Your shout: Making Miracles with Shaune Watts

Queensland father-of-three Shaune Watts shares his story of fundraising for the Mater Little Miracles and the Leukaemia Foundation.

Some experiences, like illness, need to be lived to be understood.

It’s not until yourself, or a family member, embarks on this journey that you truly understand and acknowledge the role health care professionals play in supporting us during our hardest times.

Queensland father-of-three, Shaune Watts, experienced firsthand how charities can assist families when his mother was diagnosed with Leukaemia and his son was born 10 weeks premature.

Since 2009 he has raised more than $500,000 for Mater Little Miracles and the Leukaemia Foundation to give back to the charities that saved his family.

“In 2008 my mum was diagnosed with Leukaemia which was a complete shock to us,” Shaune said.

“Mum and dad both lived in Bundaberg and they didn’t have the facilities up there to treat mum for what she was going through.

“They relocated her to Brisbane and lived in a Leukaemia Foundation unit for 12 months.

“Seeing what mum and dad went through and what the Leukaemia Foundation did for them I thought I just had to give back and give them some support.”

Shaune’s motivation for fundraising grew in March 2009 when he participated in the World’s Greatest Shave (WGS) to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation. In just four weeks he had raised $8000.  In 2010 he hosted his first Charity Golf Day raising $15,000.

Soon after Shaune found a second reason to fundraise in 2011 when his third child Noah was born 10 weeks premature and weighing 1090 grams (2.4 lbs).

“The 13-week scan was all clear, no signs of any issues and all progressing well but come the 20-week scan something was not right,” Shaune said.

“I can still remember when Kimberley got a call and they said, ‘you have to come back into hospital because if you don’t your life, and the life of your baby, is in jeopardy and potentially both of you may not survive’.”

At 23.5 weeks Kimberley was admitted to hospital where she spent the next six weeks before having an emergency caesarean.

During this time, Shaune juggled being at the hospital, at work, taking care of his two other children, Christmas and preparing the family for back to school in January.

“It was such an easy decision to move the fundraising from Leukaemia Foundation to the Mater Little Miracles to support premature and seriously ill babies,” Shaune said.

“It’s not until you experience this journey for yourself that you appreciate and understand what the wonderful staff at the Mater do to support you and your family.

“Fundraising is my way of giving back to the Mater as we owe Noah’s life to them.”

Shaune has raised more the $405,000 for Mater Little Miracles and more than $94,000 for the Leukaemia Foundation. To hear Shaune’s full story listen to Episode 18 of the Your shout podcast.

Your shout is available on Soundcloud, Spotify, Apple iTunes and RACQ Living.