JENISON, Mich., — A year after losing her granddaughter, Linda Miller is on a mission to help moms who experience the pain of a stillbirth.
Brianna Lee Miller was born a stillborn on May 14, 2012.
“She was moving the day before, I felt her,” explained her mother Jessica Miller. “And then the next day, when I went for my appointment, she had passed…You don’t expect to leave without anything.”
As they dealt with their shock and grief, Jessica’s husband Brian thought to give her a teddy bear to hold as she left the hospital. The pink bear dubbed “Brianna Bear” has come to represent healing and hope for Miller.
“The bear doesn’t replace her by any means, but it’s nice to know that I have something to hold,” Jessica told FOX 17 News. “I think I hug it everyday.”
When Linda Miller say how much the bear helped her daughter-in-law deal with the pain of losing Brianna, she knew she wanted to help other moms who experience the same thing.
Linda quit her job in January and went to work launching the Brianna Lee Foundation. The newly formed non-profit aims to put a teddy bear in the arms of any mom faced with leaving the hospital alone after a stillbirth.
“If we can give them something to hold on to to help in that healing process, that’s the whole purpose of the foundation,” said Linda. “I would love this to be as big as the Susan G. Komen Foundation. I would love this to be in every hospital in the United States because every hospital has moms that go through this sadness.”
So far, the group has been able to purchase 100 teddy bears through donations. Linda said the first drop-off will be to Zeeland Hospital on May 14th, the day that Brianna would have been celebrating her first birthday.
“I truly believe that this bear will help every mom who goes through this,” said Jessica. “God has a plan and this is His plan for [Brianna]. She may not be here with us, but she’s helping still here on earth.”
For more information about the Brianna Lee Foundation, or to make a donation, click here.