Pregnancy and Infant Loss AWARENESS Star Award

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The recipient of this award has been effective in bringing stillbirth out of the shadows. They have shown the ability to connect with our society to bring attention to the needs of the stillbirth community.

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Sadija Smiley, MBA is dedicated to raising awareness around stillbirth and infant loss to let others know that they are not alone. She has attended health conferences, health fairs and spoke at several convenings-sharing her story with the broader community and offering suggestions on how to support friends and family that grieve the loss of their baby. She was awarded Top Forty under 40 for the work that she is doing in her community to raise awareness. She is a featured speaker on an upcoming Mental Health Tour, visiting Baltimore and Philadelphia, where she will be speaking out about stillbirth and shattering the stigma that comes with the tragic experience. She hosted a viewing of the film “Don’t Talk About The Baby” at her local library, where the documentary viewed and had a brief discussion immediately following. Her whole mission and purpose are to support others on their journey, raise awareness, keep the memories of the babies gone too soon alive and to let others know that they are not alone.

Claire Foord knows stillbirth is a devastation that no family should endure but sadly, and it is a turmoil that will live with Claire forever. In 2014, she and her husband welcomed a baby girl and on the same day, they had to say goodbye – Alfie was stillborn at term – a perfect baby, with no illness or issue, but without breath. This devastating tragedy saw Claire campaign and establish Still Aware. A passionate advocate, Claire hopes to bring about change and a high level of awareness that stillbirth deserves. Claire’s efforts have been recognized when she was awarded South Australia’s Local Hero aware, in the 2016 Australian of the Year Awards. As an awarded South Australian visual artist, Claire’s work is exhibited and collected locally and internationally, including galleries and institutions in the US, Canada and Germany. Prior to this, Claire completed a Bachelor in Visual Arts and a Diploma in Education.

Amy Wetjen volunteered to help the Star Legacy Foundation by creating graphic images for multiple uses. She first helped with our robust October Awareness Campaign which brought so much awareness and social media traffic to our pages. Since then, Amy has created amazing images for our events, infographics and much more. She does great work and been a fantastic volunteer!

Erica McAfee has done amazing work with her podcast, support events, and creating a safe place for women of color to connect in a way unique to them when experiencing pregnancy loss and infertility. She loves encouraging those who have experienced a Miscarriage, Infant Loss, or Infertility that they are not alone, and empowering them to tell their stories to inspire others. She is replacing the silence of pregnancy loss in a way no one else is doing for women of color. She is the founder of Sisters in Loss, a community of Christian black women who have experienced loss.

Samantha Banerjee is the Co Chair of the Star Legacy Foundation NY Metro Chapter. She is not afraid to speak out about stillbirths in order to raise awareness for the cause. She is on a mission to make sure that this tragedy happens to less and less people. She raises awareness on both a small and large scale. For example, she will provide education to individuals, making sure that they have the facts and information, as well as, speak to the medical community about the importance of this issue. Samantha has volunteered so much of her own time not only to the Star Legacy Foundation NY Metro Chapter where she is the co chair, but also to help the national Star Legacy Foundation with many things in the realm of awareness. Most significantly she was a big part of the team for the October Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness Month, she created images for all of the Star Legacy Foundation Chapters to use. These images were shared out by not only the chapters, but also by many individuals on their own Facebook pages. Samantha has also written multiple articles about stillbirths. There is not much that Samantha would not do if it means that it will raise awareness for stillbirths.

Nneka Hall has turned her heartbreak experiences as a mother into inspiring motivation to guide, counsel and educate mothers on childbirth education, miscarriages, abortions, stillbirths in the structure of a nonprofit and giving melanated women a safe, healing space to talk about their children and promote healthier outcomes. She honors her daughter by living a life of service. 2013 she became a doula. 2014 she founded QUILT and became Co producer of the MotherWit Conference which she did for 3 years. 2016 she was fortunate enough to be accepted (after being nominated) as a Nominated Change Maker for the first US of Women’s Summit which was hosted by former First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey. In 2017, she spoke at the MA State House in favor of establishing a FIMR. 2018 she spoke about the mental health side of her stillbirth at the “This Is My Brave” Boston show. On International Bereaved Mother’s Day she cocoordinated the March for Moms where she spoke abou the importance of not only saving moms but babies and read an International Bereaved Mother’s Day proclamation. 2019 started with the premiere of the This Is My Brave short documentary in which Nneka talks about losing Annaya. Nneka lives a life of service and had dedicated the rest of her life to providing support to families who have suffered losses. She has been educating people about Stillbirth since finding her voice in 2011.

Ariel Weeks-Raventos and her husband, Ross, have created two videos to raise awareness around the experience of stillbirth. Their first video, “Homecoming” went viral in October 2018 and created additional excitement for their second video, “The Box” . While difficult for many to watch, it is important that our society understands the reality of going home without a baby. Ariel is deserving of this award for her comittment to honoring her daughter by being a voice for thousands of other families and babies.

Ann Zamudio is an award winning filmmaker who received her degree in Cinematic Arts from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She has worked for Discovery Communications and serves on the board of Directors for Women In Film. Don’t Talk About The Baby was Ann’s first feature length film, and she was honored to have had the opportunity to explore such an important topic in her first feature documentary. Ann is passionate about women’s issues and telling stories creatively through vivid imagery and new points of view. 

Jason and Beth Rogers are the parents of Peyton, Xavier, Izaac, Angelica, and Audrey. Angelica Lanae, their angel baby, was born on June 20, 2016. ​ShipEX, the trucking company where Jason is employed, designs wraps on the trucks for certain causes. Beth asked Eldin Diglisic, the company owner, if they could transform Jason’s truck into a traveling advocate for infant loss and awareness, and Share Truck1 was “born”.  ​It is the mission of the Rogers family to spread awareness and love in the name of their daughter, Angelica Lanae (“precious angel”)  as Jason travels across the country. A banner with names of thousands of other precious angels hangs in his truck and travels with him.  ​Jason and Beth are indebted to ShipEX for this wonderful opportunity and pray that Angelica and all of the precious angels on Jason’s banner will keep him safe on his mission. God bless all of you!

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