When Kyleigh passed away at birth in 2012, my biggest fear as her mother was that she would be forgotten. How would people remember her when they didn’t even get to meet her? No amount of sympathy cards, flowers or meals in the present could replace the fear that she would be forgotten in the future. This fear became one of the main driving forces behind creating the Kyleigh’s Gift Fund through Liberty Hospital Foundation. We wanted a way to remember our daughter, a way for people to think of her on her birthday, a way to show people that although not here, she was making a difference.
Kyleigh’s Gift has grown into so much more than we ever imagined it would. And it’s still growing! We are entering the seventh year of giving SleepSack Swaddles to every baby born at Liberty Hospital Birthing Center. Meal vouchers for NICU mothers and car seats/pack ‘n plays for families in need are two other ways that Kyleigh’s Gift impacts families at Liberty Hospital. Offering support through miscarriage care packages and memory boxes for women enduring pregnancy and infant loss are ways that we reach out to the bereaved. Providing the gift of time through an in-room cooling device, the Caring Cradle, gives families the opportunity to create more memories when faced with a devastating loss. We are continually monitoring these, and other programs, and finding new initiatives that will positively impact the Liberty community.
Kyleigh’s Gift started as a way for us to remember Kyleigh. Now, it has become an avenue for others to remember the Kyleigh in their life…babies like Henry, Lincoln, Eden, Benjamin, Daniel, Tyler, Hadley, Logan and Faith. Families who have been greatly impacted by the Caring Cradle have used this as a way to give back to Kyleigh’s Gift through memorial donations. These families were positively impacted during a devastating time because of the generosity of others who had given to Kyleigh’s Gift before them. Others have donated miscarriage care package items as a way to show appreciation for the memorial gift items they received while experiencing their own loss.
Remembrance is not always about loss though. The Castledine family created a team and participated in the 2018 Kyleigh’s Gift Run/Walk as a way to give back to the fund after receiving meal vouchers during a long NICU stay. They used the Run/Walk as a way to remember the loving care they received by nurses and the support received by Kyleigh’s Gift during their time spent in the NICU. The Castledine Team was the largest team, raising the most money, which earned them the 2018 Wave of Light Award. One of the greatest things about the Run/Walk is that it brings families together from all experiences. Families who have had a loss are standing next to families who brought their baby home and everyone is remembering in their own way. This creates a unique environment of support, love and friendship.
Giving back is just one way that we remember. Did you have a positive experience during your stay at the Birthing Center? Did you benefit from a meal voucher, SleepSack or pack ‘n play? Was your family impacted by bereavement resources or memorial gifts? Are you looking for a way to include others in remembering with you? We invite you to use the Kyleigh’s Gift Run/Walk and Candlelight as a way to remember, whether that remembrance is a way to calm a fear that your baby will be forgotten or simply a way to say ‘thank you.’