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Memphis non-profit raises money to help parents who experience pregnancy and infant loss

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 6:14 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The Hernando DeSoto Bridge and the Big River Crossing were lit pink and blue Friday night in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

The Helen James Foundation partnered with Mighty Lights to remember the lives gone too soon.

Emily Long, founder and president of the Helen James Foundation, created the non-profit after her own experience with loss.

“She was born at 2:51 in the morning and a beautiful seven-pound, seven-ounce baby girl,” Long said.

Her daughter, Helen James Long, was stillborn at 38 weeks.

“They brought her in the room, and we held her and loved on her, and we didn’t want to let her go. And they kept coming and saying, ‘we can take her whenever you’re ready,’ and we didn’t want her to leave,” Long recalled.

Long and her husband Joel are thankful for a device called the Cuddle Cot. It’s a cooling device that preserves a stillborn baby’s body in a bassinet or crib so that they can remain in a hospital room with the mother and father for up to five days.

The Long’s got to spend three days with baby Helen.

“Our friends and family traveled all over the country and my sister who lives outside of the country in Panama was able to come in and meet her niece, and hold her and love her, and it just made it a real experience for everyone to get to meet our baby,” Long said.

Long and her husband knew Cuddle Cots were a crucial part of acceptance and healing when grieving the loss of a baby.

They created the Helen James Foundation to raise money for Cuddle Cots to donate to hospitals across the country, including hospitals in Memphis, Nashville, Dallas, Chicago, and more.

“It’s unfortunately way more common than we ever even realized,” she said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States.

Long and her husband have a one-year-old son, George, and she says he loves talking about his big sister, Helen.

Long loves spreading her legacy, helping other grieving families.

“People reaching out saying they got time with their baby because of her is just incredible, the stories that have come back around,” she said.

To learn more about the Helen James Foundation, click here.

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