Emma Louise MacDonald - Westfield Local Heroes 2020
Beautiful memories for grieving parents
Compassionate. Caring. Generous.
When it comes to priorities, Emma MacDonald always puts families dealing with the loss of a child first.
For five years she has been a dedicated and compassionate volunteer with Heartfelt NZ.
The charity provides free photographic memories for families experiencing stillbirth or who are about to lose their child to terminal illness.
Heartfelt looks after around 400 families a year, taking photos of children aged from 22 weeks’ gestation until 17 years of age.
“We capture the love that is evident in the room, the memories and the details,” says Emma.
Last year she met with 150 families: “I am on call 24/7 and it’s not unusual for me leave social occasions, family dinners and work when a family is in need.
Heartfelt families often take a higher priority than friends, family and down time.”
In addition to her own heavy volunteer load, Emma is also the vice-president of Heartfelt and coordinates more than 65 volunteers across New Zealand.
She accommodates requests for home photographs, funeral photographs and coordinates with hospital staff for hospital sessions.
“It is the highest honour to be invited into the darkest hours of the parents’ lives to capture everything that grief and pain will likely dull,” Emma says.
Westfield Local Heroes are nominated and voted for by their communities, with the three top finalists per Westfield centre each awarded a $10,000 grant for their affiliated organisation. Heartfelt NZ will use its grant to help cover the costs of printing photographs.
For further information on the Westfield Local Heroes program, click here