The Share group at HSHS St. Joseph’s in Breese with the hospital Auxiliary will host a Walk for Remembrance and Hope Saturday, Oct. 7, at Germantown’s Schoendienst Park.
Share, which generally meets the second Tuesday of each month in the hospital Board Room, is for parents and families who have lost a child.
Karen Gebke, host of the group with husband Scott, said the Oct. 7 walk has several goals.
“First,” she said, “the walk is to raise awareness and remember those touched by the death of a baby or infant.”
With that purpose in mind, participants can include their baby’s name(s) on the tee-shirts to be distributed that day and in the program and balloon launch. Deadline to be included is Friday, Sept. 1.
Also, proceeds from the walk will go toward an Angel of Hope statue for the hospital campus.
The statue was first depicted in Richard Paul Evans’ novel, “The Christmas Box,” in which an elderly woman mourns her deceased daughter by visiting her grave that is marked by an Angel of Hope statue.
Currently there are about 100 similar statues nationwide with the most recent in St. Charles, Mo.
“The Angel of Hope statue gives hope to parents who have endured the death of a child,” said Karen Gebke, noting it may take several years and walks to fund the memorial.
“It will be a symbol of hope, a place to reflect, a place of healing and a special place for people to grieve,” she said. “This Angel will be a symbol that will represent and honor our children.”
On Oct. 7, registration will open at 9 a.m. with a brief memorial service and balloon release at 10 a.m. followed by the walk around the park. Father Jim Buerster of St. Boniface in Germantown and St. Cecilia in Bartelso will give the keynote address.
The event will be held rain or shine although organizers have the option of cancelling in case of weather or other emergency.
Cost is $20 for adults or $10 for youth for a tee-shirt, $25 for an adult sweatshirt, $30 for an adult hooded sweatshirt and $9 for a Share bear. Cash or checks only – debit or credit cards cannot be accepted – and checks should be made payable to St. Joseph’s Hospital Auxiliary, in care of the Share program.
Donations will also be accepted from businesses and individuals interested in supporting the cause and registration can also be completed the day of the walk.
The Auxiliary has a history of supporting the Share program, said hospital Volunteer Services Director Judy Schrage. The organization underwrote Karen and Scott Gebke’s training, provides funding for resources and supplies clothing and swaddling clothes to families who have lost an infant.
“This is one of the Auxiliary’s goals,” Schrage said. “It is part of our mission.”
For more information and registration forms, including a participation waiver, call Karen Gebke at 709-2878, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Share St. Joseph’s Walk for Remembrance & Hope Facebook page.