Before 2017, I had never heard of Anna’s Grace. I had never seen the footprint butterfly logo or known the meaning of a virtual memorial garden, which displays the names of babies whom families desperately want to remember. I wasn’t included in that 1 in 4 statistic until I was.
My husband and I lost two babies during pregnancy, Kohen in 2017 and Austin in 2018. Suddenly, a completely new world was revealed that day in the hospital, and we were in need of resources we never knew existed.
“When we lost Anna, one of my biggest fears was that she would be forgotten. That her life would not make an impact. That the world would continue to turn and would not take notice of the precious life that was lost. My husband, Todd, and I wanted to create a legacy for her – one that would make a difference in the lives of other families who experienced a similar loss. That’s how Anna’s Grace Foundation came to be,” shared co-founder Monica Alley.
For years now, our family has attended “A Walk To Remember”, a special event for so many to remember our babies together, their names each displayed on signs that lined the walking path. Anna’s Grace ornaments with our babies’ names hang on our Christmas tree every year. Monica consistently reached out on those birthdays, letting us know that she was thinking of us.
We were so thankful to receive such practical help from Anna’s Grace, but the support and connection go well beyond just getting us through in the moment. Out of her own loss, Monica made us welcome and feel less alone, and for that, we will forever be grateful.
Anna’s Grace recently announced they would transition to become part of Maddie’s Footprints, an organization that has served Lafayette with a similar mission.
“Now, nine years later, we are so proud of what we have been able to accomplish to honor Anna. Nearly 850 local families received financial assistance with burial costs and countless others found comfort through our events and programs,” said Monica. “How full my heart is to know that what started as a simple way to remember our own baby touched so many in our community! While we started the foundation to help us on our own grief journey, one of the most rewarding benefits has been to watch other families find their footing and create legacies for their own babies.”
We had the opportunity to meet Maddie’s Footprints team this week. Their passion to help people was evident, as we listened to Lori McGrew share the story of her daughter Maddie and throughout the conversations we had about how they were already serving those in the Lafayette area. As we welcome Maddie’s Footprints to Baton Rouge, we are confident that families who experience the same loss and grief that we have will continue to be fully supported.
In addition to financial support, Maddie’s Footprints also offers these resources:
Travis and Lori McGrew share Maddie’s story on their website and how she inspired them to give back.
“Because Madeline touched our lives in a way we will never be able to fully explain, we wanted her memory to live on – not only through us but by others. We were so blessed to have such close friends and family that helped us through this difficult time not only emotionally and mentally, but financially. We received donations from our family members to pay for nearly all of the burial expenses and medical bills. We were so truly grateful for this gift. It was so amazing to have the financial burden lifted in a time when that is the last thing you want to worry about. We felt so blessed and fortunate that we wanted to be able to do this for other families that were in similar situations. In order to “pay it forward,” we began Maddie’s Footprints.”