Take a stroll with neighbors to support Addy Bears

November 2017 | Related Categories: Community Life

The hardest part of losing a child is living every day after. – Unknown

The loss of a child is an unimaginable pain that no family should have to experience, and during the holidays the grief can become magnified.

This season, Eastmark Cares has chosen to support Addy Bears, a local not-for-profit that gives grieving parents the simple gift of a stuffed bear to hold as they navigate the emotional journey of losing a child far too soon.

Through the inaugural Eastmark Jingle Jog on Dec. 9, Eastmark Cares will donate all proceeds from the sale of jingle bells and a 50/50 raffle to Addy Bears. Stuffed by You will also be on site to help residents stuff at least 100 bears to be donated to local pediatric hospitals through Addy Bears. (Psst! If you haven’t yet, sign up to let us know you’ll be joining the Jingle Jog.)

Addy Bears was born on Nov. 28, 2016 when Branden and Melissa Haws’ baby girl Addy was stillborn at 39 weeks. While in the hospital, the East Valley couple was given a stuffed bear by their nurses, but it wasn’t until they returned home with unthinkable grief and loss, and an empty crib, that they realized holding onto the bear was just what they needed.

“Our bear will never replace the loss of our baby, but having something soft to hold in a time of grief proved to be something we needed,” said Branden and Melissa. ”We didn’t get to take our daughter home. We didn’t get to dress her up in all the clothes we bought, and all of our family and friends, bought her. We didn’t get to have her with us and do all the things we dreamed of doing together as a family. We didn’t have our daughter to hold, but we had something.”

Branden and Melissa are now paying it forward and honoring the memory of their precious Addy. Each Addy Bear is stuffed with a fabric heart that is kissed and hugged, placed in a box with a letter from Addy and then carefully wrapped with love. The bears are personally delivered to local hospitals to be given to grieving families in labor and delivery, and pediatric and neonatal intensive care units. One hundred percent of donations to Addy Bears goes to the creation of bears for families experiencing infant or child loss.

If you’d like more information about Addy Bears, head over to addybears.org.

Questions about the Jingle Jog? Give us a holler at Eastmark@DMBCommunityLife.com.

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