Student Newsroom

Carle holds infant memorial for grieving parents


The memorial was held at the Shining Light Memorial Garden at Carle Foundation Hospital in Champaign on Oct. 15 for families to grieve and remember their children who died. Photo courtesy Carle Hospital.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- Members of the Champaign-Urbana community gathered at Carle Health’s Shining Light Infant Memorial Garden on Oct. 15 to honor infant and pregnancy loss. 

The Shining Light Memorial allowed families to submit and hear the names of their children who have died, said Rachel Campbell, an organizer of the memorial. 

The event serves as a link between hospital staff and families who have lost a child.

“When your baby passes at or around the time of birth, maybe 10 people in the whole world get to see your baby, and eight of those may be staff members,” Campbell said. “Getting to see the people who touched your baby and know what they smelled like is really important.” 

The event allows parents to grieve alongside staff members who experienced the loss of their child too, Campbell said. 

“We are the evidence that the baby was here,” she said. 

Kristian Bletscher said she has attended the memorial with her husband every year. She said they lost their daughter in 2015. 

Bletscher said this event shows them that their child was being honored. 

“It was nice to see there was an event for us that our babies were being remembered,” Bletscher said. 

The memorial was held both in-person and virtually this year.

Haley Bickelhaupt is a student journalist with the Illinois Student Newsroom at Illinois Public Media.