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. This award is available to individuals in North America.
- Mark Donohue – “This is for my Janey.” Mile 26 of Sunday’s New York City Marathon meant something special for FDNY Lt. Mark Donohue. This mile, like the 25 before it, was dedicated to a stillborn baby. But unlike the other miles, this baby was his own. On Feb. 20, Donohue got a heartbreaking call from his wife. At 37 weeks pregnant, they had lost their baby, Jane. “I didn’t know what to do, it was a dark time,” he recalls. To raise awareness at each mile marker of the race, Donohue read a fact about stillbirth and dedicated that mile to a stillborn baby in a Facebook Live on his page Mark’s Miles for Babies. “It’s an uncomfortable thing for people to talk about,” Donohue says. “The silence is deafening. And the silence impedes progress.” The causes of many stillbirths are unknown, according to the CDC. Donohue says that’s one reason funding for research is so important. As he approached the 26th mile — Jane’s mile, Donohue says the emotional weight of his actions started to settle in. “It was the end of the marathon,” he recalls. “I was banged up. But I did it. I did it for Jane. This is my time spent with my daughter on this run.”
Hilary Hughes – Hilary and her wonderful family (her husband Tyler and mother Bobbie) are the driving force that brought together the founding families of the Star Legacy Foundation NY Metro Chapter, which in the past year and a half has made enormous strides in raising awareness about stillbirth in the NY metropolitan area. The 5k that Hilary initially organized in her son’s memory, Oliver’s 5k, evolved this year into a massive 2-day event that raised over $130,000 and brought hundreds of people together to remember the babies we’ve lost and make a difference to give those to come the best possible chance. In an effort to raise awareness about the walk, Hilary has been featured in several major news articles and a segment on the Pix11 evening news, and also posts often through our Facebook group. Though there are many incredibly hardworking people behind all that our chapter does, Hilary deserves credit for bringing us all together, and for the tireless work she does to lead our chapter and keep us moving forward on our goals!
- Healing Embrace is a grassroots organization, that beings comfort and healing to families who have lost a child in pregnancy or infancy. The walk they’ve organized the past two years has created enough funds for hundreds of women and families to benefit with care packages, hospital visits, and in addition, awareness of what families endure during their time of loss.
- Jens Locher -Since his two sons died in unrelated events in 2011 and 2012, Jens has worked tirelesly in raising awareness for Pregnancy and Infant Loss. He developed the website www.october15.ca to help raise awareness about initiatives and events across Canada. This resource has helped tremendously in getting media attention for the cause and Jens appeared on various radio shows and placed articles in news media in the past few years. He spoke at several conferences and organized panels of bereaved parents to share their experience with health care professionals, e.g. at the annual conference of the National Association of Social Workers in 2015. For the past 3 years he worked with members of the provincial parliament in getting October 15 recognized as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in the Canadian province of British Columbia. He did the same in various cities, e.g. getting proclamations in the City of Vancouver and coordinating families across the country in requesting proclamations in other provinces and cities (http://www.october15.ca/taking-action/request-proclamation/). To set a visible sign to break the silence about miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death he worked with the local stadium (BC Place) and another major landmark (Telus World of Science) in illuminating their facilities in support of the awareness day (http://www.october15.ca/taking-action/light-up-canada/) which coincided with similar initiatives by other organizations in Canada.