The Stillbirth Foundation Australia was established in 2005 to raise funds to reduce the incidence and impact of stillbirth through research, education and advocacy.

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    Funding researchers to generate new knowledge about stillbirth causes and prevention and encouraging the translation of research into practice.

  • Supporting the community and health professionals to change behaviours that will help to reduce the incidence of stillbirth and support bereaved families.

  • Extending the reach and impact of the stillbirth community by advocating on behalf of bereaved families.

Our Story

“I promised her, as I held her in my arms for that last time, that I would make a difference… that I would prevent others from living with this tragedy.” Emma McLeod OAM
Stillbirth Foundation Australia

The Stillbirth Foundation Australia was founded in 2005 by Emma McLeod OAM, whose daughter, Olivia Kate, died suddenly in utero at 36 weeks in July 2002. There was seemingly no reason and not uncommonly, Olivia’s death went uninvestigated. The lack of information and Emma’s own grief-stricken questioning led her to establish the first organisation dedicated to stillbirth and baby loss in Australia.

We have allocated more than $1.2 million to fund the most rigorously designed studies aimed at finding a means of preventing stillbirth and supporting the families of stillborn babies.

The Foundation is a 100% community-funded, independent, national charity with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status.

In addition to funding stillbirth research, the Foundation raises awareness about stillbirth, including medical and societal risk factors, and potential ways that stillbirth might be prevented.

We are recognised nationally as a leading voice on stillbirth and represent the voices of thousands of Australian families who have been touched by stillbirth.

Our mission is to significantly reduce the incidence of stillbirth through research, education and advocacy.

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Meet our people

  • Professor Jonathan Morris AM

    Chair

    Professor Jonathan Morris AM

    Chair

    Jonathan Morris is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Sydney and Head of Womens and Babies Research at the Kolling Institute. Jonathan holds degrees from the University of Edinburgh and the University of Sydney and completed his PhD in Oxford. He resettled in Sydney in 1998 taking up his current post at Royal North Shore Hospital.  

    Since then, Jonathan has built a perinatal research group that extends from basic science to population health. His major research interests are the prediction, prevention and management of pregnancy complications.  

    Jonathan lives in Sydney with his wife and sons. He has been a Director of Stillbirth Foundation Australia since 2008 and Chair since 2010. 

  • Jennifer Ball

    Director

    Jennifer Ball

    Director

    Jennifer is a graduate of Macquarie University and completed her combined Science and Law degrees in 1989 specialising in genetics and biochemistry. She is a senior partner in the Restructuring and Insolvency practice group at Clayton Utz Lawyers and isrecognised leader and expert in her field. Jennifer is a member of the Board of the Turnaround Management Association Australia and a member of the New South Wales Law Society Council. 

    Jennifer is mother to Elliot, who was stillborn in 2003, Felix and Chloe. She is passionate about advocating and raising awareness of stillbirth, so that research might assist in providing the answer as to why stillbirth continues to occur at the significant rate that it does. 

  • Aaron David

    Director

    Aaron David

    Director

    Aaron David joined the Stillbirth Foundation as a Director in 2011. Aaron currently has businesses involved in the agriculture, hospitality and real estate sectors. He co-founded Live Real Estate Accounts in 2011, which provides complete back office solutions to the real estate industryPrior to this, Aaron held a variety of roles in his family’s business, which for 80 years was Australia’s largest wholesaler of groceries and liquor to independent grocers.   

    Aaron’s third child and first daughter, Evie, was stillborn in 2009. He is passionate about raising funds for research and increasing awareness into the incidence of stillbirth in Australia.  

    Aaron lives in Sydney with his wife and three young children. 

  • Helene Mann

    Director

    Helene Mann

    Director

    Helene joined the Stillbirth Foundation Board in May 2020. She has extensive experience working in healthcare communications, both business to business and to the Australian public. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Biology, post graduate diploma in dietetics and has previously sat on the Board of Matthew Poppy Advertising, a healthcare advertising agency based in the UK.  

    Using her knowledge in health communications, Helene is delighted to support the Stillbirth Foundation in its mission to provide awareness of stillbirth and support to those who have been impacted by it.  

    Helene lives in Sydney with three young adult children. 

  • Sean Seeho

    Director

    Sean Seeho

    Director

    Dr Sean Seeho is an obstetrician in Sydney with an interest in high-risk and complicated pregnancies. He is also Co-Head of the Discipline of Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Neonatology at the University of Sydney and a Fellow of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Sean completed a PhD with the University of Sydney and is actively involved in medical research into stillbirth and other obstetric complications.  

    Sean joined the Stillbirth Foundation Board in May 2020. He brings over 15 years’ experience in both clinical and research best practice to the Foundation.  

    Sean lives in Sydney with his wife and young son Oliver. 

