Megan Berck lost her daughter six years ago, but not a day goes by that she doesn’t think of her.
Saturday moms, dads, siblings, families, relatives and friends will come together for , which allows people just like Berck to remember children who died too soon.
“This is just a very moving event and a way for us to remind our family and friends that this is still something that we live with no matter how many years have passed,” Berck, the walk’s coordinator, said.
The walk was started in 2005 by four women who had come together at the Edward Hospital chapter of the SHARE Program, a national and local organization that provides support for those who have experienced the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth and early infant death. The women wanted to do something positive with their grief and they saw the walk as a positive outlet, Berck said.
That first walk was so successful that is has continued every year since, Berck said. This year the theme is “Every Passing Life Leaves Something Beautiful Behind.” Berck said the hope is that participants will be able to find how their lives have been positively impacted by their circumstances, which she said may not be easy to do.
Over the last six years the group has raised about $113,000 from the walks and other fundraisers including bake sales, Berck said. The group is hoping to raise more than $13,000 this year.
The walk will benefit the Foundation’s SHARE Program and the , which was unveiled in June 2010.
Each year, 1 out of every 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage, 26,000 children die as a result of stillbirth in the United States and another 19,000 children succumb to early infant death, according to Edward Hospital. Infant loss doesn’t discriminate, Berck said.
Last year the walk had its largest turnout, she said. Roughly 400 people are expected at the event this year, but she said it is not uncommon for more people to turn up on the morning of the walk.
The walk has become a tradition for many families, she said.
“It is a very powerful event and we are all there to remember our children,” Berck said.
The event includes a memorial service, a speaker, music and the walk. But, one of the most moving parts of the service includes a reading of the names of the children who died, she said.
The printed program from the service includes about 130 baby names (names were still being added). Those who arrive the morning of the event and want to participate will also have their baby’s name read, she said.
Participants get more out of the event than just honoring their child's memory, she said, adding that those who attend find a community of support and understanding.
“No two stories are alike, but we are dealing with the same emotions on a certain, similar level, but its one of those things that until you’ve been through it or know someone who has been through it, you don’t understand,” Berck said. “Bringing a life into the world and having that baby being born healthy and pink and crying, that is a miraculous thing and people take that for granted. … Having to plan a funeral when you should be building a nursery, it’s heartbreaking.”
Registration for the Walk begins at 8:30 a.m., a memorial service featuring music, poetry and a reading of baby names will be held at 9:30 a.m. A Walk to Remember will start at 10:15 a.m., which is a 2-mile, leisurely walk along the Naperville Riverwalk.