LIBERTY — Many organizations encourage acts of safety, including childproofing homes to prevent injuries. For the Liberty Hospital, acts to keep babies safe start early.

Executive Director Midori Carpenter said Liberty Hospital Foundation oversees fundraising efforts, which includes Kyleigh’s Gift. Rodger and Leann Weller created Kyleigh’s Gift after the passing of their daughter, Kyleigh Elizabeth, in 2012. The baby girl passed away during labor and delivery at 39 weeks at the hospital’s birthing center. Kyleigh’s Gift provides infant wellness education and parental support to families.

Part of Kyleigh Gift efforts include ensuring every baby born at the birthing center receives a Sleep Sack, a type of swaddling blanket that promotes safe sleep. The first Sleep Sacks were given out in the spring of 2014.

“Over 6,000 have been given out to families in our community since the program started. This was the first initiative of Kyleigh’s Gift to support the birthing center’s commitment to educating families on safe sleep practices and SIDS prevention,” Carpenter explained.

To coincide with these efforts, there is a run/walk slated for Saturday, Oct. 10, which marks National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

“Proceeds from the Kyleigh’s Gift Run/Walk not only supports families experiencing pregnancy or infant loss at Liberty Hospital, but every family in the birthing center is touched by the program in some way,” Carpenter said. “Each family receives a Sleep Sack and educational materials on SIDS prevention and safe sleep. The birthing center social worker also refers mothers and families who qualify for additional support including a month’s worth of diapers and diaper bank resources, pack and plays to prevent co-sleeping, car seats or car beds, and we offer meal vouchers to breastfeeding mothers who have babies boarding in our NICU.”

This year marks the sixth year for the Kyleigh’s Gift Run/Walk and Candlelight ceremony. Participation of families, teams and sponsors has grown steadily as the number hit 350 participants last year.

“Our goal this year is to raise $19,400 to support the program,” Carpenter said.

While hosting a virtual event won’t allow participants to see everyone in person, the hope is this year’s event will spread the message of Kyleigh’s Gift further than before.

“Participants have the option to gather and engage in smaller groups around neighborhoods and parks across the Metro and beyond. Teams can set personal and group fundraising goals to share with friends and family. Teams will be given support and tools to hold candlelight ceremonies on their own to honor National Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day. We encourage those interested in any capacity to follow our Facebook page and event to connect with others and get the latest updates,” Carpenter said.

Southeast Editor Kellie Houx can be reached at kellie.houx@mycouriertribune.com or 389-6630.

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