Our committee members are all parents who have each experienced a very personal and unique journey after the premature birth of their children. As a member of our community for many years, they each understand the vulnerability parents feel in a similar situation, the importance of an online community and the integral role the Foundation plays with offering a safe and supportive environment to each family.
With each of us playing an important committee role, we wish the Foundation to be every bit the success that the site has been over the years and share the same passion in seeing this continue.
Meet Our Committee
Julia Toivonen ~ President & Founder
Julia founded and created L’il Aussie Prems in February 2007 further to her first pregnancy, which resulted in an extremely early delivery. Although not due until June, she gave birth to her first and eldest son Ronan at 27 weeks gestation, due to a placental abruption in March 2006 at Monash Medical Center in Victoria.
Ronan experienced a lengthy stay in the NICU and has developmental delays. He has worked very hard to catch up and has grown into a healthy 7 year old currently enjoying his second year of school. Julia credits the invaluable professional assistance and unlimited family support offered to them which ensured Ronan met milestones and the opportunity to thrive.
Like all good things, L’il Aussie Prems evolved from the need to talk to other parents who could understand the journey. Julia met with Nicole, another premmie mum and together they exchanged ideas on starting an online community. A few days later the website was in development. Julia has single-handedly developed, maintained and kept the L’il Aussie Prems website online since its inception in 2007, while additionally creating and coordinating events such as Wear Green for Premmies and the Premmie Hero Awards. The members have been instrumental in the success of the website, with many volunteering their time to support Julia who is grateful for their dedication to the community.
However, she is not only the driving force behind the success of L’il Aussie Prems, she has also played an integral part, as a founding committee member, in setting up the National Premmie Foundation in 2007, and is currently their Vice President of Communications. She was also a committee member for Life’s Little Treasures Foundation for a number of years.
She is no stranger to the premmie community, pouring her heart and soul into it which is continually recognised as she continues to be nominated for community awards, such as the `Local Hero` award which she won in 2008 from her local council. Julia is modest and is humbled by this along with the support both LAPF and her own family have received from the community that she supports.
Julia looks forward to the next journey that L’il Aussie Prems Foundation will take in continuing to support families with the same understanding and open arms that the community provided to her family.
Julia resides in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs with her husband and is a mum to three young children.
Nicole Powell ~ Vice President
Living in Melbourne at the time but originally from Sydney, Nicole found herself looking for some extra support as being a first time mum had its challenges but also a having premmie left many questions unanswered.
Nicole was one of the first ever members to join L’il Aussie Prems and has been a part of the online community ever since. “I have seen the community grow from just 2 members to over 2,000 members. It certainly highlights that support for families of sick or prematurely born children is needed. The community offers understanding from pregnancy, birth and the many years beyond ”, said Nicole.
Nixon had a rough start to life and attended over 3 years of early intervention for speech therapy, occupational therapy and behavioral psychology. Without the hours upon hours of therapies, Nixon’s outlook may be very different to what it is today. He is now a bright 6 year old boy who started kindergarten in 2012.
Nicole is excited to have been given the opportunity to be a part of the L’il Aussie Prems Foundation committee. She is eager to provide further support and to be a guiding hand in expanding the online services that the Foundation currently provides.
Nicole currently resides in the Southern suburbs of Sydney.
Jenny Bradley ~ Secretary
Jenny gave birth to her first children, twin boys at 24.4 weeks gestation, due to PPROM and a severe infection at Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital in April 2007 . Thomas was born first weighing 630 grams and came home after 255 days in hospital. Alexander was born second weighing 546 grams and came home after 132 days in hospital.
Jenny first became a member of L’il Aussie Prems when she was home with her twins. The support offered by L’il Aussie Prems, was invaluable to Jenny as she raised her two sons, both with developmental delays. Jenny offered her assistance to Julia 2 years ago to help update the website, which she still does today.
Jenny is extremely passionate about supporting families of premature babies. Jenny knows that having someone to speak with, who understands is invaluable and is well aware of the many difficulties faced by parents in hospital and once they get home.
She has volunteered her time with other groups such as Life’s Little Treasures Foundation and was honored to be asked to become the secretary of the new look L’il Aussie Prems Foundation. Jenny looks forward to watching L’il Aussie Prems Foundation continue to grow and make a difference to the premmie community.
