WARREN, Pa. – For over 13 years, Addie’s Gift Foundation has been offering support to families who have suffered the loss of an infant or pregnancy.
The foundation was created after its founders, Alicia and Rob Gatto suffered their own loss.
“Addie’s Gift Foundation was founded in June of 2008 after my husband, Rob, and I experienced the traumatic and devastating loss of our third daughter in April 2008,” Alicia Gatto said. “Adalyn (“Addie”) Kathryn, was born still at 37 weeks gestation.”
Addie had a true knot in her umbilical cord which caused the stillbirth, an issue that occurs in less than one percent of all pregnancies.
Gatto said she spent days researching to “find answers as to how and why that could happen.”
“My grief was exhausting and consuming. I couldn’t function as a wife, mother, daughter, sister or friend. Postpartum issues reared their ugly heads,” Gatto said. “I relied heavily on journaling and reading books about grief and losing a child. I quickly discovered I was not alone.”
Two months after losing Addie, the Gattos founded Addie’s Gift Foundation to help others experiencing similar grief.
“Since the inception of AGF, it has grown to offer many different support measures including resources for grief support, personal communication support and financial assistance for funeral services,” Alicia Gatto said. “We also work closely with ‘Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep’ photographers so parents can have photos taken of their infant when it is often the last thing on their minds.
“Most recently, we have assisted in collecting wedding gowns that have been made into several Angel Gowns by Kris Sivak and Jean Olsen,” Gatto added. “They are gifted to our local hospitals or directly to families. We have also purchased three Cuddle Cots and donated them to Brooks Memorial Hospital in Dunkirk, UPMC Chautauqua and Warren General Hospital. Cuddle Cots are cooling systems that allow parents to have their child with them for up to five days before saying their final goodbyes. It extends their time significantly and prevents families from having to rush through the departure process.”
AGF also promotes the “Wave of Light” event that occurs annually on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (Oct. 15).
The foundation offers these support mechanisms thanks to contributions from individuals and organizations.
“Addie’s Gift has been the recipient of financial contributions from memorials, as well as from various organizations, especially the Young Mothers Study Club in Warren,” Alicia Gatto said. “Without these donations, we would not be able to provide the services and support we do.”
More information about Addie’s Gift Foundation, including how to donate, can be found here.
October 15 is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Everyone around the world is encouraged to light a candle at 7 p.m., as it falls in each time zone. If everyone lights a candle and keeps it burning for one hour, there will be a continuous Wave of Light over the entire world.