had tested negative for it at 36 weeks and showed no signs any infection during or after labour. Ultimately there was really nothing we could have done differently.”
Baby Kiera was born in the midst of COVID, so Victoria and Danny, whose families live overseas, just had each other for support.
“In some ways that was good because we got through it together. But our family couldn’t come to her funeral. Between the day she died and when we had her funeral, we got to visit her a few times in the hospital. We had a really good social worker who allowed us to spend that extra time with her, and we are so grateful for those days,” Victoria says.
While the couple were planning the funeral, they decided that in lieu of flowers, they would set up a GoFundMe and donate any money they raised to charity.
“We thought we were only going to get maybe a thousand dollars but we ended up raising over $30,000. So we thought we would have to do something good with the money in Kiera’s honour.”
The couple used the funds to donate to charities including Red Nose, pay for a garden upgrade at the hospital where they were able to spend time outside with Kiera, and also fund research that studies the rate of GBS infection in pregnant women.
Due to the unexpected success of the GoFundMe, the couple then decided to start a charitable Sub Fund through Sydney Community Foundation, called Kiera’s Contribution to continue raising awareness and honouring Kiera.
“From talking about Kiera with people who had lost loved ones, I came across a few who had started charitable funds and it really struck a chord with me,” Victoria says.
“I felt if we did start a fund, it could be a continual thing we can do so our families can donate on Kiera’s birthday and at Christmas. So in times when we would be getting presents for her, we would be getting a little donation instead.
“Talking about the Fund and Kiera keeps her present in our lives and I really want something good to come from what happened. It really helped me in my healing process and through the grieving to be able to talk about her and tell our story. And even if it helps one person, it’s worth it.”
Victoria and Danny have had two more children since, and still visit the garden in the Mater Hospital where they spent time with Kiera.
“We have a Mother’s Day ceremony there every year where we plant bulbs for all the babies gone too soon. And we also have a little ceremony there every October 15th, which is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day,” Victoria says.
“We’ve brought our children there; I’ve been able to bring my mom and sister there when they visited, which was really special. So it’s really a place where we’re able to connect with Kiera, but also just connect with that time period in our lives.”
You can donate to Kiera’s Contribution here. All donations $2 and over are tax deductible.
To find out more about starting a charitable Sub Fund visit here.