Big strides made for 2018 Baby Steps walk

by Sylene Argent

On Saturday, around 85 participants and 15 volunteers showed support to the annual Essex Baby Steps-A Walk to Remember event, which raised awareness about pregnancy and infant loss.

Participants either walked 2KMs or 5KMs to show support and raise awareness for the cause.

  Patti Harrison, the Essex Baby Steps-A Walk to Remember President, said the walk-a-thon, which began from the Essex Centre Sports Complex, was held during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and nearing October 15, which is recognized as the official awareness day in Canada and the US, amongst other countries.

  Harrison said in 1988, then US President Ronald Reagan began the awareness month, noting there were labels for individuals who had lost a spouse or for children who lost their parents. There is not, however, a label for parents who have lost a child. She also noted that one in four pregnancies do not survive.

  Funds collected during the 2018 Essex Baby Steps-A Walk to Remember will be used to help open the Baby Steps Pregnancy and Infant Loss Outreach Centre in Windsor. It is hoped the centre will provide group and one-on-one therapy, in addition to recreational and relaxation classes. It is hoped the centre will be open by next spring.

  Those who would like to donate to the outreach centre can do so by logging onto the walk’s website, to get contact information. A new website for the outreach centre will eventually be made.  

  A portion of the walk’s proceeds will also be forwarded to provide a bit of financial support to Baby’s Breath Canada, a national foundation focused on supporting families and encouraging research aimed at reducing all sudden and unexpected infant deaths, including stillbirths.

  Lori Hickey of Windsor is the Vice Chairperson of Baby’s Breath Canada. She was a special guest speaker at Saturday’s walk. In 2003, she lost her son Kale to SIDS when he was just three months old. She got involved with the organization quickly, and now helps others going through similar experiences.

  “I find it healing, talking about him. I also feel like I am honouring him,” she said.

  For more information about Baby’s Breath Canada, log onto

  BJ, Harrison’s husband, said they began the Essex Baby Steps Walk in 2017 after their own experiences with pregnancy loss; the couple noticed there was not a whole lot of support for those who experienced infant and pregnancy loss, and they wanted to change that.

  To carry on the remembrance, a Wave of Light candlelight vigil was held on October 15 at Holy Name of Jesus Church’s Prayer Garden.