Pregnancy and Infant Loss Individual Family Support Star Award Nominees

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The recipients of this award will have led by example in creating environments helpful to grieving families. These individuals understand the various needs of those experiencing perinatal loss and implement practical methods to support these families. These awards are available to individuals in North America.

  • Sarah Page – After the death of her son Gabriel on December 26, 2016, Sarah did not have anything that would fit her son for his viewing and photographs. The hospital didn’t have anything to offer her either. She decided that no family should have to face that challenge again. In the few months since Gabriel was born, Sarah has collected more than 300 wedding dresses for Star Legacy Foundation to be made into special clothes and items for babies.


  • Joann O’Leary – Dr. O’Leary has spent untold hours over the past 30 years supporting families through a pregnancy subsequent to loss.  She holds a B.E.S. and a Masters in Maternal-Child Health from the University of MN. She also has a Masters in Psychology through research from Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Her Ph.D. is in Work, Community and Family Education and from the University of Minnesota. Her dissertation was The Meaning of Parenting During Pregnancy, After the Loss of a Baby: A Descriptive Phenomenological Study of Parenting a Subsequent Baby Following a Perinatal Loss. She became certified as Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale examiner during her MPH course and moved into a hospital setting working within a High Risk Perinatal Center. Dr. O’Leary’s Ph.D. research was funded by the Bush Foundation. She does research and writing on prenatal parenting; pregnancy and parenting after the loss of a baby, including its impact on fathers and siblings, including adults who were the child in their family born after the loss of a baby. Joann formerly taught CEED online courses: Pregnancy and Birth: An Emerging Perspective on Children’s Development and Pregnancy’s Unexpected Outcomes: Death, Disabilities, and the Impact on Parents and Children–A Guide for Practitioners.


  • Jennifer Sommer is one of the founders of HEALing Embrace.  This organization focuses on offering periatal hospice support to families that have been given a live limiting diagnosis for their babies.  Some of HEALing Embrace’s services include helping families through the grieving process by spending time and listening to their story. They help cover the medical and funeral finances so families can focus on healing. They help families honor the life of their babies by sending volunteer photographers to take pictures at no cost to the family.  They raise awareness about perinatal hospice support and connect with families and the community.  Jennifer is a selfless resource for the families she serves.


  • Carrie Roderick – Carrie and her husband have a daughter named Brooklyn that lived only a few hours after she was born.  Carrie makes weighted bears to give to families that are suffering the loss of their full term babies.  Carrie supplies these for Maple Grove Hospital, Maple Grove MN.





  • Janelle Wourms – Janelle and her husband Nathan have suffered the very unfortunate loss of 5 beautiful children.  Despite the adversity and the difficulty they have faced, Janelle continues to support mothers in loss.  She spends her time raising two children and carrying 5 more in her heart. She organizes loss boxes for Duluth, MN hospitals , knits and crochets pieces for the boxes as well as includes personal notes.  Janelle’s project is called Blessed With More.





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