  • Sarah Styles

    Director

    Sarah Styles

    Director

    Sarah joined the Stillbirth Foundation as a Director in 2020. Sarah is a leading strategy consultant in sport and gender, with over ten years’ experience in strategy development and execution, stakeholder engagement, diversity and inclusion, and corporate finance. A former investment banker, Sarah holds a Master of Finance, a Bachelor of Commerce, and a Bachelor of Science, and attended The Wharton School as part of Chief Executive Women’s Scholarship Program.

    Sarah’s first child, Finn, died at birth following pre-term labour in 2017. She is passionate about raising awareness of the pervasive impact of stillbirth, both in human and economic terms, including the role of corporate Australia in supporting bereaved parents and reducing the future instance of stillbirth.

    Sarah lives in Melbourne with her husband and young daughter. Sarah is a member of the Board of Gender Equity Victoria, and a co-founder of X-Golf.

  • Leigh Brezler

    Chief Executive Officer

    Leigh Brezler

    Chief Executive Officer

    Leigh joined the Stillbirth Foundation Australia as CEO in September 2019. She holds an MBA(Executive) from the AGSM and a BA in Economics from Yale University. Leigh has built her career as a senior business development leader in the arts, culture, sport and finance sectors, building strong advocacy, partnership and stakeholder management skills. 

    Beyond ensuring the Foundation’s mission is fulfilled, Leigh’s focus is on ensuring the stillbirth community – from bereaved parents to healthcare workers – feels supported and that parents’ voices are heard and validated.  

    Leigh lives in Sydney with her husband and three teenage children 

  • Isabelle Ulliana

    Digital and Fundraising Manager

    Isabelle Ulliana

    Digital and Fundraising Manager

    Isabelle is our Digital and Fundraising Manager. With an educational background in Law and Journalism, Isabelle has since expanded her career working overseas amidst the fast-paced tech industry of San Francisco, specialising in technical writing, sales enablement, operations and development, as well as developing her skills in marketing and content sector in the Australian arts industry. 

    A believer in the power and strength of community, Isabelle aspires to nurture and support those impacted by stillbirth in Australia, ensuring that awareness and research into stillbirth prevention continues. When she’s not in the office you’ll find Isabelle somewhere in the ocean amongst the waves. 

Our Ambassadors

  • Holly and Joshua Ryan

    Parents of Bluey

    Holly and Joshua Ryan

    Parents of Bluey

    From very early on in our pregnancy, our baby became known by the nickname ‘Bluey’. As he grew in my belly, so too did our love for Bluey. Our hearts were forever broken when Bluey Joshua Ryan was born sleeping in January 2018, just 10 days before his scheduled delivery date. He was otherwise perfectly healthy and ready for the world.

    Bluey taught us what it is to love a child, and that in life, there are no guarantees; that life itself is a gift, not a given.

    In the 2+ years since Bluey changed our lives, we have continued to honour him by raising much needed awareness of, and funds to prevent stillbirth. We aim to prevent as many people as possible from the enduring pain of giving birth to a sleeping baby. Sadly, not all stillbirths are preventable, so we also wish to acknowledge, and raise funds to support those families who we can not protect from this heartache.

    Bluey Joshua Ryan 16/01/2018

  • Jacqui Bruyn and Trent Clark

    Parents of Beau

    Jacqui Bruyn and Trent Clark

    Parents of Beau

    Our first pregnancy started off great, with minimal morning sickness and bursts of adrenaline thinking about the amazing life adventure we were embarking upon.

    At 19 weeks, we were advised of some complications. The first was common – a low lying placenta (placenta previa). The second was rare – a velamentous cord insertion. The plan was to closely monitor the cord insertion and have an early C-section.

    At 26 weeks, our baby stopped moving. We naively thought the placenta had continued to move and was blocking the baby’s kicks. The midwife could not find the heartbeat. She remained calm and returned with an obstetrician. At this moment, I felt my soul leave my body. I was floating above my body, watching the horror that was about to implode.

    Despite undertaking a full autopsy and every other test available in Australia, like so many other families affected by stillbirth, we have no cause of death for Beau. We simply cannot accept that so many babies are dying without a known cause. We share our story to help raise awareness and empathy, in the hope that it will trigger desperately needed research. We cannot save Beau, but we hope he is proud of all the work we do in his honour to try and save other families from the same fate.

    Beau was born without breath on 25 April 2017. Words will never adequately describe the strength of our love for him.

  • Jacqueline and Jonathan Hoy

    Jonathan and Jacqueline Hoy

    Parents of Henry and William
    Jacqueline and Jonathan Hoy

    Jonathan and Jacqueline Hoy

    Parents of Henry and William

    William and Henry, our twin sons were born sleeping February 2017. Saying those words is still the hardest sentence we have ever had to string together however it’s the reality of our life. William and Henry were healthy little bubbies who were stillborn and we will never know or understand why.

