For the past ten years, Angel Babies, a non-profit located in Central California, has been providing support for pregnancy loss and helping parents with babies born with a terminal condition through the grieving process. Their perinatal hospice program is a godsend for families trying to cope with the devastating experience of miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. Angel Babies offers a number of services including group and individual counseling, providing ideas for creating loving memories that honor the baby, and hospice for babies needing special care. Their team is composed of nurses, social workers, chaplains, and volunteers. The nonprofit partners with Children’s Hospital Central California, local OBGYNs, physicians, and the doula community to identify patients who might benefit from the knowledgeable support Angel Babies offers.
A death of a baby is one of the most heartbreaking experiences parents can go through. Angel Babies steps in to provide the kind of graceful assistance that families need. In tragic cases such as the loss of an infant, friends and family can find it difficult to know what to say or how they can help which makes the services of Angel Babies all the more crucial. Surprisingly, Angel Babies bereavement and support service is the only program of its kind in California.
As a non-profit, the program cannot bill insurance. Since Angel Babies does not charge parents for services, they support the program through fundraising. Their largest fundraiser is their annual Hinds Hospice Angel Babies Walk/Run. 13,000 people are expected to participate this year in their 7th annual Walk/Run. Registration proceeds, pledges and donations that families and teams collect via personal websites go directly to support the Angel Babies program.
This is the second year Angel Babies is using an online fundraising tool to create personal web pages to collect pledges. With DoJiggy, each participants can fundraise on behalf of their teams, sending their personal webpage out to family and friends for support. Lauren Gaither, Fund Development Coordinator for Hinds Hospice, says that the evenr itself and opportunity to pledge is a “wonderful way families honor their angle baby and give back. Everyone understands where each other is coming from.”
When asked what organizations should keep in mind when fundraising online, Lauren suggests identifying a point person to answer questions and talk people through the technology. “Be sure to respond to everyone’s questions,” Laura advises. “It’s important that the help is not anonymous. I like to walk participants through and help them with their concerns and questions. You have to be personable and make a connection if you want them to come back next year.”
For the past seven years, the Walk/Run has always taken place the first Saturday in May. This year, the first Saturday falls on the day before Mother’s Day. The event organizers plan to honor the Angel Babies mothers with roses. Herb Lilly, a Hinds Hospice volunteer who grows roses, has generously offered to bring his roses so each mother can receive a rose as she crosses the finish line. The event provides families with community, reflection, and acceptance. As one Angel Baby mom shares, “There is nowhere else I would rather be because I want to be with people who understand what I’m going through.” We wish the Angel Babies program continued success as they provide Central California with such important, heartfelt service.