LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 27, 2019) – On Oct. 6, UK HealthCare’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Labor and Delivery Unit will host the annual Walk to Remember at 4 p.m. at The Arboretum at the University of Kentucky.
Each year, about 100 families mourn a loss from miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death at UK HealthCare, the region’s only Level IV neonatal intensive care unit. The ceremony – open to all families who have suffered loss whether or not affiliated with UK – is a chance to remember and to ensure those children are never forgotten.
"This service provides a way for families to honor and remember their child and to let them know they are not alone in their grief," said Michelle Steele, chair of the NICU/Labor and Delivery Bereavement Committee. "Many families didn’t have a funeral or service when their infant died through miscarriage or an early loss and this is a way to help provide that closure and outlet for their grief.”
The event also reunites families with health care providers and staff members who provided compassionate care for their child. Held the first Sunday of October, the event occurs during National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.
Families are invited to arrive at 4 p.m. for registration and refreshments; the walk will begin at 4:30 p.m. The event includes a craft table for children, the planting of a Yoshino cherry tree that includes an engraved memorial plaque, special readings and music. The event concludes with a release of biodegradable balloons tied to special messages from the families to their child.
In addition, families can write a message to their baby and plant it with the tree that includes an inscription and bronze plaque provided by UK HealthCare administration that reads, "In memory of your baby's life, gone but still cherished. Your baby will always be remembered."
“The Walk has become an important annual event and some families now come year after year and bring their children they have had since their loss so they can also remember and honor their lost sibling,” said Sandra Mojesky, divisional charge nurse in Labor and Delivery and a longtime committee member. “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 feel welcome to attend.”
In the event of rain, the service will be held in the chapel of Chandler Hospital.
For more information about the Walk to Remember, contact the UK Pastoral Care Office at 859-323-5301.
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