Formed in 2013, after experiencing infant loss themselves and realizing the lack of resources for families who were going through a similar situation, Karen Gilkyson and Amanda Lawrence formed the Tiny Hands of Hope Society. Their intent at the time was to focus on helping families that have suffered from all types of infant loss, including pregnancy loss, neonatal loss, stillbirth, SIDS and infant death up to the age of 24 months, and provide centralized bereavement group support to those in need.
After being entrenched in the organization for a few of years they became aware that many families didn’t feel like they had a place to honour the children of all ages they had lost. Furthermore, many also had living children and wanted a place where they could find solace and reflection with both. Through this awareness the idea of creating a children’s memorial garden was struck and a fund was started with the Community Foundation in 2018 with support from the City of Grande Prairie.
Fast forward to 2021, the garden’s design is complete and ready to be erected in spring 2022. The garden will be located next to the new Grande Prairie Regional Hospital in Maskwoteh Park in the Bear Creek trails off the Highway 43 Bypass and 108 Street. It will feature many interactive monuments including oversized teddy bears and geese, a gazebo and blossoming trees. The trees hold a special significance, blossoming trees symbolize a ‘Short Beautiful Life’ as their blossoming season is short and early in the season as is representative of the precious lives that touched the hearts of those families who experienced infant loss.
The Tiny Hands of Hope Society notes that the fundraising goal is $350,000 and thus far have raised just about half the funds. Along with this, some community organizations have reached out offering gift in kind services. With the ground-breaking set to begin in spring of 2022, Gilkyson adds that they hope to proceed with phases one and two of the total three phases with the funding they have and appreciate the continued support as they strive to raise the full funding.
By holding the funds within the Community Foundation, the Tiny Hands of Hope Society knew that donations given would receive a charitable tax receipt, the Foundation would manage the administration of the donations received for as long as it took to raise the necessary funds, and once ready, the Tiny Hands of Hope Society will receive the funds via the City of Grande Prairie to construct the children’s memorial garden.
You can make a difference in our community – not only for today but forever. When you make a donation to the Tiny Hands of Hope Fund, that gift will be distributed to support the building of the community garden. Donations can be made online here – https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/39488 or by calling the Community Foundation at (780) 538-2820.