NEWBORN: Jack and Michelle O'Leary with baby Patrick at Murwillumbah Hospital.
NEWBORN: Jack and Michelle O'Leary with baby Patrick at Murwillumbah Hospital. Contributed

Big read: how to prevent childhood cancers

MOTHER'S breast milk has thousands of essential nutrients and is proven to reduce a baby's chance of childhood cancer and diabetes.

But it was the milk's ability to soothe baby Patrick which parents Michelle and Jack O'Leary remember most.

Mr O'Leary said when "Paddy" was born at Murwillumbah Hospital four years ago, but the baby had difficulty feeding so Banora Point-based charity Mothers Milk Bank provided some donated breast milk.

"It was unusual to begin with but then it just made sense," said Mr O'Leary, a social worker at the Tweed Family Centre.

"I had done work in Africa where there were wet nurses utilised so I was very pleased it was a service being offered here in Australia.

"It was very anxiety-reducing to have access to that."

The experience prompted Mr O'Leary to enlist the help of his traditional Irish band to help the Mothers Milk Bank with their new fundraising efforts.

The organisation is in desperate need of a new pasteuriser to replace its 10-year-old instrument, ahead of their relocation to the Southern Cross University midwifery unit at the Gold Coast campus next year.

"We are going to perform for this milk pasteuriser that they need to get, just going to give our time, and people have put up their homes to host these concerts," Mr O'Leary said.

Mothers Milk Bank director Marea Ryan said she was humbled by the musicians and felt the new device would herald a new chapter in the Milk Bank's story.

The charity has been operating on the Tweed for 10 years, providing hundreds of families with donated milk, running its pasteuriser into disrepair.

Donations can be needed for a number of reasons including complicated birth leading to delayed milk production, supply decline due to the demand of multiple births or the demands of a sick or colicy baby.

"We are providing milk to hundreds of babies and there are other babies in the community who we can help," Ms Ryan said.

Despite what marketing companies may lead women to believe, breast milk is superior to powder, Ms Ryan said.

"There are component anti-tumour cells and they help to protect against childhood cancers, including leukaemia, and that's been acknowledged by the Federal Government.

"There are 12,000 essential nutrients in breast milk compared to 30 in powder milk formula; there are antibodies in the breast milk preventing 20 different bacterial infections and components that reduce diabetes by 39%."

STORING MILK: Marea Ryan pictured at the Banora Point-based Mothers milk bank.
STORING MILK: Marea Ryan pictured at the Banora Point-based Mothers milk bank. John Gass

Breast milk is donated by local donor mothers, who have been health screened.

That milk is expressed and frozen, and after it is received, defrosted and pasteurised at 62.5 degrees for 30 minutes before being quickly chilled to maintain nutritional integrity.

The machine the charity hopes to buy will be the first of its kind in Australia, working on steam, not water.

Residents are invited to attend a series of four concerts supported by the Family Centre at Tweed and Gold Coast locations to raise funds for the Mothers Milk Bank pasteuriser.

The first live performance will be at a Terranora home. followed by other concerts.

Three-piece band The Munster Bucks claim to be "the only all-Irish band in Brisbane (if not Australia) and are made up of a Corkman, Kerryman and a Waterford man" who will play folk songs, ballads, traditional tunes with guitar, banjo, uilleann pipes, whistles, flute, drums and mandolin.

"This will be an opportunity for the local people to be able to enjoy good music, raise funds and be entertained at the same time," Mr O'Leary said.

WHEN AND WHERE THE CONCERTS ARE

 

IN CONCERT: The Munster Bucks will perform at a Terranora home for charity.
IN CONCERT: The Munster Bucks will perform at a Terranora home for charity. Contributed


Man accused of indecent assault of two teens

premium_icon Man accused of indecent assault of two teens

A man has been charged with indecent assault of two teenage girls

Revealed: Suburbs with most road fatalities

premium_icon Revealed: Suburbs with most road fatalities

Blacktown, Clarence Valley top areas with most road deaths

COURT: See the list of 40+ people in court today

premium_icon COURT: See the list of 40+ people in court today

Here’s a list of everyone appearing in Tweed Heads Local Court today