August 24, 2015 - 8:00 PM
WEST KELOWNA – What started as an idea to bring to Kelowna General Hospital a device which gives parents of stillborn children a few extra days with their child will now help families across the entire Thompson-Okanagan.
In less than three months West Kelowna resident Kristin Esmail has raised enough money to buy four Cuddle Cots, devices that looks like a bassinette but are designed to keep a body cool and give grieving parents more time with their child.
The devices, which are already popular in the U.K., are a relatively new concept in North America. They cost roughly $3,500 each, and now thanks to Esmail, the cities of Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton and Kamloops will soon each have their own.
“Here in the Okanagan if your baby passes away before they are born they give you all the time you want with him,” she says. “But as you can imagine, if they’re not kept cool their bodies start to change quickly. It’s really hard on the parents to have to see their child go through those changes.”
Esmail, who lost her own baby after 39 weeks in utero, says the time she had with the body allowed her to process the loss and ultimately move on.
“It was an experience that meant so much to me.”
Esmail made it her mission to first raise enough money to bring cots to the three largest cities in the Okanagan, but says after seeing the response from the community decided to hold an online silent auction to bring one more to Kamloops.
In just two and a half months she has raised more than $14,000.
“It feels incredible,” she says. “Our community is amazing.”
She plans to deliver the cheque to Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops next week.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015