Brooke Hopkins,
Founder & President of the Kelly Ryan Foundation

Brooke with husband Robert, and daughters Kate (5) and  Kristen (3)

Brooke with husband Robert, and daughters Kate (5) and Kristen (3)

The Kelly Ryan Foundation was created nineteen months ago after our youngest daughter, Kelly, was stillborn. I was in labor at 39 weeks when my doctor looked me in the eye and said, “There is no heartbeat.” Up until that day I had a normal, textbook pregnancy.

Kelly had a pink nursery set up for her, two sisters eager to play with her, and a mother and father whose dreams were wrapped up in her. Like two million other women across the world each year, I suffered a stillborn birth without any indication prior that something was wrong. While I should have been planning for her birth announcement, my husband, Robert, and I were forced to plan for Kelly’s funeral. It was our worst nightmare.

Not knowing what to do with our grief while trying to “put the pieces together,” Robert and I have launched Hope After Loss’s sister foundation, the Kelly Ryan Foundation. We help raise funds for the Hope After Loss Burial Assistance program, which provides advice and funding to lower-income bereaved families who cannot afford to bury their babies privately. Through research we learned of some of the horrible options many families have to choose among when they cannot cover burial expenses. The Kelly Ryan Foundation makes it our mission to assist these families so they are able to lay their babies to rest with the same dignity that others are afforded.

We raise money by basically having a party! Our first event was a Silent Auction and Wine Tasting event at the Woodbridge Country Club on September 29, 2013, and the latest was a Golf Tournament, which also featured dinner and a silent and live auction, at the New Haven Country Club on June 2, 2014. We are honored to say that after just two events, we will have donated close to $30,000 dollars to Hope After Loss. I am passionate about giving back to my community and by using my party planning skills, I am able to give back in an easy way: by hosting a party!

It is the “helping of others” that inspires me and helps my own family’s healing. Realizing the pain of so many parents has given me the strength to help in ways I never expected before Kelly. She is our angel and through this foundation, we are hoping to help comfort those in desperate need of an angel… having lost one of their own as well.

Meeting new friends and spending time together at any event is always healing. We hope to see YOU at the next Kelly Ryan Foundation event! Further information can be found here.

*If you are interested in hosting your own event to support Hope After Loss and our programs, please contact our Program Director, Melissa, at melissak@hopeafterloss.org. Thank you for your support.