The Brittons know firsthand how devastating and lonely the experience of miscarriage can be.
That’s why they founded Olie’s Footprints, a nonprofit organization that provides support to families who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, and child loss. Named in honor of baby Oliver Paxton, who they lost in a miscarriage in May 2016, the organization supports and encourage families that lose a baby or child.
“Losing Olie was the most devastating loss in our lives. No one knew what to say or do for us,” said director Sara Britton. “We began to have conversations with friends, family, and complete strangers about the dark days of loss. All the conversations involved one common theme — loneliness. From those conversations, Olie’s Footprints was born.”
Upon a family member or friend’s request, she sends a loss package to a family in mourning. The packages are customized to each family, taking into consideration that siblings may be grieving as well, and includes a special keepsake, tissues, and a hand-written note of support and encouragement.
With one in four pregnancies ending in miscarriage, the need for loss packages has increased.
The group held a remembrance walk Saturday at Amherst’s Beaver Creek Reservation Metro Park on North Lake Street.
After completing the walk, participants crafted small candles to send to other families in their network.
As the group sat down under a gazebo to begin crafting, they noticed a messaged that had been etched into a picnic table bench: “There is always hope.”
Olie’s Footprints has made contact with nearly 600 families who’ve lost a child, some as far away as England and Australia. Britton said 154 hand-crafted keepsakes have been mailed to families in the group over the past two years.
Upcoming fundraisers to support the efforts of Olie’s Footprints include:
• A rummage sale will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 23 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, June 24 at 34901 Detroit Rd., Avon. Baked goods and lemonade will also be available for purchase. All profits go back into supporting Olie’s Footprints families.
• A car wash will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, July 8 at Marathon, 960 North Leavitt Rd., Amherst. Baked goods will also be available for purchase.
For more information on Olie’s Footprints or to donate, visit www.oliesfootprints.com.