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“Sawyer’s Heart” Donation to Silver Cross Offers Comfort to Others

Joliet, IL (June 23, 2011)To honor the memory of their son Sawyer, who would have been 1-year-old on June 1, his parents donated gifts to Silver Cross Hospital that will provide comfort to other families who lose a child.

sawyer 3 003As part of their work with Angels of Hope, Inc., NFP, Erik and Michelle Williams of Channahon recently donated to Silver Cross Hospital memory boxes for parents whose children die just before or after birth. The boxes, which include a hand/footprint mold kit, baby blanket, clothing and a bereavement booklet, were given in honor of the Williams’ son, Sawyer, who died a year ago when he was just 2 days old from a congenital heart defect, and these are things that they appreciated that were given to them to help cope with their loss.  Thus, this is “Sawyer’s Heart” donation.

Pictured are Marilyn Paolella, Director of Maternal Child Care for Silver Cross Hospital, Channahon residents Michelle and Erik Williams, and Silver Cross Birthing Center nurses Kathy Speckman R.N., and Kristi Walker R.N. (seated). As part of their work with Angels of Hope, Inc., NFP, Erik and Michelle Williams recently donated memory boxes for parents whose children die just before or after birth. The boxes were given in honor of the Williams’ son, Sawyer, who died a year ago when he was just 2 days old from a congenital heart defect, and these are things that they appreciated that were given to them to help cope with their loss.  Thus, this is “Sawyer’s Heart” donation.

Sawyer lived from June 1 to June 3, 2010. He was delivered just seven months into his mother’s pregnancy with a congenital heart defect which caused his blood not to get oxygenated and resulted in Sawyer having organ failure.

On the day they went home, as Michelle Williams waited in her hospital room for her husband to return from their car, she held not her new son, but a memory box.

“I sat in my room with the memory box, his mold, just holding it. I had something in my arms. It’s a priceless gift,” Williams said.

In memory of their son, they organized the area’s first “A Walk To Remember” in October 2010 for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Proceeds went to Angels of Hope, an organization based out of Coal City that helps anyone dealing with the emotional or physical absence of a child.

Since then, they have teamed up with Angels of Hope to do Sawyer’s Heart Project, which creates and gives memory boxes for hospitals to provide to families who suffer pregnancy or infant loss while in the hospital.

What the boxes contain depends on the sex and term of the child. There are boxes for micro preemie, preemie and full-term babies. Micro preemie babies are born between 18 and 24 weeks. Preemies are babies who are born 24 to 36 weeks.

All the boxes contain bereavement literature; copies of the books “When Hello Means Goodbye” and “The Christmas Box,” which are about grieving the loss of a child; foot/hand molds; picture holders; blankets; a small stuffed animal and hand-knitted hats and/or booties.

The micro preemie boxes contain “Angel Wraps,” which are hand-knitted wraps just the size for a micro preemie child. Preemie boxes contain preemie-size clothes and full-term boxes newborn clothes. Some boxes contain disposable cameras.

The majority of the items in the boxes were donated. At least a dozen people, some from other states, hand-knitted the items.

“We truly appreciate the memory box gifts because they offer so much comfort to our patients, said Marilyn Paolella, Director of Maternal Child Care for Silver Cross Hospital.

About Angels of Hope
Angels of Hope is a non for profit corporation located in Morris, Illinois that was created in August 2005 to serve as beacons of hope for anyone dealing with the emotional or physical absence of a child. For more information on Angels of Hope, visit www.angelsofhopeinc.org

About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is in the process of building a replacement hospital at the intersection of U.S. Route 6 and the I-355 extension, three short miles from its current campus, to ensure it can continue its mission of providing healthcare to all area residents for the next century. The Hospital will have 289-beds and be over 600,000 square feet. The project is on schedule and will open in February 2012.

The Birthing Center at Replacement Hospital will feature 30 large private, patient rooms designed to be acuity-adaptable, which means that the space, supplies and staff will be available in the room to deliver the appropriate level of care to the patient rather than transfer the patient between units as needs change. And, procedures can be performed at the bedside as needed.  The Birthing Center will feature mother/baby couplet care; the same nurse caring for the mother as well as the baby, which improves continuity and communication between the patient, her nurse and her physicians. The Birthing Center will also feature an admission and holding nursery and a special care nursery with eight infant care centers, a lactation consultation lounge, and an education conference room. It will also include three nesting rooms, an isolation nursery and treatment room. The Labor & Delivery unit will include 12 spacious rooms, with an 8 bed triage, two operating room suites, four bed recovery rooms, and an outpatient testing clinic located in the medical service building.

In addition, each room will include wireless internet, 30” flat screen TV system, and family-friendly décor that can be controlled by the patient. There will also be a comfortable sofa-sleeper so family members can stay around the clock and be involved in the plan of care. 

Silver Cross will continue to partner with Children’s Memorial Hospital for 24/7 pediatrician coverage to care for patients in the Pediatric Unit.  Children’s Memorial also has an outpatient center on the replacement hospital campus that opened last summer offering numerous pediatric specialist and other services. 

For more information about the Silver Cross Replacement Hospital, visit www.silvercross.org.  To assist the area’s only community hospital in its initiative to bring state-of-the-art lifesaving services close to home, call the Silver Cross Foundation at (815) 740-7105. 

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