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December 2018

Sue and Gavin holding a large cheque jpeg Mercy Perinatal co-founder Professor Sue Walker with Gavin Hazelwood.

Pasta necklaces fit for royalty raise funds for research

A Melbourne schoolboy who gifted a gold-painted pasta necklace to the Duchess of Sussex on her recent Australian tour has donated $8,000 to Mercy Perinatal for research to help prevent stillbirth.

Gavin Hazelwood, helped by his mum and dad, set up a website to sell his handmade pasta creations after Meghan Markle’s unique necklace received worldwide attention.

‘We’ve received a lot of orders from across Australia but also Canada, England, France, Switzerland and Iceland,’ Gavin’s mum, Rowan, said.

‘Gavin has been working on the necklaces every day after school and I have been staying up until 1 a.m. most days organising the labels and packaging.

‘The support has been amazing but more important is the awareness that the necklaces are creating around stillbirth,’ Ms Hazelwood said.

The six-year-old was inspired to help bring babies safely home following the loss of his baby sister, Clara, who was stillborn in 2014.

Gavin presented a cheque to co-founder Sue Walker during a visit to the Mercy Perinatal research laboratory.

‘This shows us how stillbirth affects families in such a devastating way,’ Professor Walker said.

‘Stillbirth affects one in 130 Australian pregnancies and it resonates across families, friends and the community.

‘The conversations that I’ve had as a result of Gavin’s work have been so moving.

‘We’ve had so much feedback about the program and it reminds people that young children also feel the brunt of stillbirth.’

Mercy Perinatal is a centre of excellence in clinical care, education and research based at Mercy Hospital for Women in Heidelberg.

Mercy Perinatal and researchers from Melbourne University are trying to develop a blood test to help women avoid stillbirth.

The blood test aims to measure ‘danger signals’ that can let doctors know when a mother’s placenta is stressed.

These at-risk babies could then be safely delivered before stillbirth occurs.

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