By Jennifer Lane
Hardin County Independent
Mothers, fathers, family and friends in the community gathered together for a walk to remember babies that were lost too soon. The memorial walk named, “A Walk With Angels” organized by Nancy Andrade, began last Thursday at the Rosiclare City Park. Thursday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Nancy Andrade and fiancé Jarod Hall, of Elizabethtown, IL, lost their baby boy Hunter Hall too soon. Hunter was born on April 22, 2015 with a heart defect and unexpectedly died at home when he was only 20 days old. It was a very hard time for the family. Trying to find comfort, Andrade read a book from a foundation named “Hayden’s Heart” that was sent to her in the mail. She learned how important it is to square away a special time to celebrate the child each year, because families like hers miss out on those special holidays and milestones that are celebrated for a child each year as he or she grows. Andrade decided to plan a walk to remember her baby and was surprised at how many others were going through the same thing that she was. She imagined that it would only be herself and her family who would walk, but it turned into something much bigger and more meaningful than she imagined. Andrade is not originally from this area and she is not known by many, but over 100 people joined her at the park to honor over 30 babies who were lost too soon due to miscarriage, stillbirth, illness or other issues. “It was so nice to see all who participated, but hard to look at how many people are going through our same experience” said Andrade. “It saddens our hearts.” Before the walk began, participants had fellowship and shared stories about their babies at a shelter in the park. Participants wore shirts that were previously ordered and some had the names of their babies printed on the back. The group gathered for prayer and then took a walk on a marked route through part of the town. Along the route, pink and blue balloons were attached to signs giving facts about infant and pregnancy loss. Other signs shared thoughts reflecting the loss families go through. Along the route the First Christian had a refreshment and rest station to show its support. When the group returned from the walk, participants were given sky lanterns and markers. They were encouraged to write messages to their babies on the lanterns. At approximately 7:00 p.m. the group had grown to even more participants and convened near the river to have a moment of silence before letting the sky lanterns go into the night’s sky. Participant Laurita Stanford Moore lost her baby, Jason Anthony Jones, when he was only 19 months old, 26 years ago. She said that back then when people lost a babies, it was expected that they just go through it and move on. Now, there is more support for infant awareness and loss. Moore was happy to see this event take place. She feels that it is important for those to have that special time to share things about their babies. It also gives them a chance to be supportive to those going through similar experiences. Moore knew Andrade through church and was able to be there and give her family support during the loss of baby Hunter. Moore was surprised by the turn out. She hopes to see this event annually with even more community support. “Everyone’s situation with their baby is different, but we are all sharing the same emotion,” said Moore. “Anyone can sympathize for this loss, but once you’ve gone through it then you can empathize.” Andrade and her fiancé Hall collected a $1 walk fee, sold refreshments and collected donations to go to the newly formed Hunter Hall Foundation in memory of their baby. This foundation was created to help families financially with pregnancy or infant loss funeral expenses. Andrade was surprised by the generous amount that was raised at this event. She plans for this to be an annual walk and hopes more will come next year. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is October 15th each year. For more information visit the group’s Facebook page: “A walk with Angels” or write to Nancy at Nancy Andrade, R.R. 2, Box 223, Elizabethtown, IL 62931.