POINT PLEASANT — The Point Pleasant Riverfront Park will be the site of the sixth annual Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day on Oct. 15.
Set from 6 to 8 p.m., the mission of the ceremony is to remember babies lost due to miscarriage, stillbirth, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or other causes, according to organizers Hannah Parsons, Heather Spencer and Missy Thomas.
Parsons said the event is held annually for the purpose of healing.
“We want to help families heal,” she stated. “How better than to do it together. This issue shouldn’t be taboo. We should all talk about our children as they were, and still are, very much a part of our lives.”
On the schedule for the evening will be a balloon release, luminary lighting, and the reading of babies’ names. Rev. Rich Fuller will speak, and there will be special singing by Kristen Durst. Parsons said the organizers are also working closely with Wayne Saunders of the Mason County Right to Life.
Parsons said friends and family joined together to purchase and donate the balloons, luminaries and helium. That keeps everything free for families wishing to participate.
She said it is important that families come to see that everyone remembers, and that they aren’t alone.
“One of my favorite quotes is, “To the person in emotional turmoil, there is immense healing available in two little words: Me too,’” Parsons said. “This quote is kind of perfect because only those of us who have lost a child can understand the pain.”
Parents do not have to be present to have a child’s name read, or to have a balloon launched in their memory. Parsons said she also understands that not everyone wants to publicly share their story, so families are also welcome to come and simply observe. The public is invited to attend, as well.
A Facebook event page has been established under “2017 Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.” People can list their child’s name and the color of balloon they want launched (pink for girls, blue for boys, white for gender unknown). Parsons can also be reached by phone at 304-857-2640, and Spencer at 304-812-7994.
The local event came as a result of a proclamation signed in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan, who declared the month of October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
Reagan said at the time, “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.”
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.