The third annual Walk to Remember-Inland Empire will be held on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Cal State San Bernardino.
The walk, sponsored by the CSUSB Institute for Child Development and Family Relations, will commemorate the lives of the hundreds of thousands of families affected by the passing of a baby, whether through pregnancy loss, stillbirth or infancy loss of any kind.
Walk to Remember-IE is a non-profit organization founded by two Cal State San Bernardino graduates, Amanda Balderrama (B.S. nursing, 2003) and Sarah Miles (B.A. human development, 2006) in January 2010 after experiencing their own tragedies, each losing a son.
Statistics from the World Health Organization indicate that this year in the United States 600,000 women will experience a miscarriage, there will be nearly 26,000 stillbirths and 3,000 infants will die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Families will come to walk, many of them carrying the memory of a son or daughter that died during pregnancy or infancy. For most, it will be an opportunity to celebrate and honor their baby’s life, no matter how short.
During the remembrance ceremony, there will be a reading of babies’ names, a musical tribute and an environmentally friendly balloon release. Parents who have experienced a loss will have an opportunity to write a message to their baby to be placed on the Memory Rope.
According to Balderrama and Miles, the Inland Empire lacks the support and assistance to families coping with such losses. Walk to Remember-Inland Empire is actively filling the gap by supporting families within the community who have endured infant loss.
Proceeds from this year’s fundraiser will be used to donate memory boxes to hospitals in the Inland Empire that offer such a program. The memory boxes provide families with priceless keepsakes of their baby before leaving the hospital.
Funds also provide “Sibling Comfort Packages” to sisters and brothers coping with the loss of their baby sibling. In addition, the “Tender Mercies” program provides monetary assistance to families with the unexpected end-of-life fees after losing a baby.
Last year, about 420 participants remembered and honored the memories of 86 infants, raising more than $10,000. The organization used proceeds from the 2011 event to launch the new “Embrace the Journey Program,” which provides support services to families who receive a life-limiting diagnosis for their babies during pregnancy.
In addition, Hemet Valley Medical Center, Parkview Community Hospital in Riverside; Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, San Antonio Community Hospital in Upland; and St. Bernardine Medical Center in San Bernardino received photography materials so that families could capture photos of their babies.
For more information, visit the Walk to Remember-IE website or call (909) 235-WALK (9255). Or contact CSUSB’s Institute of Child Development and Family Relations at (909) 537-3679.
For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit http://news.csusb.edu.