Oliver's 5K Walk/Run for Stillbirth Awareness and Research
Last Saturday my husband, son and I drove to South Salem, NY to participate in Oliver's 5K Walk/Run. Tyler and Hilary Hughes is a couple whose son was stillborn two years ago. They wanted to have a fundraiser in his honor to raise money for research, something desperately lacking for stillbirth.
After months of communication, we were finally able to meet Hilary and Tyler Hughes, their families, and Shauna of Star Legacy Foundation, who came in from Minnesota to support the walk. When we arrived the registration table, snacks and drinks were being set up and we helped out with that. Soon it was time to start registration. Tons of people had pre-registered and even more people registered on that day as well. I was excited with the amount of support the Hughes' received, as well as the amount of people who had stillbirths or knew someone who had a stillbirth. I myself was walking on behalf of our own son Aleksei who passed 10 year ago, my cousin's son Mason McLain, and a friend's daughter, Kennedy Grey Smith. Before the walk/run began, Hilary read the names of the babies we were honoring through the walk aside from her own little Oliver. Then I spoke about the statistics of stillbirth and what more is needed. Finally, Shauna was able to speak about the work the Star Legacy Foundation has been doing and will continue to do through the funds raised. My lovely husband was the unofficial photographer of the day.
I spent my time during the walk talking to parents, grandparents, family and friends about stillbirth. I was moved by the stories of heartache and pain. I wish that people understood that stillbirth is not an isolated event relegated to just parents...all loved one are affected, everyone hurts. That's why it is imperative that we have consistent, meaningful research. I want to help fight for stillbirth research laws and also laws that support families through their grief. Our goal is less parents going home with empty arms.
We honored our babies in the stars and raised $30,000 for the Star Legacy Foundation. It was an amazing event!! It was Tyler and Hilary's first run for stillbirth and they did a phenomenal job! Society wants us to forget our babies. They want us to feel as if we had phantom pregnancies, but, runs like Oliver's 5K Walk/Run is one way that grieving families are able to keep their memories alive. I look forward to next year's run!!