by Jan Gunter
Today we spoke with a news crew about how we help families in their darkest days. Since the early 1990’s we have been providing burial assistance funds and bereavement support groups for families when they have lost a child. The Healing Hearts program is a safety net for families because no one ever plans for such things.
Sarah and Chris from Fox 7 News came to the Ronald McDonald House today to talk with our CEO, Kent Burress, and also to Fayruz Benyousef who benefited from our bereavement support program when she and her husband lost their precious Baby Zayna four years ago.
Fayruz talked about how much the bereavement support group meant to her family. She sat at a table in the dining room and explained that she learned it’s not about getting over the loss of your child because that’s something that will never happen. Rather, it’s about living with the experience and learning to talk about it – even celebrate the gift of the child’s life.
We have a Remembrance Garden near the playground at the Ronald McDonald House where children’s names are engraved on small river rocks. Families come back to look at their child’s rock and look at other children’s rocks throughout the garden. It’s comforting to know that their children are among others.
We’ve helped well over 1000 families and have spent more than $600,000 providing burial assistance funds and bereavement support groups in the last 20 years. It’s stunning to know that this has been quietly going on in the background in Austin for all these years and for all these families. One child at a time.
I’m so proud to work for an organization that not only supports families when things go well but also supports families when the worst happens.
The full story will air on Fox 7 next week – most likely in the 9 p.m. news hour. I hope you can see it. It’s a moving tribute to the visionary leaders who saw the need years ago and the leaders who have prioritized it every single year since.