Moncton’s third annual Walk to Remember, an event to recognize pregnancy and infant loss, takes place Sunday, October 15, 2017 at the Moncton Hospital. The day is a community gathering, open to everyone; donations are accepted for the Maternal Fetal Medicine Clinic, which offers support to hundreds of families dealing with high-risk pregnancies each year.
The walk is organized by Kim Nelson and Amy Boljkovac, who lost their children within a few months of each other in 2012. Their goal is to promote the work done by the MFMC, as well as to encourage community discussion about this topic.
“The more people who open up, the better chance we have of spreading awareness on the topic of pregnancy and infant loss.” ~ Kim Nelson, mother, Walk to Remember organizer
Landen Nelson was born asleep on June 3, 2012.
His mother, Kim, recalls leaving the hospital in a rush, then finding herself at home, looking through a memory box provided by the hospital and realizing she hadn’t had enough time with her son. She returned to the hospital and was able to spend a second day with Landen – something she’s been working to helping other parents do since then.
Kim and her friend Amy, who lost her son Patrick in 2013, organized Moncton’s first Walk to Remember in 2015. After just two events, enough money was raised to purchase a CuddleCot for the Moncton Hospital.
“Flexmore’s CuddleCot has been recognized across the word as significantly helping parents and families who experience the death of an infant,” explains Kim. “The CuddleCot is a cooling system that helps keep the baby in best condition by slowing down changes that can occur after death.”
“Having experienced the death of a child first hand, I know the very limited window of time a family has to spend with their baby,” says Kim. “It is very overwhelming and there is lots to learn and do.”
“It is bittersweet to know that the CuddeCot has been used on several occasions since being purchased,” shares Kim. “The feedback we have received from both medical staff and parents has been really positive. One family was able to keep their infant with them for a few days until other family members arrived from across the country to meet the baby. Another mom shared her gratitude by letting us know that having the CuddleCot, which allowed her to keep the baby in the room overnight, made her truly ‘feel like a mom’ doing ‘mom things’ like rocking and dressing the baby , even if just for a short time.”
“We cannot change the fact that pregnancies end and that infants die, however, we can change what that experience might be like for future families.”
Kim says that while many families have expressed thanks to her and Amy for organizing the walk, the pair are just as thankful for the support.
“As grief comes in many forms and is ever changing, so too is the way we are impacted by the walk each year,” says Kim. “While many families have expressed gratitude to Amy and I for organizing the walk, we want them to know that our hearts are equally healed and grateful to them for their participation in one way or another. Our accomplishments are truly a result of the whole community, those who have had a loss, and those who have not but who whole heartily support us anyway.”
October 15 was declared Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in New Brunswick in 2005. The third annual Walk to Remember takes place Sunday, October 15, at the Moncton City Hospital. Participants will gather in the Atrium, with registration taking place from 1pm to 1:30pm. Opening remarks are scheduled for 1:40pm to 2pm, then half an hour is set aside for the walk. Refreshments will be available in the Atrium after the walk.