Rodger and Leann Weller turned their heartbreak into a legacy for their infant daughter, Kyleigh, who passed away at birth in 2012. They founded Kyleigh’s Gift, which provides a free SleepSack to every baby born at Liberty Hospital. Kyleigh’s Gift is administered through the Liberty Hospital Foundation.
A SleepSack is a wearable microfleece blanket. It replaces loose blankets in the crib that can cover a baby’s face and interfere with breathing. In addition to helping babies sleep more safely, a SleepSack swaddles the baby tightly, keeping him or her safe and warm. Using a wearable blanket is one way the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests to prevent infant deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, also known as SIDS, and asphyxiation. (See sidebar for more AAP sleep safety recommendations.)
“We wanted to do something to honor Kyleigh’s memory and the wonderful care we received from the Liberty Hospital Birthing Center doctors, nurses and staff,” Rodger Weller said. “It brings us great joy to know that even though Kyleigh can’t be with us, in spirit she is making a difference in the life of every baby born at Liberty Hospital.”
Kyleigh’s Gift also now provides families with memory boxes in case of the loss of an infant who was more than 20 weeks and miscarriage care packages for those less than 20 weeks. A miscarriage care package includes forget-me-not seeds, candle, a commemorative pin with footprints and a message of hope and love from Kyleigh’s Gift. A memory box includes a hand- painted ceramic angel, photos of the baby (if desired), small hand-knitted cap and other mementos. The boxes are hand painted by a nurse in The Birthing Center.
As part of the Weller family’s continued partnership with Liberty Hospital, the fourth annual Kyleigh’s Gift 5K Run/Walk will be on the trail at Liberty Hospital beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14. To register or for more information about the Kyleigh’s Gift fund, go to www.libertyhospitalfoundation.org.