SARATOGA SPRINGS – On a warm day in June, I couldn’t wait to leave work to play the message from one of my dearest friends. Today was the day that she was going to find out if she was pregnant with a baby boy or girl.
As I sat in my school parking lot, hastily typing in my voicemail password, the message was not that of my girlfriend, but of her sweet, kind, loving husband, letting me know that they could not find the baby’s heartbeat and were on their way to the hospital.
Over the course of the next five days, my friend found out that their first child would not be born alive. Rather, she was induced, labored for several days before finally delivering their sweet Susannah Grace after five months of pregnancy. Over the course of the next month, I learned what love, grief and compassion look like through a new lens. I also learned that families not only have to deal the emotional toll that comes with a stillbirth but the financial burden as well.
Angel Names Association (ANA) was founded in May 2001 by Michelle and George Mosca after the stillbirth of their firstborn son, Nicholas. ANA is a nonprofit charitable organization whose main goal is to “lessen the financial burden imposed by stillbirth, provide supportive programs and services for families enduring the trauma of stillbirth, and raise money for stillbirth research”.
Although ANA’s primary focus is on stillbirth, there are also programs to help families who have endured miscarriages and infant death.
Last year, I attended the Angel Names Annual Memorial Walk in Spa State Park. I arrived with tissues in hand, and was amazed to instantly feel the warmth and love between families and strangers alike.
This year, I will be again walking alongside my friends, their 15-month adorable son and my two daughters. The walk is held rain or shine and is free to anyone. Registration begins at noon at the Columbia Pavilion of Saratoga Spa State Park.
The walk starts at 1:15 pm on Saturday, October 7. This 1.5 mile stroll takes individuals around the reflections pool by way of a paved path, perfect for strollers and wheelchairs.
There will be food to purchase, crafts and activities for children, and music provided by The Tail Spin Band. Last year I won a DJ and hour-long photo shoot while bidding on the ANA silent auction items, and I am excited to see what auction items there will be this year.
At 3:30 there will be a non denominational memorial service as the names of each baby lost through miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDs and infant death are read.
For more information about the Angel Names 2017 Memorial Walk please visit http://angelnames.org, or visit ANA on Facebook.
September 26, 2017