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September 24, 2019


ThedaCare Sponsors Event to Remember Infants Lost Prematurely


Photo Captions: Sarah Burg and her family take part in numerous Walk to Remember events throughout the years. They say it’s a special way to remember their daughter Willow, who passed away shortly after her birth in June 2016.

September 24, 2019


ThedaCare Sponsors Event to Remember Infants Lost Prematurely

APPLETON, Wis. – The 18th annual Walk to Remember will be held Sunday, October 13, 2019, at the Gordon Bubolz Nature Center in Appleton. October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.

“The Walk is held in support of families who have suffered the loss of an infant through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or neonatal death,” said Ashley Ebert, a Registered Nurse (RN) with the Family Birth Center at ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah.

Ebert and Emily Chitko, RN, are bereavement coordinators for the Family Birth Center. Its “Resolve through Sharing” program brings together families who have suffered an infant loss.

Ebert notes that one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. The Centers for Disease Control reports the infant mortality rate was 5.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2017. Infant mortality is defined as death before the child’s first birthday.

“Talking about death is still a pretty taboo subject in the U.S., and more so talking about the death of an infant,” said Ebert. “We hope this event will give families an opportunity to set aside a day to memorialize their infant.”

It’s a day for all who suffered a loss.  

“All family members are invited – parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbors,” said Ebert. “Anyone who wants to support the family is welcome, and it’s open to the public.”  

For Sarah Burg and her husband Andrew, it’s a special way to remember their daughter Willow, who passed away shortly after her birth in June 2016.

“We have attended the Walk to Remember every year since Willow’s death, and we invite our families to attend with us,” said Sarah. “It is a way for us to formally honor her memory. Of course, we remember her every day; this just gives us a chance to set aside a time especially for her.”

Sarah said she’ll never forget the first time she attended.

“It is a beautiful experience,” she said. “As we walked to the tree dedication area, surrounded by all the grieving parents, I was struck by the incredible amount of pain this group collectively experienced every day. What was so amazing was that despite all the pain and heartache, the love in the air was palpable. It was a really special experience.”

Registration for the Walk to Remember opens at 12:30 p.m., with the ceremony beginning at 1:00 p.m. in the Black Bear Den Auditorium at the Bubolz Nature Center, 4815 North Lynndale Drive, Appleton. The ceremony will include a short meditation with music; refreshments will be served as well. Activities will conclude at 3:00 p.m.

The event includes a short walk in the Nature Center to plant a tree in memory of all the infants. Ebert noted that those who might have physical limitations are welcome to remain in the auditorium or just participate in a short walk to the tree-planting ceremony and back. 

“If the weather is good, we may also walk a short loop through the Nature Center,” said Ebert. “It’s everyone’s choice as to how they want to participate.”

Burg said, “There’s something special about being out in nature at Bubolz; it’s very healing to spend some quiet time and reflect about our love for our daughter. We are very grateful for the events ThedaCare provides. We also attend the Walk to Remember and the candlelight service at Christmastime.”

ThedaCare sponsors the remembrance events in coordination with other local hospital systems.

“We hope events like this will help people feel the support of others who have gone through a similar experience,” said Ebert. “We encourage families to lean on each other and share their experience.”

About ThedaCare

For more than 110 years, ThedaCare® has been committed to finding a better way to deliver serious and complex healthcare to patients throughout Northeast and Central Wisconsin. The organization serves a community of more than 600,000 residents and employs more than 7,000 healthcare professionals throughout the regions. ThedaCare has seven hospitals located in Appleton, Neenah, Berlin, Waupaca, Shawano, New London and Wild Rose as well as 31 clinics in nine counties. ThedaCare is the first in Wisconsin to be a Mayo Clinic Care Network Member, giving our specialists the ability to consult with Mayo Clinic experts on a patient’s care. ThedaCare is a non-profit healthcare organization with a level II trauma center, comprehensive cancer treatment, stroke and cardiac programs as well as a foundation dedicated to community service.

For more information, visit or follow ThedaCare on Facebook and Twitter.

Media should call Cassandra Wallace, Public Relations Specialist at 920.442.0328 or the ThedaCare Regional Medical Center-Neenah switchboard at 920.729.3100 and ask for the marketing person on call.