New Jersey

About Our Chapter

The New Jersey Chapter of Star Legacy Foundation was established in April 2024. We are a team of individuals who are passionate about supporting families and medical professionals regarding all aspects of pregnancy and infant loss.  Our chapter is 100% volunteer run and we are always looking for new team members and greatly appreciate all of the volunteers we currently have.

Star Legacy Goals and Projects

  • Support families who experience any type of pregnancy or infant loss
  • Partner with the medical community regarding pregnancy and infant loss (free support materials, provide free/low cost education, etc.)
  • Raise awareness and provide education for safer pregnancy
  • Advocate for legislation that will support pregnancy and infant loss
  • Encourage families to participate in the Pregnancy Research Project 

Chapter Needs

  • Social Media Chair

It is important to us that all families feel supported and welcome in this space. Please reach out to us so we can help meet your needs in the way you deserve.

Chapter Resources and Projects

Please note that these resources and project are chapter-specific.  To view our extensive supports and resources provided by the foundation, scroll down to the bottom of this page.

This resource guide is a collection of local resources for families who tragically suffer the loss of a baby.  This includes: local support groups, funeral home information and more.  You are not alone.

Since stillborn babies tragically do not receive a Birth Certificate, many states offer a Certificate of Stillbirth or a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth (this includes New Jersey).  Learn more about how to obtain a certificate for your baby/babies by clicking the link above.

New Jersey has a few important pieces of legislation including a stillbirth tax credit and paid family leave to include stillbirth.  If you would like to learn more about how to help pass these bills, please complete our volunteer form.

Star Legacy Foundation provides evidence based continuing education workshops on numerous topics pertaining to pregnancy & infant loss.

Chapter Leadership Team

Chair Brittany Rodriguez

Currently resides in Bergen County NJ, and found the Star Legacy Foundation New Jersey Chapter after her son Axel was stillborn at 34 weeks gestation in July of 2020. Navigating perinatal loss is complex and devastating but doing so without the support of friends and family because of the pandemic was deeply depressing. Brittany attended a Star Legacy virtual support group very soon after Axel was born and continued to keep in touch with a mom who lost her daughter very soon after Axel’s passing. They are still friends to this day because of Star Legacy. Brittany found the education and actual movement that the foundation provides to be the only way she could cope with or rationalize Axel’s death. She is now the mama to her two living children, Axel’s younger siblings, Isla and Nolan. Parenting after loss is something Brittany is deeply passionate about and was excited by the prospect of chairing the NJ chapter of the Star Legacy Foundation. In Axel’s name, for his legacy, his siblings, and the families everywhere who must exist and conquer the every day after such deep loss.

Vice Chair Ariadna Gavna

Currently resides in Bergen County, NJ, and found the Star Legacy Foundation New Jersey Chapter
after her son Liam Anthony Gavan was born at 21 weeks gestation in June of 2023 because of his extremely premature condition only lived for a couple of minutes. Navigating this loss has never been easy but with the help of great and inspiring people, it has been possible. She came across Star Legacy through her therapist who told her nothing but good things about what they do. After attending a couple of online sessions for lost parents Ariadna felt loved, validated, and understood. She came to find that the pain and emptiness will always be there but there are so many hurtful but inspiring stories that make us feel we are not alone. The death of her son changed not only how she sees the world but also changed her forever. She decided to keep her son’s legacy alive as long as she lives and hopefully be a piece of help to those in need. The brief existence of her angel was not a coincidence as there is no such a thing. Liam was and will forever be remembered not only for the lives he touched but also for helping people navigate their own grief by keeping his story alive.

Family Support Chair Victoria Rice

A lifelong resident of Bergen County (NJ), was introduced to the Star Legacy after the loss of her daughter, Arya, in October 2019. Navigating child loss, while being unable to see family and friends (due to the pandemic) was both challenging and stressful. The Star Legacy provided support during such an overwhelming and emotional time, and for that Vicki is very thankful. In 2021, Vicki became pregnant with her second child, Cassandra. Pregnancy after loss is a very complex time, but through the support of her doctors, family, friends, and support groups, Arya’s little sister entered this world. When the prospect of a New Jersey chapter of the Star Legacy was introduced; Vicki knew that she immediately wanted to get involved. Support after child loss, as well as support during pregnancy after loss, was such an integral part of her life that she knew that becoming the chair for Family Support was exactly the
position for her.

