Levi’s Hope for Tomorrow formed

Published 9:30 am Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rebekah and Tommy Henderson are creating a support group in memory of their son, Levi Aaron Henderson.

Called Levi’s Hope for Tomorrow, this group is a foundation for funding and providing pregnancy and infant loss kits in memory of Levi to distribute to local hospitals.

In January 2008, the Hendersons went to the doctor for their scheduled sonogram and expected to be told that their baby was in the correct position for his expected arrival, but were told that there was no heart beat. The Hendersons were surrounded by friends and family in the devastating days to follow, and during this time, realized that not every family receives the outpouring of sympathy that they did.

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The goal of the pregnancy loss kits is to reach out to parents who, like the Hendersons, have left the hospital wiping away tears rather than smiling at the newborn baby in their arms. Those parents cannot bring their baby back, but the Hendersons want to let those individuals know that they are not forgotten and their loss is recognized.

Statistics show that women have a 10 percent chance of having a miscarriage during confirmed pregnancies. In the state of Georgia alone, there were 1,241 fetal deaths in 2006, which is a rate of 8.3 fetal deaths per 1,000 live births. Fetal deaths are defined as a pregnancy that is 20 weeks gestation or greater.

Because the number of fetal deaths is so high, and the Hendersons realize that they cannot reach all the women in Georgia, their goal for this year was to raise enough money to create at least 25 care kits for women coming through Memorial Hospital and Manor.

This goal was achieved, and the Hendersons hope to continue to be able to provide these kits. The kits consist of a plaster mold for an impression of hands or feet, a container for the hospital bracelet, a disposable camera for photographic memories, a blanket to wrap the baby in, and a journal for the mothers to express their thoughts and feelings. These items will help provide the grieving parents with long-lasting memories that the parents can cherish, even though they have lost their baby.

The Bainbridge Pilot Club, an international service club, recently presented Mrs. Henderson with a donation check for Levi’s Hope for Tomorrow. The money donated by the Pilot Club goes toward the funding for the pregnancy care kits.

After the Hendersons began giving out the kits, many people encouraged them to begin a support group as well. Because Rebekah was unsure if she was ready to take this venture on her own, Andy Glover with Wiregrass Hospice offered to help facilitate this group.

The group meets on the third Monday of each month at 5:30 p.m. in the Adult Education building at First United Methodist Church, located at 300 W. Shotwell St. in Bainbridge. Anyone who has grieved a pregnancy or infant loss at any stage is welcome to attend. Even if the loss was early or happened some time ago, anyone is welcome to come and receive or give support.

In hopes for people to hear about the support group and attend meetings, Rebekah said, “I know how much it helped me to meet and talk to people face to face at the support group in Tallahassee. I hope that the group here is able to bring comfort and healing in the same way.”

For more information and a way to keep up to date on what’s happening, join Levi’s Hope for Tomorrow on Facebook or check out the Web site http://sites.google.com/site/levishopeproject.

Pictures of women who knitted the Blankets of Hope for the pregnancy loss kits are displayed on the Web site for visible reassurance to grieving families that people truly do care and show sympathy for them in their time of loss.