National ‘Wave of Light’ to be held at Heritage Park for Pregnancy...

National ‘Wave of Light’ to be held at Heritage Park for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

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To honor of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, one local woman has spearheaded a county-wide event to honor and remember the little lives lost. 

Elizabeth Kennedy, of Rocky Point, shared her story nearly two years ago with Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), sparking the Suffolk County Legislature to unanimously approve a resolution, and designate Oct. 15 as “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Awareness Day” back in 2020.

Sponsored by Anker, it was introduced to increase awareness of the causes and impacts surrounding pregnancy and infant loss and to improve understanding, support and potential resources for those who grieve the loss of a pregnancy or an infant.

Kennedy lost her second child, who was named Grace, when she was 26 weeks and six days pregnant on Feb. 25, 2018. 

Struck with grief she felt that she needed to find an outlet to help her cope with her loss, so she began researching different infant loss support groups. Through her online search, she found the Star Legacy Foundation — a national organization whose mission is to increase awareness, support research, promote education and encourage advocacy and family support regarding stillbirth, pregnancy loss, and neonatal death.

After helping to organize a virtual candle lighting — called the “Wave of Light” — on Zoom to show respect for families and loved ones who have experienced loss last year, she and her fellow organizers decided to host an in-person event for 2021 at Heritage Park on Friday.

At 6:45 p.m. on Oct. 15, families can gather to mourn together and share their stories for an in-person Wave of Light event at Heritage Park, located at the park’s main building, 633 Mount Sinai-Coram Road in Mount Sinai. Candles will be lit at 7 p.m. 

“If there are people out there who haven’t wanted to find support on their own yet, this could be a way for people to open the door,” Kennedy said. 

According to the Star Foundation, thousands of families in the United States experience pregnancy and infant loss each year. In the United States there are approximately 24,000 stillbirths, or 1 out of 160 births, a year. In addition to stillbirths, current research suggests that between 10% and 20% of medically confirmed pregnancies end in miscarriage.