Our People

Miracle Babies Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors who meet quarterly. The Board was formed in 2009 and originally Chaired by Morris Iemma. Miracle Babies Foundation staff are mostly based at head office at Chipping Norton, although several staff are based across Australia working in programs with hospitals and families. Our Ambassadors are a passionate and dedicated group, supporting the Foundation with their time to raise awareness and promote the Foundation.

Board, Staff, Ambassadors and Volunteers all work toward our vision of ‘better, healthier outcomes for newborns and their families challenged by prematurity or sickness.’ 

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Kylie Caponas

Community & Communications Officer

Kylie is mum to 5 year old son Sebastian. With a background in Retail Marketing and a passion for art, craft and all things creative, Kylie brings a nurturing and friendly personality to the Miracle Babies team along with problem solving and excellent communication skills. The Community & Communications Officer is an integral part of our Miracle Babies Fundraising team. Creating visual assets and communications for the Foundation, inspiring and connecting community to our cause and strengthening Miracle Babies Foundation’s NurtureProgram, resources and event sponsors and the Miracle Babies presence across all digital platforms.

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Robyn Sheen

National Accounts Manager

Robyn brings to Miracle Babies many years of accounts and volunteering experience. Robyn has been with Miracle Babies since 2010 and is Mum to her Heart child Olivia who was born at 37 weeks with a congenital heart defect Tetralogy of Fallot. Olivia's heart defect was corrected after undergoing two open heart surgeries.

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Joanne Rowntree

Grants Officer

Jo is passionate about making a difference in the lives of vulnerable people and has 17 years experience in grant writing roles. She hopes she can help Miracle Babies Foundation continue to thrive and expand its support of families and hospitals across Australia to ensure 'better, healthier outcomes for newborns and their families challenged by prematurity or sickness.' Jo’s 22-year-old daughter was born prematurely and her niece was born critically ill. She knows all too well the impact on the family of having a baby come into the world not as expected and is proud to be a part of the Miracle Babies team.

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Renée Sharpe

NurtureProgram Support Worker, Greater Sydney Area

Renée is mum to 5 year old Lachlan who was born 10 weeks early and spent time in the NICU/SCN up until his due date. There were complications due to his early arrival, and they were still coming to terms with an unexpected physical disability (Lachlan was born with no right hand or forearm due to Amniotic Band Syndrome). Renée knows the value of the Miracle Babies Foundation's support and resources having gone through such an emotional and challenging experience herself. She has found that NurtureGroup's provide amazing emotional and practical support from people who have experienced similar concerns and fears. She looks forward to getting to know all the families, and hopes that through attending NurtureGroup you get to share experiences and form meaningful connections with each other, as your journey will be so much easier and richer for it.

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Danielle Hodgson

Donor Engagement Officer

Danielle is mum to son Owen and William and brings a strong marketing background coming from various personal care and baby categories. Her previous experience, compassionate nature and adaptability is well suited to Miracle Babies Foundation and she brings with her a wealth of experience in marketing strategy, communications, digital, partnerships and events. Danielle is responsible for building and maintaining relationships with Corporate Partners, leading Workplace Giving, strengthening the Regular Giving program along with various donor engagement initiatives to inform, inspire and engage the wider community with our mission of ‘better, healthier outcomes for premature and sick newborns and their families.'

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Diana Di Giovanni

Volunteer & Office Coordinator

Diana is a Miracle mum to 2 boys, Fabian and Gabriel. After suffering a loss at 21 weeks, Diana gave birth to her son Fabian at 28 weeks, weighing 1.2kg. Fabian spent 11 weeks in Westmead Hospital NICU. Her son Gabriel, was born 4 years later. Diana comes to Miracle Babies with a strong background in events and administration and has worked alongside many volunteers during her time at the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW/ Sydney Royal Easter Show. She is passionate and proud to be a part of the Miracle Babies Team and is looking forward to getting to know all the wonderful, generous Miracle Babies volunteers.

