CHANNAHON – To honor the memory of their son, Sawyer, who would have turned 4 on June 1, his parents donated gifts to Silver Cross Hospital that will provide comfort to other families who lose a child.
As part of their work with Angels of Hope, Inc., Erik and Michelle Williams of Channahon recently donated to Silver Cross Hospital memory boxes for parents whose children die just before or after birth, according to a news release from the hospital. Also, boxes were donated to families who suffered a late-term miscarriage.
The boxes – which include a hand/footprint mold kit, baby blanket, clothing and a bereavement booklet – were given in honor of Sawyer. The items are things the Williams' said they appreciated were given to them to help cope with their loss, according to the news release.
Thus, this is “Sawyer’s Heart” donation.
Sawyer lived from June 1 to June 3, 2010. He was delivered just seven months into his mother’s pregnancy with a congenital heart defect.
On the day they went home, as Michelle Williams waited in her hospital room, she held a memory box.
“I sat in my room with the memory box, his mold, just holding it. I had something in my arms. It’s a priceless gift,” Williams said in the news release.
In memory of their son, the couple organized the area’s first “A Walk to Remember” in October 2010 for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
Proceeds went to Angels of Hope, a Coal City-based organization that helps those dealing with the emotional or physical absence of a child.
Since then, the Williams have teamed up with Angels of Hope to do Sawyer’s Heart Project. What the boxes contain depends on the sex and term of the child. There are boxes for micro preemie, preemie and full-term babies. Micro preemie babies are born between 18 and 24 weeks. Preemies are babies who are born 24 to 36 weeks.
The majority of the items in the boxes were donated. At least a dozen people, some from other states, hand-knitted the items.
“We truly appreciate the memory box gifts because they offer so much comfort to our patients, Marilyn Paolella, director of Women and Infant Services for Silver Cross Hospital," said in the news release.