Newtown Mothers Planning Walk To Remember, Wave Of Light For Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness
October is National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, and Friday, October 15, is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day, not only worldwide, but officially declared as such in Newtown.
The day serves to recognize the unique grief of bereaved parents suffering from pregnancy loss, which is much more common than most people realize.
To mark the day and honor their stillborn children Luca and Tinsley, two Newtown mothers have organized a “Walk to Remember” at Fairfield Hills.
All are invited to join Jessi Ruotolo and Kathy Birchall Gardner at 6 pm Friday, October 15, when all families and friends can walk together to honor all the babies gone too soon. Ruotolo and Gardner will meet in front of Newtown Community Center, 8 Simpson Street, for a walk that will last approximately 20 minutes.
The walk will conclude by 6:30 so that local residents can be home for 7. At that time, anyone who wants to is encouraged to light a candle as part of the International Wave of Light being planned around the world. People around the world will be lighting a candle between 7 and 8 pm their local time. Candles remain burning across the globe for a full 24 hours on behalf of all the babies gone too soon.
This is the second year for the Wave of Light in Newtown. Gardner and Ruotolo coordinated a similar event last year. The in-person walk is new for 2021.
The two women have created an event page on Facebook (search for Northern Fairfield County Walk to Remember & Wave of Light), where people can virtually share pictures of their candles, talk about their babies, and support one another.
Gardner’s daughter, Tinsley, was stillborn on December 4, 2017, at 32 weeks because of an umbilical cord accident. Gardner is vice chair of Star Legacy Foundation’s NY Metro Chapter and writes about her experience as a stillbirth mom at ltop.blog. She is also vice chair of the NY Metro Chapter of the Star Legacy Foundation.
Gardner, who lives in Sandy Hook with her husband and four sons, has shared that the 2021 Let’s Not Be Still! Virtual Walk will be held on Saturday, October 16. To join that effort, contact Gardner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks to Gardner’s advocacy, in 2018 First Selectman Dan Rosenthal proclaimed October 15 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in Newtown.
Ruotolo has lived in Newtown for two years. She and her husband Joe’s first child, Luca Gabriel, was born still at 34 weeks due to Trisomy 18 in Okinawa, Japan, on June 5, 2015. They had received a fatal diagnosis one month prior. Jessi and Joe also have a 2-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son. Jessi has written about her experience on her blog at livingforluca.wordpress.com.
Edmond Town Hall in Newtown will again be lighting up in pink and blue the week of October 11 as part of the worldwide lighting of buildings and monuments. Gardner and Ruotolo encourage people to check out the Echo Seven Project to see how many landmarks from around the world go Pink & Blue to show their support.