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Katie Russell

Community Activities Officer

Katie is a mum to three sons, Adam, Eamon and Peter. She has worked with a vast array of Event & Exhibitions Suppliers and brings with her knowledge, experience, attention to detail and connections in the events space. The Community Activities Officer role is a part of the broader Miracle Babies Fundraising team. The main aspects of the role include inspiring and connecting local community organisations to our cause, overseeing Humidicrib fundraising and vendor placement and coordinating all logistical and administrative aspects of some important awareness events in the Miracle Babies calendar. Katie has a friendly, bubbly personality and is a great fit to the Head Office Team.

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Tina Parker

NurtureProgram Officer

Tina is a mum of 3 children, all of which have spent time in either a SCN or a NICU. Her son Joshua spent a short time in Fairfield Hospital SCN. Son Damen was born at 35 weeks and spent 2 weeks also in Fairfield Hospital, and her daughter Emmason was born at 30 weeks and spent 6 weeks in Liverpool Hospital NICU. Tina has been involved with Miracle Babies Foundation for the past 12 years as a volunteer and is very passionate about our cause.

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Anne Marie Kennedy

NurtureProgram Support Worker, Western Sydney Area

Anne Marie is mum to Seamus 5 and Ella 3. Ella was born with Down Syndrome at 36 weeks and spent 3 weeks in the Grace Ward at The Children's Hospital, Westmead, as she required surgery on her intestine. Ella was also born with 2 holes in her heart but thankfully they closed naturally before she was 2. Anne Marie was very grateful for all the love and support she received from volunteers and staff while she was at the Grace Ward and is passionate about helping others on their NICU journey as she is very aware of how overwhelming the experience can be.

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Alyce Farrugia

NurtureProgram Support Worker, VIC

Alyce gave birth to identical twin girls at 24+1 weeks gestation due to TTTS. Maddison, born at 667g, spent 118 days in NICU and Paige, born at 495g, passed away shortly after the birth. Maddison had a very tumultuous time in hospital and Alyce regularly attended the support groups that were run for current NICU families. She found talking to experienced premmie mums and dads so valuable. After Maddison was discharged, Alyce found the only Melbourne Miracle Babies NurtureGroup and began attending. After 2 years she started coordinating the group and volunteering for the Miracle Babies PBC expo. Maddison has experienced many life long hurdles from her premature birth, including being deaf, and Alyce has found that her range of experience in the premature birth journey really helps her to connect with other prem parents and support them in their own journey. Alyce has since gone on to have two full term daughters.

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Andrea Hendry

NurtureProgram Support Worker, QLD

Andrea Hendry Co-Founded Miracle Babies Foundation in 2005. Whilst working at the Liverpool Public Hospital in NSW Haemodialysis unit as a Registered Nurse, Andrea went into early labour at 28 weeks and delivered her first son Steven at Liverpool Hospital. This hospital became more than a work place, it became home for the next 10 ½ weeks. Her premature labour was thought to be Polyhydramnios (the production of too much amniotic fluid and she has a family history of premature births). Three years later she became pregnant with her second child and was able to deliver Aiden at 30 weeks. He was discharged home after a 6 week stay. Liverpool Public Hospital was a significant place in Andrea’s life, it was a valued work place for her nursing career and also as volunteer in Newborn Care. Andrea worked in the development of the NurtureProgram while helping to develop NurtureTime and piloting the first NurtureGroup - helping to set the stage to what is now a national program. Her position of Practical Support Coordinator gave her the opportunity to plan and implement all things practical. For example: while working with the Nursing Unit manager and Paediatric Occupational and Physio Therapist she helped to customise items and develop new sewing and knitting items used in the Newborn Care Unit. Andrea is an ardent voice for awareness of the ongoing needs and problems of premature and sick newborns. She spoke at the NSW Association of Neonatal Nurses Annual Conference in Sydney October 2009 with her speech “Taking my Premature Baby Home”. She has presented at Sydney’s College of Nursing in Burwood, NSW as well as the Annual Development Conference at Liverpool Public Hospital on the Sensory Processing Problems of these children. She has spoken at other venues with the purpose of community awareness or to gain support. In 2010, Andrea was voted Volunteer of the Year for City of Liverpool, NSW. After a short break Andrea has returned to take on a role as NurtureProgram Support Worker and runs the NurtureGroup Brisbane in Paddington and NurtureTime at the Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital in Brisbane QLD.

