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Friday, April 22, 2011

Alexandra's Day

A few months ago my sister called me and asked if I would be interested in planning a fundraiser to help celebrate Alexandra's birthday. She had an idea to sell children's art to raise money for the pregnancy and infant loss program in our city. My oldest nephew is quite the little artist and had always wanted to put on a show to display his art, this is what led my sister to her idea.
Of course I was interested, but how I could I possibly do this? With such short notice, how would we pull it all together? So, I sent an email to the woman who had been my grief therapist and I asked her what I could do with this idea. She worked quickly, forwarding my email along to the appropriate people, essentially getting the ball rolling for Alexandra's fundraiser.
Before I knew it I was having a meeting with a woman from Calgary Health Trust, the woman who would be there for me, replying to a million emails with a million questions about what to do and how to do it. I think I will be forever grateful for all of the help and support that this amazing woman has given me.
It's been a lot to pull together, for sure, and at times I felt like maybe I bit off more than I could chew. Calling, emailing, and going to businesses, soliciting things, for every ten places I asked one would reply and for every ten that replied, one would say yes. It was a lot of rejection, and some of the emails I received felt like a punch in the gut. I remember the first place I emailed, I was so excited to be celebrating Alexandra's birthday in such a special way, I emailed one of my favorite cake stores and asked if they would be willing to donate a cake to our event. The response I got made the air catch in my throat and my eyes well up, and not in a good way. The email explained to me that this company only helped with causes that made a difference. Are you kidding me? As if the pregnancy and infant loss grief support program didn't make a difference? Really?? I was blown away, so much so that I replied to the email explaining that they need to rethink the rejection email they send to people.
And for the record, I will never again purchase a cake from cakeworks, because I prefer to buy cakes from people that like to make a difference.
So, as these last few months have gone by and the huge fundraiser to do list has gotten smaller and smaller, I realize that that list is about to grow again, as we take this whole next week to pull it all together, running around, picking things up, setting things up, contacting the media, making all the last purchases and changes to the schedules.
I have been finding myself drawn to the idea behind what I now refer to as the "evil cakeworks email." What if nobody comes? What if my fundraiser is a complete flop? What if all the media I contact feels the same way as cakeworks? What if they don't think that my daughter and all of the other babies lost are important enough?
Without the Scott Smed room at the hospital I feel that so much of those last few peaceful moments with our daughter would have been robbed from us. The memory box, teddy bear, blanket, clothes, recognition of birth, finger prints, pictures, hair clippings, pamphlets, books for Dayne, the blessing our daughter received, it all meant more to us than we will ever be able to verbalize. The therapy that I received, the candle light vigils, the gatherings for loss families, it means everything to those that have lost. It means everything and it takes funding.
I have said this before, but I will say it again, my family will never be able to repay the gift that we were given, but we can try to pay those gifts forward by replacing the resources that were used for us, but also help other families in need.
This IS a cause that impacts people. This IS a cause that makes a difference, but I fear that the only people that TRULY get it are those that have lost a child or are close to someone that has...Is that enough? Let's hope so.


  1. Wow, this is quite the project that you are heading up. I'm so proud to read all the wonderful things you are doing in memory of Alexandra. I know how much comfort that gives me if I'm able to reach out to others in Kennedy's name. That silly cake store is ridiculous and just doesn't get it. I'm sorry you had to get that kind of response from them. There will be others who will get it...and it will make it worth it. ((hugs))

  2. Nice work! You are so brave! I have had a running list in my head for a year and a half now of what I would like to to in my hometown but I am so afraid of failing that I never get on top of any of it. I have to wrap my head around 'something is better than nothing'. Just to darn scared. Seeing that you are doing so much and are so capable even though you may feel as though you have bit off more than you can chew shows me that it is possible! You may have just given me the boot I need to get on with it! Thanks!!

    x <3 o

  3. Exciting! What a wonderful tribute to Alexandra. I love all your ideas and look forward to reading more on the fund-raiser. Sorry I'm so behind.