Advocacy Chair Julie Lazar-Reskakis

Lives in Bergen County, NJ, and is the Perinatal Bereavement Specialist at Holy Name Medical Center in Teaneck, NJ. The Star Legacy Foundation has provided materials and resources for families within the hospital and additionally for the October Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month event held at Holy Name in October 2023. Julie has her own history of loss many years ago and is deeply committed to ensuring that all pregnancy losses are acknowledged and supported. Julie spent 35 years as an audiologist working in New York City. When she retired from that field, she became a Certified End of Life Doula and a Certified Grief Educator. More recently Julie became a Certified Perinatal Specialist after training with Sherokee Ilse and her Baby Loss Doula/Baby Loss Family Advisor organization. Julie is excited to take on the Advocacy Chair role for the NJ Star Legacy Chapter to support national and local initiatives and policy-making in this arena.

Communications Chair Hebah Mian

A North Jersey native, discovered the Star Legacy Foundation shortly after her firstborn daughter, Layla, passed away at 25 days old. Being first-time parents, and then quickly being thrown into the thick of grief was a challenging and complex journey to navigate alone and Star Legacy was able to provide her with the support and resources that reminded her, that you are not alone. Being a part of the founding chapter in New Jersey is near and dear to her heart and her ultimate goal is to ensure that no family has to endure the loss of a child without the support and resources they need. She is dedicated to raising awareness about stillbirth and infant loss in honor of her daughter Layla. She believes that by sharing her story and advocating for greater support and resources, she can help other families facing similar challenges feel less alone. Her goal is to ensure that Layla’s memory lives on through the work of the New Jersey chapter of the Star Legacy Foundation and that her legacy brings comfort and hope to others. Living after loss is painful, confusing, and even scary at times, but you do not have to do it alone.

Medical/Research Chair Jacquelyn Russo

Resides in South Jersey with her husband and three children. Her niece Maria Rosa was born sleeping at 35 weeks on 11/22/23. Along with her background as a Nurse Practitioner, Jacqui hopes to honor Maria by being able to help families through Star Legacy as the medical chair of the New Jersey chapter.

Volunteer Irena Kara

Lives with her husband and daughter in Bergen County, New Jersey. When her second daughter was stillborn at 38 weeks gestation, she came across the Star Legacy Foundation, where she found a lot of useful information and, above all, where she realized that she was not alone. Her hope is for other mothers and families to find the support they deserve.

Volunteer Nicole DiBona

Resides in Morris Country, NJ with her husband and three living sons Ben, Alex, and Matthew. Her son William was stillborn on May 26, 2021, at 39 weeks gestation. Nicole hopes to honor William by being a resource to other loss families in her community through Star Legacy.

Volunteer Lauren Farparan

Currently residing in Hightstown NJ has been involved with Star Legacy Foundation since 2017 after her first miscarriage. Lauren has a living child, Nathan, born in 2016. However, all subsequent pregnancies have ended in early pregnancy loss. After her second loss, Lauren became a Peer Companion with Star Legacy to help other women grieve and find some self-care. Lauren has taken this approach outside of Star Legacy as well. In 2021, Lauren became a certified yoga instructor with a focus on self-care. This approach has helped her heal herself, as well as many others. Lauren is excited to bring a chapter of this amazing organization to New Jersey and looks forward to helping everyone navigate their journey.

Connect with Us

Call: 952-751-7731 ext 744

Email: [email protected]

National Resources and Supports

Star Legacy Foundation offers many supports and resources. Below, you will find some of our highlighted resources and support.

We offer free peer-to-peer support where we match you with someone who has tragically had a similar experience with loss.  If you want to learn more, be matched with a peer or become a trained peer yourself, click the link above.

We offer many free, virtual support groups.  Learn more or register by clicking the link above.

We offer a wide selection of printed materials such as bereavement resources, support group cards, safe pregnancy support and more. All of our resources are completely free and ship free as well.

The Pregnancy Research Project is a research study bringing together patients and researchers to advance knowledge and discover preventions and treatments for poor pregnancy outcomes. Please consider giving the gift of data and becoming a participant.

Our Stillbirth Scorecards take the CDC stillbirth data and organizes it into a one page document you can share to raise awareness about the stillbirth crisis.

It would be an honor if we remembered your beloved baby alongside you.  Honor your babies with you by adding them as a star or creating a memorial page in their memory.