Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – life itself. ~ Walter Anderson
Many organizations are born from a loss or struggle. Today’s organization is one that was founded after one of the most difficult struggles: the loss of a child.
Mikayla’s Grace was founded by Mike and Melissa Terrill in February of 2011. They were inspired to create the organization after they experienced the premature birth and death of their second child, Mikayla Grace. After Mikayla’s short 36 hour life, they felt the need to give back to other parents in similar situations. While they did have support while they were in the hospital, they felt a lot more could be done. They did not want other parents to leave the hospital with regrets of things they should have done while they did have their child with them. They also wanted to ensure other parents had the resources they needed to continue on the journey of grieving the loss of their child.
The organization’s mission is to support families with a baby in the NICU and those who experience the death of an infant at hospitals in the Madison, Wisconsin area. They provide NICU care packages and angel memory boxes that offer both practical and emotional support for the parents.
Mikayla’s Grace is the first organization of its kind in the Madison, Wisconsin area. While hospitals sometimes get donations of handmade baby blankets and hats, they have not had an organization that plans to consistently donate. The items in the care packages and angel memory boxes are also unique. The care packages include a camera, a NICU specific scrapbook, journal, baby items, toiletries, and resources for preemie parents. The angel memory boxes include hand and foot molds, keepsake envelope for hair, a special burial gown, other keepsakes, and resources for grieving parents. So far, they have donated over 100 angel memory boxes and 100 NICU care packages in addition to many other items to support these families.
In addition, they hosted the first ever Forever in Our Hearts Remembrance Day in October 2011. This event brought together over 150 people who came to remember all babies who were gone too soon. The event is planned again for October 13, 2012; you can read more about it at www.foreverinourheartsmadison.com.
Mikayla’s Grace also has an extensive list of resources for parents, friends, and family of those grieving the loss of an infant child.
How can you help?
- The organization has an Amazon wish list to make donations to the care packages and angel memory boxes simple. Place an order and the items will ship directly to the organization.
- They also need volunteers, auction donations, and sponsors for their Forever in Our Hearts Remembrance Day in October. Go to www.foreverinourheartsmadison.com to watch for details on this event.
- Monetary donations also help because each memory box costs about $50 and each care package about $60. Donations can be made on the organization’s website.
- Handmade blankets are also accepted. You can learn more on the donation page of their website.
- Those near Madison, Wisconsin can also volunteer for one of their assembly days when they put together kits to be donated to the hospital.
- You can also check out the organization’s online auction here.
To learn more about Mikayla’s Grace, you can visit their website, www.mikaylasgrace.com. You can also read the family’s full story for each of their children here. You can also connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, or via e-mail.