When someone asks five-year-old Brookswood resident Paisley why she is collecting bottles with her little brother Barrett, 3, she has a ready answer.
“It’s for Wilder,” she says.
Wilder is her brother, who was stillborn at 40 weeks and five days in September 2017.
“It’s for families who lost a baby and families who can’t have a baby,” Paisley adds.
Their mother, Kimberly Lockhart, together with other mothers who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss, has organized the first annual Butterfly Run Vancouver to raise awareness about infertility, pregnancy loss, and infant loss.
Scheduled for Oct. 5, the 5K/2K memorial run and walk will take place along the South False Creek seawall in Vancouver.
Its name was inspired by the purple butterfly many maternity wards will tape to a door when a family experiences the loss of a baby, to make sure staff entering the room know.
Lockhart hopes to keep Wilder’s memory alive by raising awareness about pregnancy and infant loss, as well as supporting other families facing the same bereavement.
“I wanted Wilder’s life to make a difference,” she said.
After her loss, Lockhart searched to see if there was a memorial walk in the Vancouver area. There wasn’t.
Her hunt led her to eastern Canada and the organizers of the Ottawa butterfly run, who agreed to provide advice and support to help Lockhart with the event planning started.
So far, Paisley and Barrett have raised more than $400 in bottle returns to help fund the Butterfly run, which has been timed for October, because it is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month.
While it is estimated that one in four women will experience miscarriage or pregnancy loss (also known as perinatal loss), Lockhart says the subject is often treated like a stigma that can’t be discussed.
“We really don’to know how to deal with grief,” Lockhart said.
“Let’s get better at that.”
Butterfly Run aims to raise awareness around pregnancy loss, child loss, pregnancy after loss, and infertility, to offer support and compassion for those who’ve experienced such losses, provide funds for BC Women’s Hospital and help honour the memory of the children.
“We don’t want anyone to feel alone,” Lockhart said.
For more information, visit https://www.butterflyrunvancouver.com/
People who want to donate bottles to support the Butterfly Run can drop bottles off at Return-It Express depots and use the kiosk to send the money to the Butterfly Run, using the event phone number, 778-899-3742.
Butterfly run organizers will be holding a silent auction from June 21-23rd. Anyone wishing to donate items for the auction can contact the organizers by phoning the above number or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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