Better Arizona

Arizona women run chapter of group to help bereaved families

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It's something no expecting parent ever wants to think about: pregnancy or infant loss. But the co-leaders of an Arizona group say one in four women experience that painful journey.

Marlene Graham was just weeks from giving birth when what was supposed to be a routine doctor's visit became anything but.

"It wasn't the noise like prior ultrasounds," she recalled.

"I said is there something wrong and she [doctor] says, 'Yes, your baby has no heartbeat. She's passed away.' And I remember sitting there thinking, how did this happen? What's going on? And I was just shocked."

Shock quickly turned to grief at having to bury her beautiful Hannah Rose.

"No parent ever plans to bury their baby," Graham said.

In the hospital Graham learned about The TEARS Foundation, which helps bereaved families cope financially and emotionally with their loss.

"To have the ability to be with others that have gone through the same thing that can offer hope. That really helps."

Graham is now a co-leader of the Arizona chapter of The TEARS Foundation that she started in 2011 with Kim Freeman.

"We know that there are so many more of us like Marlene and myself … over 1,400 babies die every year in the state of Arizona," Freeman said.

Freeman relied on the foundation when she lost not one but two sons.

"I had wanted to do something that would make their deaths, I guess make their lives meaningful."

Together the women spearhead fundraising events like the annual "Rock and Walk" in the fall and they rely on generous donors to help provide that rock of support when families need it most.

"In church, on the bus, in school, in the workplace, we know that there are people around us that are experiencing this and they might be alone and they might be scared," Freeman said.

Click The TEARS Foundation to learn more.

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