“At our upcoming Footprints on the Heart Remembrance Event, we will be honoring over 201 babies,” said Khristie Staines, who is leading the organization along with Lori Dowdy and Ruthiey Boggs. “Last year we honored 40 babies. This increase in number shows that there is a need locally for an event of this type to be held each year. Many of our babies being honored are local. However, we will also be honoring babies from over 10 states.
“The thanks of gratitude from our attendees, at our 2012 Remembrance Event, touched our hearts in so many ways. Many of the attendees were family and friends. Being able to share in the loss journey with others and possibly offer them words of comfort, encouragement and resource information has been the biggest blessing by far. We hope that attendees at this year’s event will realize that it is OK to speak of their precious angels and that together we can end the silence that surrounds pregnancy and infant loss.”
One of the individuals Staines referred to is Jacky Souders, who called the gathering “powerful” and helpful in the healing process.
In a quote provided by Footprints on the Heart, Souders said, “The event last October was more powerful than I can ever describe. Footprints on the Heart organized an event for a group of people normally full of silent members. Infant and pregnancy loss is a hard topic to discuss, I know as we have experienced three pregnancy losses.
“To be around others who have experienced losses like mine is a huge step in healing. Hearing stories of mothers who no longer have their precious child to hold on to is heartbreaking to say the least. But these stories need to be heard. These events need to be held in every community. Too many families experience the heartbreak that we have, but the only way to help heal those who remain is letting them know they are not alone. To show them their children may no longer be here, but they will never be forgotten.”
To be held at the former Emmie Nelson Library building at 108 Covered Bridge Road S.W., the event also will consist of speakers, resource materials from local organizations, singing, food and the opportunity to create an ornament that will be featured on a memorial tree for pregnancy and infant loss at the Euharlee Festival of Trees offering.
“Our goal is to raise awareness, and education, for pregnancy and infant loss in our local community,” Staines said. “Someday we hope to create a nonprofit organization that offers various services/resources to those who have been affected by pregnancy and infant loss. We have enjoyed meeting those in our community and look forward to continuing our mission of raising awareness and education for pregnancy and infant loss. For now, that is all that we can do — and we are doing it one precious angel at a time.”
National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month was implemented by President Ronald Reagan in 1988, followed by the U.S. House of Representatives designating Oct. 15 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in 2001.
Emphasizing that infant and pregnancy loss is a widespread issue, the Footprints on the Heart’s new release stated, “According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the American Pregnancy Association: 18,000 babies pass away each year within 28 days of birth, and 27,000 within 1 year; 26,000 women experience pregnancy loss through stillbirth each year; 670,000 women experience pregnancy loss through miscarriages, ectopic, or molar pregnancy.”
Along with sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, more information about the Euharlee event can be obtained on the Facebook page “Footprints on the Heart.”