Tuesday, September 04, 2007

An Arkansas Family Chooses to Give Back

Little Rock - One Arkansas family is turning their own loss and devastation into a way to help others.

( Hollie and Donnie Faulkner)
"I was eight months pregnant in May and we lost him, he had his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck so he was still born May 24th."

"He was perfect. Ten fingers, ten toes, six pounds seven ounces, 20 inches long. He was perfect. You wanted to just wake him up. That was the hardest part."

It was a horrific experience for Donnie and Hollie Faulkner to lose their first child, Eric Blake, three months ago.

Like many parents-to-be, the loss was almost more than they could handle.
(Faulkner’s) "I guess words can't describe it. You want to be mad, you want to blame somebody."

"Then you want to get mad at the people helping you and then you realize there's nothing no one could do."

The Faulkners relied on Saint Vincent’s prenatal loss and Bereavement Program to help get them through their difficult circumstance.

(Lynette Spruiell) "Babies are named, items are monogrammed, sometimes daycares are chosen, and then the unexpected happens."

Lynette Spruiell is the only known full-time hospital Bereavement coordinator in the country. She helps provide in-patient and follow-up care to parents who have experienced miscarriages, still births, or newborn losses.

"What happens when I go home, or when I have to get in the car to go home? What do I tell my friends? What about when I go to Walmart and everyone has a baby or is expecting a baby."

Statistics show that 1 in 100 deliveries are still born, 1 in 110 newborns die before they’re 28 days old, and 1 in 5 pregnancies ends in miscarriage.

"Historically it hasn’t been talked about so many people don't understand, but now it's being talked about and people are shocked at the statistics."

The Bereavement services are provided for free, and rely on grants, donations, and memorial tributes. The Faulkners were so appreciative of the program, so they wanted to somehow give back.

(Faulkners) "Within three days, we had several thousand dollars. I think it was 13-thousand dollars in three days."

Donnie and Hollie sent out a letter to all their friends’ families. They were asking them to contribute to a newly established foundation in their son’s name.

(Faulkners) "He's very special, he's very special to us and we just don't want him to ever be forgotten."

They have since far exceeded all of their goals. So far they have brought in more than $40,000.00.

They’ve even picked up the support of what they call their racing family with whom they work. A special tribute car was a part of the U.S. national race over Labor Day weekend.

The fundraising efforts have become part of the healing process for the Faulkners. The also is a way to ensure their son, Eric Blake would never be forgotten.

(Faulkners) "It's been good for me, it's been good for Donnie. It keeps us busy, it keeps us focused. It gives us something to look forward to."

The tribute car, priced at about $300,000.00, is now headed to the auction block at the world famous Barret-Jackson collector car auction. All proceeds will go the Saint Vincent’s Bereavement program.


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