In the early days and weeks that followed the loss of Anna, there were two things that tore at my heart: the pain of remembering her and the fear of others forgetting her.
While I always loved to hear her name spoken, my reaction was always two-fold. Her name was a reminder of what had been lost – the hopes and dreams we had for our child. It was painful to remember her. But at the same time, I had a deep fear that she would be forgotten, that others would not see that her little life had value, that it had meaning, that the world was somehow changed because of her very existence. That’s what ultimately led us to create Anna’s Grace Foundation. We wanted to establish a legacy for Anna so that she would not be forgotten and so that she would be remembered not for sadness or tears, but rather for comfort and peace.
After working with families through the foundation, it soon became abundantly clear that others felt the same way I did. So many were searching for a way to remember their babies in a positive way, to make a mark on the world so that their babies would not be forgotten. This realization was the impetus that started our team-building initiative that runs in connection with our biggest event of the year – the Anna’s Grace Quarter Marathon.
Each year, families create teams in honor of their little ones, creating legacies for their own babies. Their impact has reverberated throughout our community as they have tirelessly raised crucial funds and have helped raise awareness for Anna’s Grace Foundation. In 2019, teams raised over $25,000, making it possible for 50 local families to focus on healing instead of worrying about the unexpected end-of-life expenses they were facing after the loss of their baby. What a profound legacy of love! Moreover, many families shared their stories on our blog which helped to educate those who are not members of the 1 in 4. This helped to break the silence that often surrounds baby loss and healed hearts along the way.
We hope that this tradition of helping others will continue in 2020.
As of this writing, 33 teams are running in memory of a sweet little one. Charlie B’s Angels are leading the way followed by Addison’s Angels and the Maddry Grace Ladybugs. Sign up today to join a team or create your own! Let’s run (or walk…or stroll) side by side, offering each other encouragement and support!
As of today, there are 12 teams building legacies for special babies through their fundraising efforts and every $500 they raise helps another family facing the unthinkable task of saying goodbye to their little one. The Maddry Grace Ladybugs are now in the top spot after their amazing fishing rodeo. They are followed by Hearts for Haislee and Kaleb & Ezra’s Crusaders. Visit our fundraising website if you would like to help our teams to meet their goals or if you would like to create your own team. Every donation, no matter how big or how small will help our teams to make a difference in our community.
We often say that the Anna’s Grace Quarter Marathon is more than just a race. And now we hope you understand why. With each step we take, we are remembering the babies who were gone too soon while providing hope and healing to those who come after us. Whether you are a member of the 1 in 4 or not, we invite you to join us on March 22nd for a race like no other. Together we will remember so that they are not forgotten.