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Legacy comforts others

It takes special people to think of others in the midst of their own pain and turn their family’s tragedy into a small measure of comfort for families enduring similar suffering.

Demitri and Heather Wilson were devastated when their daughter, Kennedy, was stillborn in 2009. But it was through that experience that they realized that parents enduring a stillbirth or the death of a newborn needed more support and more resources than they found in existence.

The Wilsons founded Kennedy’s Angel Gowns, which has a mission to help, heal and give back to other bereaved families. The nonprofit takes its name from the infant burial gowns that Heather Wilson and other volunteers handcraft from donated garments, including wedding gowns.

The availability of these burial gowns fills a void the Wilsons sought for Kennedy. But they wanted to do even more.

This week, the Wilsons were on hand to donate a CuddleCot to Sentara Obici Hospital. The device gently circulates cooled air around the body of a stillborn baby or one that dies shortly after birth, allowing the parents to stay with their baby for a longer period of time while they begin to process what has happened.

It’s a product no parent ever wants to have to use, but many will be grateful for the opportunity should they need it. The Wilsons have helped provide that opportunity for families in Suffolk and Western Tidewater with their donation to Sentara Obici Hospital, as well as for families who give birth at Sentara Leigh Hospital in Norfolk. That donation took place earlier this year.

We greatly admire the Wilsons’ dedication to carrying on Kennedy’s legacy through the angel gowns as well as through the CuddleCot donations. Through their devastation has come great comfort to many others.