Balloons For Babies – raising awareness, and changing my life.

*This Is NOT a party, but a non profit, grass roots, DIY community event. Organized by myself and some other amazing ladies. *

October is Infant Loss and Awareness month, and is usually overlooked since it shares the month of October with Breast Cancer Awareness.

A “friend of a friend” had attended a small balloon release the year before to honor lost babies and their grieving families. It was organized by a woman who had since moved out of state. So we were planning another, It was SUPER last minute, and I was honored to be brought in.  We ladies decided then and there to give it a name and make it an annual event.

Balloons For Babies

balloons For Babies - Infant Loss

There were four of us, and when I was brought on board we didn’t really have a plan. My mind started spinning with ideas and ways that we could pay tribute, offer resources, and make the event something really special.

As the crafty/party gal, I took on the role of prepping and planning the event itself and all creating all the décor used, designing fliers, and working on getting local companies to provide donations/contributions to aid in making our event successful.

The other girls were in charge other details like social media, contacting local newspaper, t.v., and radio stations. They also had to keep a close tally on registration information, total balloon count, and logistics of the balloons on the event day.

I did know however, that the first person I wanted to reach out to for help with this big task was the amazing Erica McCauley. She is a tremendous birth photographer, who loves all things babies, birth and beyond. She has a sweet soul, supports women, and truly touches the lives of those lucky enough to encounter her. (You can check out her amazing work and slideshows HERE) As I expected, she was generous enough to provide us with her talent and capture the event through her camera lens.

Since we live in North Dakota, and it was going to be cold, I thought a hot chocolate table was appropriate for such an occasion. Especially since there would be families and children attending. There was also a registration table, and a few other special touches. An amazing local pastor said a beautiful prayer, followed by a moment of silence and the release of the balloons. I knew that I wanted the attendees to feel like we did our best to honor and acknowledge their children.

Here we are… Getting tables set up, Balloons divvied, and yours truly doing a last minute news interview before the event started.

balloonsforbabiessetup

I made awareness ribbon pins for all the attendees, they were placed on the registration table along with a resources page that I put together. I listed local community grief resources, a recommended reading list, and various support outlets. DIY awareness Ribbons

There was a “memory board” where messages could be left to honor those we’ve lost. (My plan is to reuse the butterflies next year in some special way.). The board is just a large piece of foam. I covered it with some fabric and we used stick pins to place the hand cut butterflies on the board.

infant loss memorial

The hot chocolate table included a steamer of Hot Cocoa, a variety of marshmallows, including, strawberry, chocolate/vanilla, pumpkin spice, yummy peppermint bits, andes mint chips, and whipped cream. I also made chocolate dipped wooden spoons. I melted chocolate (white, milk, dark and a caramel.. (which is not chocolate, I know)) I poured the melted chocolate into a silicone tray (mine tray had 1sq in squares). Once the chocolate cooled a bit, I placed in my mini wooden spoon, et voila. Delicious, meltable, mix-ins!

I created pretty labels for the cups and food, You can learn how to make your own version of the fabric bunting I used {HERE}.
Hot Chocolate Table
I also have a large canvas at home and I wanted to use it in a special way.  The balloon release was being held at a local walking bridge, and I thought the canvas would be a perfect way to create a large visual piece for the evening.  I am so proud of how amazing it turned out.  It is sadly beautiful and symbolic.

I ended up covering it, (with a vinyl tablecloth of all things). Then I cut butterflies (using a butterfly paper punch) and arranged them into an image of balloons.

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Getting this opportunity to participate in making this event happen has forever changed me. It is has given me an unwaivering appreciation for the blessing I have in my own life. My heart truly goes out to all those who have to suffer the tragic loss of a child. As wonderful as it was to reach so many people and be able to provide this outlet for healing, community, and awareness. It is deeply bittersweet. So much tragedy, broken hearts, and deep sadness was gathered atop the bridge that day. I will never forget the emotions I felt that evening. And I know that these families, will do their best to never forget, To keep their babies and memories alive in their hearts and spirits forever.

balloonsforbabies2

I am so grateful for the opportunity to assist in providing a source of healing for these families and a place to honor their babies.

If you would like to see ALL the images from the event, You can find our Balloons for Babies Page on Facebook,

*If you are interested in creating your own Balloons for Babies Event, Please contact me, I would love to help you jump start an amazing event like this in your community.*

I would also like to thank our local Wal-Mart, Marketplace Foods, Minot Restaurant Supply Company, Purely Posh ~ Paperie & Events, Erica McCauley Photography,  and Shayna Petrich of Century 21 Realtors, This event would not have been possible without  contributions of these local businesses. {Heart Hugs and sincerest Thank You’s)

jessicasig

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