I am writing to share some bittersweet news about the future of Anna’s Grace and my hopeful desire that you will continue to support the mission that has brought us together the last eight years.
As some of you know, I have had some health issues over the past year. While I will be fine, I need to slow down so I can focus on my health and on my family. To that end, Anna’s Grace will undergo a major transition in the coming months, including a name change. Anna’s Grace will now become a part of Maddie’s Footprints.
Many of you are already familiar with Maddie’s Footprints out of Lafayette. They have a similar mission to ours and have supported many families in the Acadiana area that have experienced the loss of a baby. As it became obvious that I would need to step away, I made a very important phone call to Lori McGrew, founder of Maddie’s.
I met Lori way back in 2013 when I was still exploring the idea of creating Anna’s Grace. Armed with her guidance, I modeled Anna’s Grace after Maddie’s Footprints. Over the years, Lori has been a wonderful source of encouragement and wisdom, and I knew she was the perfect person to take over where Anna’s Grace left off.
Lori embraced the idea of expanding Maddie’s Footprints into the Baton Rouge area whole-heartedly and immediately went to work to make it a reality. I know the Maddie’s Footprints team will serve our community well, keeping the traditions and events Anna’s Grace is known for. I hope you will join me in welcoming them to Baton Rouge and that you will continue to support the 1 in 4 through Maddie’s Footprints!
While making the decision to close the organization was easy on some levels (I knew that I could not continue at the same pace), it was difficult to think that my relationship with all the people that have been a part of Anna’s Grace would be changing.
Over the past six years, we have helped more than 800 local families through the Anna’s Grace Financial Assistance Program and have offered emotional support to countless others through our other programs and events. And while those are important statistics to share, there are faces behind the numbers. People with whom I have cried, laughed, and prayed. They have become friends. Faces I look for at different events. People I can’t wait to catch up with when I see them. We have been through so much together, and it has been an absolute gift to walk this journey with so many beautiful souls!
Of course, Anna’s Grace would not have been able to fulfill its mission without the steadfast support of our community. I humbly thank everyone who participated in, sponsored, and volunteered at our events. You saw the importance of our mission and believed in us. Thank you for making our work possible over the years!
Before I go, there are some very special people I need to thank…
To our dedicated Board of Directors for seeing Anna’s Grace through it all! You gave me the courage, the encouragement, and the help I needed to build a successful organization out of a hope and a prayer. Thank you for sacrificing so much time and energy to serve the 1 in 4.
To our event committees – I will miss our time together! It has been a privilege to work beside you and to witness all your hard work to grow our events year after year. All the late nights and early mornings…
To my precious children who have given so much of themselves and have sacrificed so much to ensure their sister’s legacy.
To my dear husband who patiently listened as I plotted and planned throughout the years. There is not space enough here for me to express what it has meant to share this journey with him.
But most of all, I need to thank my sweet Anna.
There is a small photograph of Anna’s last ultrasound on my desk – the one that accompanied the words, “I’m so sorry, but there is no heartbeat.” It has served as my guiding light over the years. It reminds me of the pain and grief families feel after experiencing profound loss. It reminds me of the humanity of each precious little person, deserving of dignity. It reminds me that we can heal even when a part of our hearts is missing. Anna changed me in ways I could not have imagined, and I think she would be proud of all we have accomplished.
But now, it is time for us to take a step back and to remember Anna in a different way. We look forward to celebrating her at future Maddie’s Footprints events alongside all of you. I can’t wait to participate as Anna’s mom – a new experience for me, for sure!
Thank you for being a part of my journey. It has been an honor to be a part of yours. I humbly ask you to pray for me as I enter this new chapter of my life. And please know that I will continue to pray for all of you.
P.S. – We know you will probably have some questions. Please find some FAQs regarding the transition of Anna’s Grace into Maddie’s Footprints.