A LAKE Macquarie mother is helping grieving families overcome the loss of a child.
Rachael Blaxell and husband Nathan, of Belmont, lost their baby Lilli to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) at just five months old.
"After we lost Lilli we realised that there was a big gap in the support services for grieving families," Mrs Blaxell said.
So last year, Mrs Blaxell formed the support group Lilli's Wish Of Hope.
The charity reaches out to grieving parents, no matter the cause of their loss.
Since 2011 the charity has helped more than 20 families nationally.
Last Friday, at Speers Point, Mrs Blaxell celebrated what would have been Lilli's fourth birthday.
She was joined by 13 local families who have been helped by her organisation.
The families gathered to light a candle and place a ribbon on a wreath in memory of their child.
"But this is definitely a happy event," Mrs Blaxell said.
The families had gathered to celebrate the young lives of their lost children, not mourn their passing, she said.
And the presence of happy "rainbow" babies and toddlers at the gathering helped.
A "rainbow baby" is a child born after a deceased sibling.
Lilli's Wish Of Hope organises accommodation in holiday houses and units across Australia so that families can have time away to grieve in private.
"After the tenth lot of flowers arrive at your home, it can get a bit overwhelming," Mrs Blaxell said.
"Sometimes it's just good to get away as a family and start the grieving process," she said.
Mrs Blaxell's new goal is to raise enough money for the deposit on a holiday house for grieving parents in Lake Macquarie.
Funds raised at a Winter Wonderland Gala Ball to be held at Newcastle Panthers on Saturday, July 21, will go towards that goal.
¦ Go to lilliswishofhope.org.au for more.