Virginia nonprofit aims to help women in the wake of infant and pregnancy loss

Health

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (NewsNation Now) — October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and a group of women is raising money for their organization, which caters to women who have endured this loss in a very special way.

In most cases when a woman finds out she is expecting, she always looks forward to that moment when she hears the first cry and holds them for the first time. But one in four women don’t get to experience that due to stillbirth. That’s why these women created Weighted Angels.

Kate Crump, Kasie Ballard and Sarah Berry all had hopes of bringing home their firstborn, but that wasn’t their fate.

“About three and a half years ago, I had a stillbirth at 37 weeks and gave birth to my daughter here in Williamsburg,” said Berry.

“The husband and I lost our son Ellet back in June of 2018,”said Crump.

“My son was stillborn when I was 20 years old here in Williamsburg,” said Ballard.

Although at different times, each woman experienced loss through stillbirth.

“Something that we all expressed was that it was really hard leaving the hospital and not having anything to carry out,” said Berry.

It was a feeling they never wanted another woman to have to experience. Ballard said after hearing of another friend experiencing the loss, she jumped into action.

“Me and my husband worked all night to find an animal that would fit the 9 pounds that her son was and we rushed it to her. And then Heidi told Kate about her sloth and how much it helped her and then I made a deer for Kate and it just steamrolled,” she explained.

That’s how the Weighted Angels were born. They’re individually stuffed plush toys weighted to the amount of the child a family has lost. In each box, there is a personalized note, a celebration of life certificate and a list of resources for the grieving mother.

Crump was one of the first to receive one.

“When you lose your child, all you want is for people to say their name and recognize their baby existed and they were here, and having somebody think about you is just the most heartwarming experience that you can have,” said Crump.

Right now, they supply to six different hospitals and have given out more than 400 animals.

“It’s been very healing to have my son’s name associated with something positive. To hear and not just be the sad story of what happened to Kasie after college, it’s [like] look what she’s done, look what they’ve done with their babies’ honor, look at this legacy,” said Ballard.

Now you can also help honor their legacy or anyone else you know who is suffering by joining their virtual 5k.

“October 10th to 17th, we are doing a virtual 5k. This is our second annual 5k that we’ve done. All of the money that we raise is going back into our mission to help create more animals for hospitals,” explained Crump.

It’s an emotional job, but it’s what these ladies believe will make the biggest impact.

“I would have killed to have someone there just to say ‘This is normal and what you’re feeling is normal and it’s okay to be angry and it’s okay to question God and it’s okay to be jealous,’” said Ballard.

“Don’t let people forget about your baby and try to remember your baby as much as possible because that was always something that was important to me is that people would say her name,” added Berry.

“Support is everything,” said Crump.

The virtual 5k lasts for one week starting on Oct. 10. Early bird registration is $20 and begins Thursday. For more information on how you can register click here or learn more information about Weighted Angels click here.

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