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Megan Norbury

NurtureProgram Support Worker, WA

After many years of travelling around the country with my Navy husband, we have now settled in Perth to be close to family. For years I have wanted to 'give back' and support families who are walking a similar journey to the one I did (twice). After discovering the work that Miracle Babies do, I started as a volunteer at NurtureTime and now delighted to take on the role of NurtureProgram Support Worker. After caring for other people's children as an Early Childhood Teacher, I decided the time was right to have one of my own. After what I thought was an uneventful pregnancy, Angus was born via emergency C section at 28+2 weeks due to severe IUGR. After the ups and downs of the NICU he came home, only to return to the PICU where he required a tracheostomy which he had for 11 months. After many years trying to conceive again and many miscarriages (including an angel at 19 weeks), I became pregnant with a baby that was not expected to survive. After a very stressful pregnancy and weeks in hospital I had Saxon at 28+4 weeks due to severe IUGR. Another roller coaster journey and he eventually came home after 16 weeks, continuing on oxygen for 6 months.

Natalie Merida

NurtureProgram Support Worker, NT

Natalie is a mum of twin boys who were born at 28+6 weeks and spent over three months at Royal Darwin Hospital. During her boys’ stay at RDH, Natalie experienced first hand the valuable support and resources that the Miracle Babies Foundation provided to NICU families. She is committed to supporting other NICU families and joined the Miracle Babies team in 2015 as the NT’s NurtureProgram Support Worker.

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Madeline Pussell

Community Events Officer

I was born in 2001 prematurely at just 30 weeks, weighing 1585 grams. I spent 6 weeks in the NICU at Liverpool Hospital and my family built many wonderful relationships with the amazing NICU staff which still continue to do this day. I am now in my first year at University studying Primary School Teaching. I have grown up with Miracle Babies Foundation and am very passionate about helping and supporting not only just the parents but also those born early or sick as they grow and develop. My role is supporting the community with events and fundraising and providing resources to hospitals and families. I am very thankful to be able to be part of such a positive impact on many families and sharing my story can give hope to others. I have been attending and volunteering at Miracle Babies events since its inception and have made so many amazing connections. My brother Marcus was born at 25 weeks and passed away at 2 days old from his extreme prematurity. I was only 2 years old when I got to briefly meet him and hold him in Liverpool Hospital NICU, and each day I have a brother that I don’t get to grow up with. Marcus’ surviving twin Scarlet is a joy in our family. I am blessed to have such a caring and fabulous sister as well as a gorgeous brother who was born at 38 weeks, Liam. I am so proud to be part of Miracle Babies and support the organisation’s vision of ‘better, healthier outcomes’ – I am living that vision!

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Olivia Sheen

Accounts Assistant

I was born in 2001, weighing 2,535 grams at 36+5 weeks. I went blue as soon as I was born and was taken to the SCN. After a week or so I was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. I had open heart surgery at 6 weeks old and again at 14 months old. It was a very scary time for my family, who had to lean on each other for support. I have volunteered at Miracle Babies fundraising events since 2010, when my mum started working at the Foundation as the National Accounts Manager. My role at Miracle Babies is Accounts Assistant, where I help out with compliance at the Foundation. I am in my first year of University studying Secondary Teaching. It is so wonderful to work with such an amazing bunch of dedicated people, helping babies who are born sick or premature, as well as their families, and watching them grow up to become healthy young adults like me.

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Kara Dubois

Media & Marketing Officer

Kara is a mum to three sons, Flynn, Chase and Rhys. She comes from a communications background and brings with her over ten years of broadcast media experience having producing talk-back programs at Sydney radio stations. She loves being creative and thinking up new and exciting ideas and content. The Media & Marketing assistant role supports the Miracle Babies Fundraising, Media and Marketing departments. The position will help develop national media campaigns, create media releases for local projects, and coordinate and edit website and online content.

