As some of you know in honor of the 5th anniversary of Molly’s birth and death this year on April 17th (two weeks from today), I wanted to do something special as we mark this milestone. I decided on starting a team, with members of the perinatal bereavement support group, called Caring Connection, which I have participated in since September 2006, at Advocate Christ Medical Center (where all of our children were born and Molly died). The purpose of Team Caring Connection is to train for, fund raise and run/walk together in the Advocate Children’s Hospital’s 6th Annual Running for Hope 5K Run/Walk on Sunday, June 2nd, as well as possibly to participate in other runs and walks in the future together.

Here is information about where the money that is raised from the “Running for Hope” 5K goes. Team Caring Connection and I were especially moved to learn of a special focus that this year’s proceeds will be directed to, after we had already chosen to do this (see in bold):

The Running for Hope Association is embarking upon its 6th year! We have been so fortunate in past years to have been given the utmost amount of support from our community members, families, patients, friends, and businesses that have continued to help us attain our fundraising goal year after year. Our primary focus, as always, is to raise more money each year to help the children and families of Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn, and the Ronald McDonald House® near Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn. More specifically, this year’s run will not only once again benefit The Ronald McDonald House® near Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn, but will also benefit the Bereavement Program at Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn.

Donations will help provide support services to families at Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn, who are experiencing the death of a child. Nurses, chaplains, the pediatric bereavement coordinator, child life specialists and other hospital staff work together to offer resources throughout the grieving process. Some of these resources include: supplies for bereavement photography and other forms of memory making in the hospital, books and resources for siblings, parents and grandparents, and funding a art therapy grief group for parents, siblings and grandparents.

The Ronald McDonald House® near Advocate Hope Children’s Hospital provides a “home away from home” for families of children receiving treatment at Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn. This 16 bedroom House is located in close proximity to the hospital, offering comfortable rooms where families can get a good night’s rest knowing their child is close by. Families are asked to make a suggested donation of $10 a night, but no one is turned away if they cannot pay.

With your help and support, our annual event will enable Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn to provide the very best care and support to the children and families who face life-changing diagnoses and help to enhance the quality of life for the child and family. It will also aide in the operational costs of the Ronald McDonald House® near Advocate Children’s Hospital – Oak Lawn.

This warms our heart to know that some of the funds we help to raise will support other bereaved families and those who care for them.

I am really excited about doing this with my family, other bereaved families/friends and anyone else who is interested in being part of and supporting Team Caring Connection!

When you register for the race be sure to register as part of “Team Caring Connection” and then you can also set up your own pages for you/your family to fund raise, if you choose.

Here are links to the Team Caring Connection page that I set up and my family’s page (which is still part of Team Caring Connection) where you can donate and/or register to participate the 5K in honor and memory of our Molly and Babies Benson, as well as other much-loved babies who left this world to soon:

http://www.active.com/donate/runningforhope2013/TeamCaringConnection

http://www.active.com/donate/runningforhope2013/BensonFamily (if you want to make a donation in honor and memory of our Molly and Babies Benson, please use this link to do so)

We are having white t-shirts made (including two versions: one 100% cotton and one 100% polyester mesh, which is a moisture wicking material/ideal for running) which say Team Caring Connection with our motto “Running for Hope and Remembering Our Babies” on the front (see the design/our logo above) and “Always in Our Hearts” with a list of our babies names on the back (with the same two-colors, purple and black, and a complimentary design). A note about the colors we chose, since many of us have lost babies through miscarriage, when it was too early to know their genders, we liked the idea of combining pink and blue, representing both girls and boys, to get purple and honoring all of our babies, including those who never took a breath, but will still always be in our hearts.

It brings me joy and comfort to share that at last count there are 25 families, who have been a part of Caring Connection over the years, whose babies names will be on our shirts, including Molly and Babies Benson. We are willing to add more until it is time to have the shirts printed (later this month) and are doing the best we can to spread the word to anyone who has been a part of our group in the past.

If you would like to order one or more shirts, please email me at kathy(at)bereavedandblessed(dot)com and I will gladly help to arrange that. Team Caring Connection plans to wear our shirts during the 5K and we would love to see others in the race and/or on the sidelines wearing them too! The shirts are not intended just for the bereaved parents in our group. In addition to bereaved mothers and fathers, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends are more than welcome to wear them too.

I believe this will be such a wonderful and therapeutic way for my family and Team Caring Connection to give back and pay it forward to the hospitals and staff that has meant so much to us on our journeys through the lives and deaths of our babies.

Please let me know if you have any questions. If you have never run a 5K there is plenty of time for you to train, if you want to. There are some great training websites that help those who haven’t run 5K before, including this one. It is also fine to walk the 5K (which the majority of Team Caring Connection will be doing) or even stand on the sidelines/race route and cheer for Team Caring Connection. Also, for anyone with living children, who might not feel ready to do the whole 5K, there is a 1 mile fun run that day as well.

For those who are not local to the Chicago area and won’t be able to join us on Sunday, June 2nd, please keep us in your thoughts and prayers between now and then, as well as on race day when we will be running for hope and remembering our babies.

Regardless of where you live, please also consider making a donation in honor and memory of our baby girl Molly, as we mark the 5th Anniversary of her birth and death:

http://www.active.com/donate/runningforhope2013/BensonFamily

Thank you for reading and continuing to support Bob, Sean, Abby and me on our journey as bereaved and blessed parents and siblings of Molly and Babies Benson, who will never be forgotten and always live on in our hearts.

Sending lots of peace, love, light, thoughts and prayers to all of you during this spring and Easter season.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy April 3, 2013 at 4:10 pm

I have been thinking a great deal about you as I looked at the calendar and knew that April was a special time for you and your family as you celebrate and grieve your beautiful Molly. You are such a wonderful example, of faith, hope and love as you continue to honor Molly and Babies Benson by always thinking of others and paying it forward. As we did not have any of these services offered to us I think this is a most excellent use of funds to help others during an indescribable loss. So grateful for your giving spirit! Happy Birthday to your Molly!
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2 Liz April 5, 2013 at 12:23 pm

I’m new to your blog, but wanted to leave a note to say that I will be holding you and your family close this month and on June 2nd. How awesome that you are doing so much in your community! Every year on the anniversary of my niece’s death (she lived only 3 days after her birth), I call my sister and we cry together and remember Gwendolyn and then laugh about the latest thing her crazy boys (now 3 and 5) are up to. Those little ones never leave us. Love and light to you and your family.
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