Tallahassee, FL - "They told us our baby would have complications," that was how Sharia Brent started to tell a crowd for the first time about the loss of her newborn daughter.
It was a crowd full of people that she and her husband have come to know since Serena Grace, their little princess, died four years ago.
"There was a hole in her diaphragm, her stomach and other things were above the diaphragm instead of below," described Brent when she talked about the medical complications here daughter faced.
"When I used to talk to her even though she couldn't cry or make any sounds... when I would speak she would recognize my voice. She would move her leg or arm. She knew my presence," said father, Randy Brent, when he reflects on memories with his daughter who only lived to be less than one month old.
The couple says right away they sought comfort in the annual event, "A Walk to Remember". Once a year this group gets together to talk about their babies that passed away. They fill out a quilt square with a name or a message, and light a candle, all to honor those who were only here on Earth for a short time.
As the Brents listened to other stories of loss, the Leon County Commission Chair, Akin Akinyemi sat just feet away, watching and listening as his wife told the crowd the story of their loss 14 years ago. It was a first for them to share as well.
"I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Vanessa," said Elvira Akinyemi, a fellow parent who knows the loss of a child all to well.
While each loss is a personal one, parents, like the Brents, say they can find comfort in one another year after year. The Brents say they find peace is seeing Serena Grace's name on her quilt square, stitched together with so many others who will also never be forgotten.
Tallahassee, FL - Tonight families who have lost a child will walk to make sure their children are not forgotten.
It's called 'walk to remember,' and it's held every year to observe national pregnancy and infant loss awareness day.
Families who have lost a child, have gathered at St. Pauls United Methodist Church, where they will mingle and eat, before taking part in a special church service around 6:30.
That service will then be followed by the 11th annual walk to remember at sundown.
Organizers say about two hundred people attend this walk every year.
11th Annual Walk to Remember To Be Held October 18th
Rotary Clubs and Tallahassee Memorial Provide Families Comfort
TALLAHASSEE, FL – On Thursday, October 18th families will gather together at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. at the 11th annual Walk to Remember to honor babies who are no longer with us.
The Walk to Remember event is held each year to observe National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. The Walk is dedicated to our local grieving families and to their departed children. It is attended by about 200 people each year. All grieving families and their friends are welcome to participate at no cost. St. Paul’s United Methodist Church is located at 1700 North Meridian Road. There is plenty of parking in the church parking lot.
Losing a baby is a traumatic experience. When the Florida Legislature created Healthy Start in 1992, they made a commitment to reducing infant mortality. Walk to Remember is an opportunity for participants to share their touching stories. Families share their testimony of how they survived their tragic loss, and a common bond begins to form. “It is so important that our families know they are not alone in their grief,” said Ann Davis, Executive Director of Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition. “The annual Walk to Remember provides them with hope and support.”
Randy and Sharia Brent understand what it means to lose a child. Four years ago, Sharia had a beautiful baby girl named Serena Grace. The Brents were excited about sharing their lives with Serena. Unfortunately, health complications occurred and Serena only lived one day short of her one month birthday. “The first time I was able to hold Serena was when the tubes were taken out of her and she was taken off of a machine,” Sharia explained. “She died in my arms so peacefully.” Sharia will be telling her story about Serena during the memorial service at Walk to Remember.
Beginning at 5:30 p.m., family members are encouraged to write a message on a remembrance quilt square to honor their loved one. Food and beverages will be served during this time. Guests also have the opportunity to have their babies’ names read aloud during the memorial service held in the sanctuary. County Commissioner Akin Akinyemi will read the County’s proclamation. Grief counselors will be provided at the reception
At 7:30, a candlelit ceremony will take place as participants walk around Lake Ella paying tribute to our lost babies. Each family will receive a carnation once they have completed the walk. Bagpipes will play “Amazing Grace”. Performers include the Tallahassee Pipe Band and Voces Angelorum. Child care will be provided by the church in the nursery throughout the evening. The evening would not be possible without our sponsors: Tallahassee Rotary Club, Capital Rotary Club, TMH Foundation and Tallahassee Memorial Women & Children’s Services.
“Walk to Remember brings awareness to a serious infant mortality problem in our local community,” stated Dr. Fran Close, Associate Professor at Florida A&M University’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences’ Institute of Public Healthy, and Capital Area Healthy Start Board President. “This event gives grieving moms, dads and extended family the opportunity to receive support from CAHSC and our partners. For the last 11 years, we have observed this national day of remembrance in our community. CAHSC feels it is essential that we do all we can in our community to ensure that we are not only bring awareness to the issue, but ultimately reduce infant mortality.”
For additional information about Serena’s story, please contact Randy Brent at 850-586-9142 or Sharia Brent at 850-980-7666. Sharia can also be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition (CAHSC) is a 501c3, non-profit organization dedicated to improving the health of infants and their families, and created to decrease the high rates of infant deaths in Florida. The Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare Foundation is a premier sponsor of Walk to Remember.