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Kylie Pussell

CEO, Co-Founder & Board Director

Kylie Pussell Co-Founded Miracle Babies Foundation in 2005. After suffering a miscarriage and losing twin babies at 16 weeks, Kylie gave birth to her daughter Madeline at 30 weeks and was diagnosed with Cervical Incompetence. Madeline was cared for in Liverpool Hospital’s NICU for 6 weeks. Two years later, following a further miscarriage, Kylie delivered twins at just 25 weeks. Both were resuscitated at birth and cared for by the NICU. Sadly Kylie’s son Marcus passed away due to complications from his extreme prematurity. Her daughter Scarlet required ventilation and surgery. Scarlet was cared for in the NICU at Liverpool and Westmead Children’s Hospital and was discharged home just before her due date, 4 months later. Kylie’s son Liam was born at 38 weeks through planned c-section following a transabdominal cerclage. Kylie, a qualified counsellor, has played an integral role in the expansion of the Foundation’s program NurtureTime, the introduction of Miracle Babies Foundation to hospitals nationally and the development of national resources. She developed and implemented Miracle Babies Foundation’s successful volunteer program, designing National Volunteer Induction and Training with TAFE NSW. Kylie was selected in the inaugural The Growth Project in 2015. Kylie delivers presentations and forums on the Foundation to community and corporate, both nationally and internationally and shares her personal journey with her children, delivering parent support and positive change for premature and sick babies. Kylie highlights the needs for parents and families in the NICU and the years ahead. Kylie leads support for our bereaved families and assists families and educational institutions in the learning, social and emotional challenges some of these miracle babies experience in the early years, school aged years and adulthood. Kylie is a Co-Investigator on the POD Study, POD 2 and a previous member of the PSANZ Perinatal Palliative Care Special Interest Group. In July 2019 Kylie became a Founding Committee member of GLANCE and in December 2019 was appointed to the Chair Committee for GLANCE. She is CEO of the foundation and passionate in driving the expansion of services and resources across Australia for all families to be supported, educated and empowered. Kylie was Secretary of the Board from 2009 to 2017 and appointed as CEO by the Board in 2017. During 2019 and 2020 Kylie has been a member of the Working Group on the ICHOM Preterm and Hospitalized Neonates Standard Set and in September 2020 was named Western Sydney Women – 2020 Community Woman of the Year. Kylie has been a Board Director since 2009.

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Melinda Cruz

Founder, Consumer Representative, Advocacy & Secretary of the Board

Miracle Babies Foundation was initiated and founded by Melinda Cruz in 2005. Due to a bicornuate (heart shaped) uterus, Melinda’s first son, Elijah, was born at 34 weeks, spending 2 1/2 weeks in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Her second son Dillon was born at 27 weeks and resuscitated at birth. He spent 9 weeks in hospital before being allowed to go home. Melinda's third son Jasper was born at 37 weeks and also spent time in the NICU. Having had all 3 babies cared for by the NICU, Melinda wanted to remain linked to other mothers of premature babies. She also wanted to give back to the NICU and thank the wonderful staff she credits for saving her babies’ lives. It was from those experiences that the Miracle Babies Foundation was born and has since helped and supported thousands of families. The Foundation has established a major global impact, and the incredible difference it has made supporting families through the birth of a premature or sick baby has seen Melinda win numerous awards including the 2011 EY Social Entrepreneur of the Year and be a regular guest on radio, TV, podcasts and at conferences. In 2015, she was a NSW Woman of the Year - Premiers Award finalist. She is a trusted consumer expert to medical professionals seeking to improve treatments and understanding of the impact a preterm birth has on the family unit. In 2012, she was appointed an Honorary Research Associate at the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Clinical Trials Centre (University of Sydney, Medical School) and was the first parent to be an Associate Investigator (2012) and Chief Investigator (2019) on neonatal trials. In 2014, Melinda joined the Perinatal Society of Australia and NZ (PSANZ) Consumer Advisory Panel and the PSANZ Clinical Trials executive committee. In 2015, she joined the Australian Red Cross Blood Service Milk Bank Advisory Committee. Melinda has been instrumental in a number of other trials such as assisting in obtaining waiver of consent for the TORPIDO 30/60 Trial and facilitating the support of Australian parents during the FiCare Trial. To date, Melinda has co-authored 10 publications. Melinda is also a contributor to THRIVE Global in which she has published six articles to date. In 2014, she ran the New York Marathon with a group of 18 raising over $230K for the Foundation. For three years in a row, she has been an EY Australian Entrepreneur of the Year Judge and in 2020, Melinda will release her first book. Melinda has been a Board Director since 2009.