By Shelby Brooks

INVERLOCH woman Danielle Snelling has created a network of support for grieving daughters who have lost their mums through her charity, Motherless Daughters Australia (MDA).

The organisation represents, informs and connects women and girls whose mothers have died, providing a support network that Danielle knows all too well is vital for recovery.

Danielle, who is the co-founder of MDA, lost her mum, Rosa, in 2012 when she was just 23.

“It was a very lonely and isolating experience,” she said.

“I didn’t know anyone else my age who had experienced that loss.”

Searching for a support group to help her through her grief, Danielle struggled to find other young women experiencing the same situation.

“I saw an opportunity that I could create some sort of support group for other women like me,” Danielle said.

She found and connected with Eloise Baker-Hughes who had also lost her mother at a young age and together the two created MDA.

In late 2017, MDA was registered as a charity and not-for-profit and recently obtained Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status.

“It’s been really expanding and it’s turned into something we never thought it could,” Danielle said.

“It’s grown to a network of 4000 women.”

Danielle said the organisation offers a range of initiatives to support daughters of all ages.

“What we do is largely informed by the community we have,” Danielle said.

“(Pre-COVID times) we hold a pre-Mother’s Day high tea which is an opportunity to connect face-to-face; we have online support groups, fact sheets and children initiatives.”

Inverloch florist supporting daughters

Daughters who are unable to travel to the resting place of their mothers because of COVID-19 restrictions can have flowers delivered to local cemeteries, thanks to Motherless Daughters Australia.

Danielle said the service evolved from COVID-19 travel restrictions.

“Women can request a small bunch of flowers placed at their mother’s resting place and a volunteer in the area can do that for them,” she said.

Kim Cross of Aspire Flowers and Inverloch Nursery, who has followed Danielle’s journey for many years, will now deliver flowers to gravesites of those unable to visit their mother’s resting place in Inverloch.

“I’ve lost my own mum, which brings home what a loss it actually is,” Kim said.

“I feel for people who can’t get that bit of understanding or joy when you lay flowers and reflect on the loss.

“It feels good to help people in those situations.”