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Turning pain into purpose

Katie and her family presented a $15,000 check to Advocate Christ Medical Center to support families dealing with pregnancy loss and stillbirth.

Katie Wells was 35 weeks pregnant when she got the devastating news that her unborn daughter, Kelly Paige, no longer had a heartbeat. She was delivered stillborn at Advocate Christ Medical Center on July 2, 2019.

“We were caught completely by surprise. I’m young and healthy. We already had a son; there weren’t any issues or complications with either pregnancy,” said Katie. “I didn’t understand how this could have happened to us.”

While grieving their unexpected loss, Katie and her husband were grateful for the support they received from family, friends and their care team at Advocate Christ.

“There are so many decisions to make like whether to take photos and what kind of service to have. The staff really helped us cope when we were at a loss about what to do – when we were lost.”

Katie learned that stillbirth was not as uncommon as she had thought. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 24,000 babies are stillborn each year in the U.S.

“Nobody talks about it. So, my husband and I started thinking about how we might raise awareness,” she explained. “We wanted to take our pain and turn it into a purpose – to help other families who experience the same kind of loss.”

They initially wanted to hold a fundraising event, but because of the pandemic, they switched to a virtual format.

“We were able to raise $15,000 through the Kelly Paige Wells Perinatal Fund to support families that suffer pregnancy loss.”

Katie is inspired by the generosity of her family, friends and support network.

“I’m so grateful we were able to raise our voices and bring more awareness to this cause. So many friends and coworkers have had similar experiences,” she shared. “It seems like we’ve helped start an important conversation with this community of families like ours.”

Moving forward

Katie and her husband now have two sons. Benny is 3 years old; Jimmy is 1. Kelly will always be in their hearts.

“I can’t believe it’s been two years already. Your world kind of stops and moves in slow motion with a loss like that,” said Katie. “I’m just so happy that Kelly’s life is making a positive impact. Her presence is felt so strongly to this day.”

You can support families like Katie’s by making a gift here. To learn more, please contact Liz Freyer at elizabeth.freyer@aah.org.