Annual Walk Offers Solace & Support for Grieving Families
TALLAHASSEE, FL –In 2014, 67 families in Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor and Gadsden counties experienced the devastation of a pregnancy or infant loss. To support these grieving families, Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition (CAHSC) will host the annual “Walk to Remember” on Thursday, Oct. 15.
Held each year to commemorate National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, the walk, which was created in 2002, gives families an opportunity to share their stories with others who have had similar experiences. This type of loss is a reality that LaDaisha Henderson knows all too well.
Henderson lost her infant daughter, Raiyah Williams, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in December 2014 when the four month old stopped breathing in her sleep.
“It was a typical evening the night before she passed away. I fed her a bottle, burped her, and she was off to sleep. On my queen-sized bed, I placed her on her back on top of a small quilt that was made for her, and then shortly afterward I fell asleep. On December 8, around 3:00 a.m., I woke up realizing that my baby girl had stopped breathing. She was cold to the touch. I quickly jumped up and attempted to perform CPR. I blew air in her mouth and then I saw blood coming from her nose, and that really concerned me.
I rushed to my car, put my child’s lifeless body in the car seat, and went to the nearest hospital. That is where they confirmed what I already knew to be true—that my little angel was gone.”
While it has been difficult to deal with the loss, Henderson has started a campaign to educate other families about SIDS. She is also serving as the media family for this event.
It is these kinds of losses that CAHSC fights to prevent every day. “As the agency that monitors the health and mortality of infants in our area, we see first-hand the devastation that losing a baby has on a family,” said Kristy Goldwire, Executive Director of CAHSC. “Aside from trying to find solutions to this heartbreaking problem, we also want to provide tangible support and comfort to the families who have experienced a loss. Walk to Remember is our way of doing that.”
The event will start at 5:30 p.m. with a reception at the Saint Paul United Methodist Church located at 1700 North Meridian Road. Other activities will include a memorial service, the reading of a proclamation, and the reading of each baby’s name and more. Refreshments, support by grief counselors, and childcare will also be available.
At 7:30 p.m., participants will walk around Lake Ella paying tribute to their babies during a candlelit ceremony to the sounds of the Tallahassee Pipe Band.
“The idea of babies dying is a difficult topic to think about, let alone discuss,” said Jerri Hanna, CAHSC Board President. “Now imagine the challenge of living through such an occurrence. This Walk is about letting our families know we empathize with them and want to offer all the support we can as we continue to fight infant mortality.”