Jenny currently resides in the coastal villages in Melbourne’s south east.
Kalee Henry ~ Treasurer
Kalee is mum to Elijana Bethany, born at 35 weeks gestation at Box Hill Hospital in Melbourne, in 2006.
Elijana arrived without warning and in a big hurry. So, as she had not yet developed her sucking reflex, she spent her first weeks of life in the Special Care Nursery being gavage fed. Additionally, she required oxygen, was jaundice, had an umbilical and inguinal hernia, torticollis, and hip dysplasia. This saw Kalee looking for many answers, much support and quite a lot of hugs and advice… enter L’il Aussie Prems!
Kalee has been affiliated with L’il Aussie Prems since 2007, attending Knox Premmie Playgroup and additionally receiving support from the L’il Aussie Prems supportive network as Elijana finally began corrective surgeries at the Royal Children’s Hospital in 2008.
Kalee is ecstatic that L’il Aussie Prems has grown into the success it has and is looking forward to L’il Aussie Prems Foundation Inc. continuing its successful role as a supportive and informative avenue for premmie families, both online and around the country.
Kalee has an accounting, business, events and management background and has been a member of several other committees, having previously held such Committee roles as Communications Officer, General Member, Fundraiser and Treasurer. She looks forward to offering her services and support to the Foundation in the same capacity that the Foundation supported her and Elijana, and continues to support the many other families it currently does and has over the last 6 years.
Kalee resides in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs.
Carolyn Lindsey ~ Fundraising
Carolyn is a mum to two children; Danielle born at 26 weeks weighing 722 grams in 2007, and Matthew who was born at full term in 2009. Danielle was born early due to Oligohydramnios and spontaneous labour. She spent a long and emotional 149 days in the NICU at Monash Medical Centre in Melbourne. Danielle came home on oxygen which she remained on until she was nearly 12 months old.
Today, Danielle is a happy and healthy 5 year old little girl excitedly preparing to start primary school in 2013. Considering Danielle’s tumultuous start, she has no ongoing health or development issues which continue to amaze her family.
Carolyn became a member of L’il Aussie Prems in mid 2007 and found it to be extremely supportive. Carolyn has made many close friends over the years whom she catches up with regularly. Carolyn started attending the Knox Premmie’s Playgroup a few months after Danielle came home from hospital in 2007, which was where she first met local mums, Julia and Kalee. Carolyn wanted to do more to support families on a larger scale so in 2011, she joined the National Premmie Foundation committee as the website co-ordinator. In mid 2012, Carolyn became the President of the Foundation and continues in this role to date.
Carolyn has a Bachelor of Civil Engineering with Honours and has worked in the Traffic and Transport field for almost 10 years. Carolyn currently works part time as a Senior Transport and Road Safety Engineer in Local Government.
Carolyn is excited to be apart of the LAPF committee and understands the emotional vulnerability parents are faced with after the premature birth of a child. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge in local Governments and looks forward to playing an integral role in the Foundation moving forward.
Carolyn resides in Melbourne’s south eastern suburbs.
Sarah Peatey ~ General Member
Sarah is a busy mum to 5 children with her last 3 children being born prematurely. Hayden was born at 32 weeks in 2006, William born at 30 weeks in 2008 and Thomas born at 28 weeks in 2012. They each spent their NICU/SCN time between the Royal Brisbane Woman’s Hospital and Mackay Base Hospital in Queensland.
Living in remote Central Queensland, Sarah found herself seeking out support from families in similar situations and joined the L’il Aussie Prems forum in mid 2007. The support and friendships she found in the online community has been invaluable throughout the last 6 years. Sarah has spent many years supporting the premmie community and volunteered on the National Premmie Foundation committee for 2 years.
Sarah is currently studying a Bachelor of Nursing and hopes to work closely with premature babies and their families in the near future.
Sarah is thrilled to be a committee member of L’il Aussie Prems Foundation and is looking forward to seeing the foundation continuing to grow.
Sarah currently resides in Central Queensland with her family.
If you are interested in volunteering for our Foundation, please send an email to our Secretary, Jenny at firstname.lastname@example.org.