A Walk to Remember
By Kristy Goldwire, MSW
Capital Area Healthy Stare
When LaDaisha Henderson awoke that night to find her infant daughter not crying or breathing, she panicked. “She was cold to the touch and I didn’t know what happened. I quickly jumped up and attempted to perform CPR,” Henderson said. “When I blew air in her mouth, I saw blood coming from her nose and that really scared me.”
LaDaisha rushed her baby to the hospital where they confirmed what she already knew, “my little angel was gone.” Henderson lost her 4-month old daughter, Raiyah Williams, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) last December. Sadly, she is not alone. In 2014, 67 families in Leon, Wakulla, Jefferson, Madison, Taylor and Gadsden counties experienced the same devastation when they had a fetal or infant loss.
To support these grieving families, we will host our annual “Walk to Remember” at Saint Paul United Methodist Church on Thursday, Oct. 15. Held each year to commemorate National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, this walk gives families an opportunity to share their stories with others who have had similar experiences.
As the Coalition continues to monitor pregnancy and birth outcomes in our area, we see through our fetal and infant mortality review (FIMR) project and family interviews the impact losing a baby has on a family. We want to find solutions to this heartbreaking problem as well as provide tangible support and comfort to the families. Walk to Remember is our way of doing that.
The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with a reception at the church which is 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. Refreshments, supported by grief counselors, and childcare will also be available. At 7:30 p.m., participants will take a candlelit walk around Lake Ella to pay tribute to their babies as the Tallahassee Pipe Band plays a rendition of Amazing Grace.
Families will also have the opportunity to make remembrance quilt squares where they can write a tribute to their babies. The squares are then incorporated into a full size quilt with other squares that we display in our office and at other events we host. The quilts serve as a beautiful memorial for families and as a reminder to the Coalition that we must continue fighting to end infant mortality. The ultimate goal is to no longer need quilts to remember these precious little ones.
As for LaDaisha, these past several months have been difficult, but she is redirecting her pain to help others. She has started a campaign to educate families about SIDS and she is also serving as the media family for our Walk to Remember.
It is important to us that anyone who has dealt with a loss know about events like this. Regardless of how recently or how long ago the loss occurred, this walk is an opportunity to gather with other families and friends for support. For more information, visit www.CapitalAreaHealthyStart.org or call Tracy Coomer at 850-488-0288 x109.