UK HealthCare

Virtual Walk to Remember Honors the Memory of Tiniest Patients

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photo of memorial plaque
Photo of tree planted for 2020 Walk to Remember

LEXINGTON, KY. (Oct. 9, 2020) ­– UK HealthCare’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Labor and Delivery Unit held a virtual Walk to Remember to honor families’ losses from miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death.

The event is typically held at the UK Arboretum, where each year, families and friends come together to honor their child and be reunited with health care providers and staff members who provided compassionate care for their child. The walks are held first Sunday of October, the event occurs during National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.

This year, families were able to participate in the walk virtually with the NICU/Labor and Delivery Bereavement Committee walked on their behalf. NICU director Dr. Mina Hanna gave the welcome address, members of the bereavement committee walked to the trees of the previous years’ memorials and read poems. Music therapist Ashley Wallace performed, and UK HealthCare Chaplain Christine Ross provided prayer and dedicated this year’s memorial tree, a Japanese Lilac. The tree includes a bronze plaque that reads, "In memory of your baby's life, gone but still cherished. Your baby will always be remembered." The tree and plaque were planted near the home demonstration garden and were provided by UK HealthCare Administration.

“It’s more important than ever that families have a way to grieve and honor their lost child and to know they are not alone,” said Michelle Steele, chair of the NICU/Labor and Delivery Bereavement Committee. "Because of the pandemic, families aren’t able to have a funeral or service when their infant died and this is a way to help provide that closure and outlet for their grief.”

“Even though in-person events aren’t possible right now, we know that the walk has become an important annual event for families,” said Sandra Mojesky, divisional charge nurse in Labor and Delivery and a longtime committee member. “Some families come year after year and bring their children so they can also remember and honor their lost sibling. It is really meant as a time for healing and remembrance and we hope anyone in the community who has suffered an infant loss will find comfort and closure here.”

For more information about the Walk to Remember or for resources to help with grief and loss, contact the UK Pastoral Care Office at 859-323-5301. 

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.