Dorothy Crosby: SIDS and KIDS SA: Westfield Local Heroes 2019

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Dorothy Crosby: SIDS and KIDS SA: Westfield Local Heroes 2019

Helping families to grieve after the loss of a child

Life-saving. Selfless. Dedicated

People often ask Dorothy Crosby how she manages to keep supporting grieving families following the unexpected death of a child.

But what they should be asking is why she does her work.

“It is not a normal job; it’s a passion,” says Dorothy. “I do it because their world has been shattered, and they need help to navigate those early days, weeks and months.”

Dorothy has a master’s degree in counselling and works three days a week for SIDS and Kids SA. But she is always on call to respond to referrals from the police, ambulance service or hospital social workers.

“Sometimes, I need to respond immediately, and other times they might ask me to visit the family the next day,” says Dorothy.

She feels humbled to be voted a Westfield Local Hero. “We are grateful for the recognition of maybe quieter stories in the community.”

Dorothy has found friends and relatives are often there to support grieving families for the first few weeks and months following their loss but can expect them to get back on with their life more quickly than is realistic.

“Bereaved families need support and people to validate their experience as they navigate their loss. There are activities that can trigger strong emotional responses, such as returning to work, socialising and meeting other people who have children. We help families grieve in the way they need to grieve and give them tools to do this,” says Dorothy.

Another part of her role is to hold monthly support groups where parents can meet others on a similar journey.

“We also hold an annual memorial service for families to honour their child.

I consider it an honour to walk beside these families as they rebuild their lives,” says Dorothy.

Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. SIDS and Kids SA will use its grant to continue running the counselling service.

“It gives us security to know we can continue doing the work we do,” says Dorothy.

For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here.

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