Shining Light Memorial to honor families coping with infant loss

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) – Carle Hospital will host its annual Shining Light Memorial for Pregnancy and Infant Loss on Friday, remembering deceased infants and lost pregnancies.

The ceremony will be held in the hospital’s Shining Light Infant Memorial Garden from 7 to 8 p.m. The event is free and open to all, especially those grieving the loss of a baby or pregnancy, in any stage of their grief.

“No one wants to experience the loss of a child. When the unthinkable does happen, we want to help parents through this awful experience,” said Tiffani Dillard, MD, Obstetrics and Gynecology. “Their child’s life, at any stage of existence and no matter how brief, was important and we want to acknowledge that they were loved. That is what this memorial is about. It is a yearly reminder that someone special was once here and is missed. Hopefully in some small way this will let parents know that we care.”

MaryBess Gordon is one such parent. Gordon’s daughter Maggie was stillborn at 36 weeks nearly two years ago. Gordon regularly visits the garden to sit on a bench she and her family donated in Maggie’s name.

“We think about Maggie every day and say her name every day,” Gordon said. “It was just one of those unfair things. We had such great care at that time and since then we have been trying to do our part to help out.”

Gordon, her husband and her six-month old twins Owen and Annie will be in attendance this Friday. So will Jessica and Patrick Wolff, parents who experienced a loss themselves and who sponsored a bereavement and consultation room in Carle’s neonatal intensive care unit.

Anyone attending the ceremony is expected to wear a mask if they are at least two years old. Those who cannot wear a mask or who wish to remain in private can watch the ceremony through a livestream link. Participants can register using the same link to have their baby’s name recited at the ceremony.

Parking is available in the hospital’s north parking garage.

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