“We walk the steps our babies will never take.”
That will likely be the mantra of the participants of the 4th annual Walk to Remember-Inland Empire on Saturday, Oct. 19, at Cal State San Bernardino to commemorate the lives of the hundreds of thousands of families affected by the passing of a baby, through pregnancy loss, stillbirth, and infancy loss of any kind.
Registration is $20 and check-in begins at 8 a.m. The Remembrance Ceremony begins at 9 a.m.
The walk is sponsored by the CSUSB Institute for Child Development and Family Relations. Two Cal State San Bernardino graduates – Amanda Balderrama (B.S. nursing, 2003) and Sarah Miles (B.A. human development, 2006) – founded the non-profit organization, Walk to Remember-IE, in January 2010 after experiencing their own tragedies; each lost a son.
Last year, more than 600 participants remembered and honored the memories of 104 babies. The walk raised more than $11,000. These funds were able to help with a broad range of projects that included:
- A year’s worth of memory boxes were purchased for two local hospitals that did not have the funds to provide them for the families in their care;
- The donation of photography materials to ensure all families were able to capture pictures of their babies at the following hospitals: St. Bernardine Medical Center, San Antonio Community Hospital, Parkview Community Hospital, Hemet Valley Medical Center, and Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center;
- Providing more than 10 sibling comfort packages to brothers and sisters grasping the loss of their baby sibling;
- Assisting three families with the unexpected end-of-life fees through the organization’s Tender Mercies Program; and
- The newly established Embrace the Journey Program walked with two families through their journey of finding joy in the midst of carrying their baby to term despite receiving the heartbreaking news that their baby would not live long after birth, if at all.
The funds raised by the 2012 Walk to Remember also provided supplies for a local peer support group to create keepsakes for the members’ babies and to celebrate their motherhood on the International Bereaved Mother’s Day.
Proceeds from this year’s fundraiser will be used to ensure every hospital within the region has memory box programs and the needed equipment and supplies to provide families in their care with priceless keepsakes of their baby before leaving the hospital.
With the funds raised the institute will continue to distribute sibling comfort packages to sisters and brothers grasping the loss of their new baby, and make funds available for the Tender Mercies Program that provides compassionate assistance to families with the unexpected end-of-life fees after losing a baby, as well as fund the Embrace the Journey program for families enduring a diagnosis in pregnancy. The proceeds also will help establish and sustain support systems in communities for those who have experienced a loss.
In addition to the walk, there will be a remembrance ceremony with 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.
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 of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
According to Balderrama and Miles, the Inland Empire lacks the support and assistance for 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.
For more information and to register for the 4th annual Walk to Remember-Inland Empire, visit the group’s website at or call (909) 235-WALK (9255).
For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, contact the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit news.csusb.edu.