    Losing Henry and William has completely changed everything for us and everyone close to us. Before they passed away we had no idea that stillbirth loss happened as frequently as it does.

    The grief and pain we feel every single day is something we do not want other families to experience, however so many are.
    By sharing our story we are hoping to create awareness and assist in raising funds to support research needed to reduce the rate of stillbirth.

    In honour of our beautiful sons we want to be a support to other families and help in anyway we can.

    Henry Alan and William Robert 13/02/17

  • Lauren Malcolm and Shane Baggett

    Lauren Malcolm and Shane Baggett

    Parents of Landon
    Lauren Malcolm and Shane Baggett

    Lauren Malcolm and Shane Baggett

    Parents of Landon

    We brought our second child into this world May 2015. Landon was perfect and while he was otherwise a healthy little boy, he was born without breath. He was stillborn. Sadly we’ve learnt that Landon was just 1 of 6 babies born without breath in Australia on that day.

    The stillbirth of our son was not just an event that happened in our lives, it has been and continues to be an indescribable journey that we will never overcome. And while we can learn to accept Landon’s fate, we cannot sit back and allow more families to enter the travesty that rocked our world without re-educating society and lobbying for much needed funds for research.

    If we can give money abroad so easily why is it so hard to prevent the deaths of our children, our hopes and our dreams? We have become strong advocates for stillbirth and are honoured to help create awareness in hope of reducing the incidence.

    Landon Maxx Baggett 05/05/15

  • Bree Amer-Wilkes & Evan Wilkes

    Bree Amer-Wilkes and Evan Wilkes

    Parents of Archie
    Bree Amer-Wilkes & Evan Wilkes

    Bree Amer-Wilkes and Evan Wilkes

    Parents of Archie

    The stillbirth of our son Archie has had a profound effect on us. It has changed our lives and the lives of many people around us. Barely a moment goes by where we do not think of him and wonder what he would be doing, if he were in our arms right now rather than just our hearts.

    Archie’s death was sadly preventable, as are many other stillbirths. We would like to do everything we possibly can through education and fundraising to stop other families experiencing this pain. For that reason, we are proud to be coming on board and joining the Stillbirth Foundation and the amazing work that it does.

    Archie Amer Wilkes 12/4/15

  • Ann-Maree and Wade Imree

    Ann-Maree and Wade Imrie

    Parents of Xavier
    Ann-Maree and Wade Imree

    Ann-Maree and Wade Imrie

    Parents of Xavier

    Xavier Rocket Imrie is our first son. He was conceived in five short months, and the pregnancy was a really exciting time. I had minimal sickness and was sailing through, fully expecting to bring our baby home after 9 months. Devastatingly, we only made it to 6 ½ months – On 31st January 2015, Xavier was stillborn.

    Holding our lifeless baby in our arms and burying him, shifted something deep inside us that will never shift back. Healing is an ongoing process, but we are lucky to be surrounded with love and support, which has helped us navigate our new lives without our baby boy.

    And that’s why we’re here. To share and give back the kindness that was given to us.

    Xavier Rocket Imrie – 31/01/2015

  • Laura and Brett Sheehan

    Parents of Beau

    Laura and Brett Sheehan

    Parents of Beau

    Losing our son Beau, stillborn, born sleeping, it broke us, shaped us and changed us profoundly. Until we lost our sweet boy, we had no idea how frequently this loss occurs, 6 babies a day, that is staggering. What we encountered in our grief was a lack of knowledge, a lack of understanding and a lack of openness to talk. Stillbirth loss is still such a taboo topic, but by speaking, by sharing, others can be given the platform to talk and, with time, a push and a drive for so many unanswered questions. Our hope is that with greater awareness by sharing our story, we can hope to prevent other expectant parents from experiencing the same heartbreaking loss and to offer support for those that tragically do.

    For our child, our son, our perfect, beautiful baby boy, I love you, the pain I felt in losing you will never compare to love I feel, the love I carry for you.

    Beau, born sleeping 19/06/14

  • Cassie & Ryan Thistleton

    Cassie and Ryan Thistleton

    Parents of Dex
    Cassie & Ryan Thistleton

    Cassie and Ryan Thistleton

    Parents of Dex

    Stillbirth turned our lives into turmoil in the most unexpected ways. Today the pain still feels the same. It is a cruel and lonely path. Something went very wrong that day and we will never know why, however the unborn babies of our future do not need to bear the same fate.

    If science can now answer the questions of other planets millions of miles away, why can’t we answer the same old questions we have about our babies when they’re only millimetres beneath the skin? We pave the path for our children to have a brighter future. It’s time to shift the priority and ensure we’re doing all we can on this planet, to guarantee every expecting parent has a child to give that future to.

    Dex Gregory Thistleton 12/10/12