More than 5,000 runners and walkers took part in the 2013 Shamrock Shuffle in West Chester Township Saturday. Each one of them came out for a reason, as many did so for one of the 50 charities that were participating in the annual event.
Melissa Benedict, president of the Community Foundation of West Chester, predicted the event will raise around $100,000, with $40,000 going back to the participating charities and the remaining amount going toward other charitable grants that are provided through the foundation.The charity that brought in the most runners/walkers was a new group, Lillian’s Leprechauns, which was created after Adam Woodward and Niki Larson, both of Maineville, lost their baby, Lillian, one day after she was born.
When the couple arrived at Bethesda North Hospital on Sept. 26, 2012, they weren’t expecting any complications with the birth. The following afternoon, while in labor, Larson had to be given an emergency C-section after her placenta had become detached, cutting off her unborn child’s oxygen supply.
Lillian was born Sept. 27 at 4:12 p.m. and had to be revived by hospital staff.
The doctor eventually took Lillian off life support, but surprisingly, she began to breathe on her own.
“She shocked the doctors,” said Woodward, who also has a 11-year-old son named Garrett. “They told us that she is making a liar out of us … it gave us hope.”
The family, however, would find out the next morning that her brain wasn’t fully functionally and that she wasn’t going to live much longer. Lillian passed away at 8:25 p.m. Sept. 28.
“What you see in the movies about a person being taken off life support is not anything compared to what you live,” Woodward said. “She was breathing on her for more than 17 hours.
“We are still in shock … Still to this day, you can’t believe it.”
Lillian’s death became an even harder reality when her funeral needed to planned. In additional to the extreme grief, there were financial obligations. She was buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Deerfield Township on Oct. 6.
While there, Woodward noticed grave sites for 57 babies. He even noticed one grave stone that had three names.
“What we hope to accomplish (with Lillian’s Leprechauns) is to bring awareness that there are families out there that lose newborns and infants and we would like to offer financial assistance for funeral expenses,” Woodward said.
“It was a shock that it happened to us and we just want to be able to pay it forward.”
Lillian’s Leprechauns is in its organizational stages. To contact them, go through the Community Foundation at 513-874-5450.