The loss of an infant is always a trying time for all those involved. As a way to ease the pain, a number of individuals came together with the idea to create kits for grieving families through the Lilly Pad Project. These kits, including homemade outfits for the infant, blankets and special trinkets, were created on a donation basis and were given free of charge to Castleview Hospital.
Natalie Olsen suffered the stillbirth of a baby girl named Lilly in 2009. In 2015, Olsen’s brother and sister-in-law also delivered a stillborn baby. Olsen, who has a sewing business and alters wedding dresses, prom dresses and the like, requested creating a burial dress for her niece. The dress was made out of her sister-in-law’s wedding dress.
While Olsen reflects on the creation of the dress being very difficult, she also stated that it gave her closure on losing her own baby. Upon discussion with another sister-in-law that works at the hospital, she discovered that grieving kits for newborns were not available.
A small number of these kits, including a burial outfit, two blankets (one to keep and one to bury with the infant), stuffed animals (one to keep and one to bury) for the boys and jewelry kits (one to keep and one to bury) for the girls, were then given. The purpose of the dual blankets, bears and jewelry is for the family to hold on to and remember in tough times.
Olsen stated that the kits did not last long. In May of this year, Olsen’s son, Levi, was chosen as the Emery High Social Science Sterling Scholar. Levi’s friend, Deegan Minchey, was also chosen as the Family and Consumer Science Sterling Scholar. As part of their scholarly duties, Levi and Minchey began to work hard on the kit project to deliver more to the hospital. Levi began making outfits while Minchey worked hard on the blankets.
From there, fellow sterling scholars Rebecca Carroll and Ethan Anderson, Computer Tech Sterling Scholar and Vocal Performance Sterling Scholar, respectively, joined the project. Carroll gathered jewelry for the kits while Anderson helped with the other odds and ends. The students worked tirelessly on the project and contributed much of their free time to make the kits a possibility.
Olsen’s nephew, Edward Olsen, also happened to looking for an Eagle Scout Project and volunteered to create wooden keepsake boxes for the families. Magnuson Lumber donated the lumber for these boxes. Also donated by members of the community were 37 wedding dresses for the burial dresses, jewelry, stuffed animals as well as monetary donations.
Since May, five kits have been given to grieving families. All that are a part of the project have been affected by infant loss in some way. The ultimate goal for the project was to create 24 kits, 12 boys and 12 girls, but it was stated that the goal was easily tripled with hard work and effort.