Every year in October – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month – we hold our annual Footprints on Our Hearts Walk. We meet as a community of bereaved men, women, family, and friends to walk in honor of all babies gone too soon. Resources for the bereaved, a ceremony honoring and remembering all babies gone too soon, and activities for siblings/children are just some of the components of this special day. We also host a remembrance table and encourage everyone to bring photos, poems, and other remembrance items to display; this is a place where trained peer support providers are there to talk and – most importantly – to listen. It is an emotional, yet empowering day.
The walk is also our biggest fundraiser of the year. Funds raised allow us to continue to provide our bereavement support services – including peer-led bereavement support groups and one-on-one support – at no charge. In addition, funds raised directly support low-income parents in our region who have lost a baby but cannot afford a burial, as well as community outreach and awareness programs.
We hope to see you at our next Footprints on Our Hearts Walk!
Online candle-lighting ceremony October 15th
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month throughout the United States noting that, “National Observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members on work to prevent causes of these problems….”
Robyn Bear, founder of www.october15th.com envisioned a day when all grieving parents could come together and be surrounded by love and support from their friends and families, a day where the community could better understand their pain and learn how to reach our to those grieving. This would be a day to reflect on the loss yet embrace the love. While our babies’ lives were so brief, they were also very meaningful. Yet, there was not a time to talk about them. Our society seemed to forget or perhaps, simply didn’t know how to reach out. Since October had been proclaimed “Awareness Month,” she chose a day, in the middle of the month to become, “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.”
We are asking everyone in all time zones, worldwide, to join us in a candle lighting ceremony at 7pm on October 15th.
~history taken from www.october15th.com
Winter Remembrance Ceremony
Our annual Winter Remembrance Ceremony is a night filled with light and love where bereaved people, friends, and family come together in support and remembrance. Members are welcome to bring a keepsake item, a photo, a poem, or any other remembrance items to share. Handmade, custom ornaments are also given to each family. We hope to see you at this beautiful event.
Compassionate Care Award
Each year, we present our Compassionate Care Award to a health care provider in the state of Connecticut. The purpose of this award is to recognize and promote excellence in the care of families that have lost a pregnancy or infant.
Our 2014 honorees were Alicia Esposito, RN, of Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Labor and Delivery Unit at the Saint Raphael Campus, and Sally Irons, MD, of Middlesex Obstetrical & Gynecological Associates. You can read a press release about our honorees here.
Our 2015 honoree is Jan Ferarro, a Childbirth Educator of Lawrence & Memorial Hospital and other locations throughout the state, including private one-on-one services. As this year marks our 20th anniversary as a community, we will also honor, Hygeia’s founder, Dr. Michael Berman at the Compassionate Care Awards Ceremony that will be held at the Kelly Ryan Golf Fundraiser. You may purchase tickets here.
Spring Remembrance Ceremony
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be difficult after losing a baby. We take this time to come together as a community in remembrance. In May of 2014 we created a collaborative mural which hangs in our office and we hope to continue this type of project in the years to come.
On Sunday, May 3, 2015, we invite our community to join us at the International Bereaved Mother’s Day Official World-Wide Event on our Facebook page. We will be celebrating the strength of all women within our community that evening from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. and hope to see you there.
Put your own event together in support of Hope After Loss
Here are some ideas on how YOU can raise money in support of the Hope After Loss community:
- Make items that you can sell to raise money. Perhaps you or someone you know has a creative talent, such as making jewelry or quilting. Try selling homemade items!
- Do you know any musicians or celebrities who would play a benefit show?
- Ask local retailers if they would like to donate goods or services for a silent auction. They get a nice tax write off, advertising and good PR. Have stuff for as many price ranges as you can find. Spa treatments, hotel weekends and gift certificates are big sellers.
- Hold a 50/50 raffle- sometimes the winner even donates their winnings back to the charity!
- Target occasions such as birthdays and public holidays where it is easy to net many people simultaneously. Partner with a local restaurant, bar, winery, etc. where a percentage of the proceeds from a specific item can go to your charity.
Organize a community rummage sale.
- Organize with a restaurant to donate a fixed amount of money for every patron on a certain period. Promote the restaurant wildly to create a buzz around the cause. Many local TV stations will even do a spot to promote it. All you have to do is ask!
- Organize a “dress down/causal dress day” in your work place. Ask management if they would be willing to support this event by having interested employees donate to your cause