The Knox County Health Department and several community partners are holding their fifth observation of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day from 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 14 at Lakeshore Park’s Marble Hall. A national observation, this day was created to provide support to and awareness of those who have lost an infant or pregnancy.
Due to COVID-19 concerns, there will not be a formal, in-person program this year. Instead, parents, family members and friends are invited to drive through and view a special display remembering babies lost.
“In our work to prevent infant loss, we’ve seen a need for more community support for the families who have experienced this tragedy,” said KCHD Program Manager Katie Larsen. “Our hope is to provide a time for these families to honor and remember their babies, however short their lives may have been.”
All those who have been touched by this heartbreaking loss are encouraged to attend. Every family will receive a gift, including a candle and luminary to place at their home in remembrance of their baby.
The Oct. 14 event is made possible by support from Project Gabriel, the University of Tennessee Medical Center, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and the East Tennessee Regional Health Office.
KCHD also encourages families to participate in the Wave of Light that will take place across the world in memory of these losses. To do this, please safely place a candle or luminary in a place that is visible outside your home or in a window at 7 p.m. on Friday, October 15. If you wish, you may send a picture of your luminary to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Birth defects were the leading cause of infant death in Knox County from 2015-2019, followed by preterm birth/low birthweight and accidents (unintentional injuries). In Knox County, 10.1 percent of births from 2016-2019 were premature. Additionally, as many as 25 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. While some causes of infant loss and prematurity are preventable, others are not or the cause is unknown.
To reserve your candle and luminary at the drive-through event please register at www.utmedicalcenter.org/events. For more information, please call the Knox County Health Department at 865-215-5170.