Behind the Noses - Michelle’s story

There are many dedicated staff, volunteers and supporters who together make the work of Red Nose possible. This is Michelle’s story.

“When you give of yourself, from the heart, it’s then that you truly give. You will never know the difference you will make to others.”

Image of Michelle and peer support volunteer Rachel taken by Helen of Heartfelt Photography at 2021 Walk to Remember

Michelle Jewels-Parsons knows first-hand the value of volunteering and its power to help create community. With previously having over 12 years of experience working closely with volunteers in her previous career in the not-for-profit sector, she’s seen the positive impact volunteering can have on people’s lives. Both the volunteer and those they support through their generosity. Michelle now operates her own business as a Funeral Celebrant and End of Life Companion.

Michelle’s niece Brianna, in 2009, sadly lived for only four hours after being born at 26 weeks. Amy, Brianna’s Mum and Michelle’s sister, received vital support from bereavement services, including Red Nose, to help her navigate her heartbreaking loss. Beautiful Brianna was named in honour of her Grandfather, Brian, who passed away suddenly at 52, nearly 20 years ago. A loving legacy for a much-loved father.

Michelle came to volunteer for us through her friends Rachel and Rosie. Rosie is a long-time volunteer of Sands (now part of Red Nose.) She is also mum to Gemma, who sadly also passed as a baby. Rachel, Mum to Chaunte Rose, who was stillborn in 1998, is also one of our Peer Support volunteers. When Rachel suggested to Michelle that she might consider volunteering to MC the Walk to Remember volunteer, she didn’t hesitate.

“It’s a supportive collective. Organisations vital to our community like Red Nose would not be able to provide their essential services without the efforts of kind-hearted volunteers. Many of their volunteers and supporters are bereaved parents or family members themselves.”

For two years Michelle and her husband Richard have given their time and energy to volunteer at the ‘Walk to Remember’ held in Glen Osmond, South Australia. She is the event’s MC, and Richard is a vital part of the barbecue crew. For Michelle, the most moving part of the walk is when she invites the families of babies and children who have died to come forward and ‘say their name’ and remember them.

As well as volunteering for Red Nose, Michelle also generously donates part of the proceeds from the sales of her book, The Present Box. This beautifully illustrated book was written with her niece and Brianna’s sister Ellie when she was six. It explains death, grief, loss and funerals to children aged 2-11.

“I have a strong ethos of paying it forward. My sister received a lot of support when Brianna died, and I haven’t forgotten. It makes me feel good to contribute.”

We have a range of volunteer opportunities at Red Nose. If you would like to help save little lives and support bereaved families, sigh up now.

Learn more about volunteering