After losing their son at birth in 2009, Jamie and William “Andy” Anderson took home ceramic casts of his hands and feet, a lock of hair and a bead bracelet that spelled his name, Liam George.
Now the Oak Grove couple are helping other parents cope with miscarriage and stillbirth by making similar care packages and delivering them to Kansas City-area hospitals.
Since sharing their story with The Star last week, the Andersons have raised more than $2,185 for their project, which they named Liam’s Gift. They had previously raised $1,690 over three months using the website GoFundMe.
“It’s definitely been overwhelming,” says Andy, an officer with the Oak Grove Police Department.
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Donations range from $10 to $1,000. Many who gave money said they have had their own stillbirths, which afflict one out of every 160 pregnancies in the United States.
A woman who gave $100 said her son was born stillborn at 39 weeks. Another donor said she lost her baby 13 years ago.
“I went home with a small care package,” she wrote. “I would have loved more mementos, but I am grateful I have some.”
A woman who gave $20 to Liam’s Gift shared that her best friend had recently lost his 5-month-old son. “I wish he had one of these,” she wrote. “Amazing cause.”
The Andersons plan to use the money for more care packages, which cost about $100 each. Andy says that they’re working with a supplier to get discounted ceramic cast kits and that Faith Community Church in Oak Grove has offered to help make baby blankets. The couple are also looking into getting 501(c)3 nonprofit status for Liam’s Gift.
The couple have received more than 500 messages since The Star story was published.
Andy says one mom emailed to say that although she couldn’t afford to donate, reading the Andersons’ story had helped her cope with the loss of her baby.
“It feels good to talk about it,” she wrote.
To donate to Liam’s Gift, go to gofundme.com/liamsgift. Donors can also mail checks to the Oak Grove Police Department (c/o Officer Anderson), 1903 S. Broadway, Oak Grove, MO 64075.