This is my new friend Elizabeth and her husband, Mark. This wonderful couple lost their precious son, Ryan Gabriel, to Trisomy 18 in March of this year (2012). They learned the devastating news of his passing at their 19-week ultrasound. After their painful loss, made all the more tragic by very minimal bereavement support, she really wanted to do something that would help soften the road for the future angel families in her community that would one day walk the same path.
When they were only a few weeks into their journey of grief and healing, Elizabeth found the Teeny Tears project through Tesha. A self-described "true sewing novice", Elizabeth was determined to sew "just a few" Teeny Tears diapers and itty bitty blankets for the angel families of her community.
Diaper addiction struck and Elizabeth joined forces with high school friend and fellow angel mama, Keren, to take North Carolina by storm! This dynamic duo and their team sew tirelessly for the angel families of North Carolina in memory of of their sons, Ryan and Micheal. (I've got mad love for these gals!)
They soon learned that their hospital of choice would ideally need 600 diapers for their annual bereavement needs. A remarkable number to be sure, with only one small problem: the hospital didn't understand the diapers or how/why they would fit into their bereavement supplies. Undaunted by the opposition and courageous in the face of such a vast need, Elizabeth, Keren, and their growing team of diaper enthusiasts pressed forward in faith to serve the angel families of their community...
Donations began to come in (PS, more donations are needed, ongoing and forever!!)
Extended family, friends, neighbors, church friends, old preschool teachers, friends from high school and elementary school -- many came out to support the angel families of North Carolina. Office space and water bottles were donated for a grand Diaper Drive sewing event where 114 diapers were completed on site and many many more were taken home in various stages of completion!
Behind the scenes, Elizabeth and I worked diligently to help hospital administration understand the value of these precious gifts. We prayed for a miracle. And we got it! Sympathetic administrators within the hospital carried our cause to victory! Not only will they be providing bereavement training for their staff using our diapers, but they have also very enthusiastically recommended our project to neighboring hospitals! Aaaaaaand, while all this was going on, word of the local project spread through the grapevine, resulting in several more requests from hospitals and bereavement support organizations in NC! (Back to that part about them needing ongoing donations-- yeah, that!)
They are such an inspiration. Since May, the inspirational North Carolina team has completed OVER 800 diapers and more than 50 blankets! I dare you to be unimpressed. The count changes every day because they have no intention of stopping.
These diapers and blankets have been donated to:
Women's Hospital of Greensboro, NC
Vidant Medical Center of Greenville, NC
Wilson Medical Center of Wilson, NC
Frye Medical Center of Hickory, NC
Randolph Hospital of Ashboro, NC
and Threads of Love/Project Hope in Texas
These diapers have been donated in memory of Ryan Hepler, Micheal Johnson, and Everly Allen. Everly's mama Olivia has also been a big part of the diapering adventures.
This team of angel activists is only limited by supplies, which are quickly diminishing! If you've got a soft spot for North Carolina in your heart, this frugal and trustworthy team can use any materials, funding, or assistance you can throw at them. I can put you in touch with the North Carolina team leaders or you can join their FB group! Even a little goes a long way toward blessing the lives of grieving angel families! You can even help them sew if you like! Can't sew? Trace and cut!
PS: General Teeny Tears FB Sewing Group can be found here!
“I left the hospital after losing my son at 19 weeks into my pregnancy feeling empty- both physically and emotionally. I immediately had a strong desire to reach out to other families- to provide them some kind of support. When a friend introduced me to Teeny Tears, I knew immediately that I had found my cause. Creating these teeny diapers gave me something positive to focus on. Though I was only 3 months into my own grieving, providing something else for other mothers filled a good part of that emptiness with the joy and satisfaction of helping others. I've witnessed an entire community rally to help with this cause; people who wanted to do something to help me...but didn't know what to say or what to do jumped right in to buy fabric and trace/cut/sew materials. When we delivered our first donation, I was nervous pulling back into that same hospital parking lot. The nerves quickly faded as I gathered our tiny gifts and placed them into the arms of the volunteer coordinator at our hospital. She offered genuine thanks and I left the parking lot feeling pride and satisfaction knowing that the next mother that went through a loss wouldn't be leaving the hospital empty-handed.”
'In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven'. Matthew 5:16
"An old friend/classmate asked for support on this part of her journey and I wanted to be there knowing that for some the beginning is the hardest. I knew it would be a lot of work. I knew it would bring some healing to her heart. I knew these little gifts would touch families in a big way. What I didn't know was that it would bring some healing and wholeness to my heart too! I also didn't know that it would connect so many from both of our circles of support. I didn't know it would give me the chance to share the stories of both of our little ones. My son Micheal lived with me for 34 weeks and 2 days... He was still born 2 days later on April 13, 2008. Four years later, I am apart of this project because my son lived and because the beginning of the rest of my life without him was rough and anything I can do to help another mother's journey be easier....I'm down!"