Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
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|Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day|
|Next time||15 October 2016|
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is a day of remembrance for pregnancy loss and infant death, which includes but is not limited to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or the death of a newborn. It is observed annually in the United States and Canada and, in recent years, in the United Kingdom and in the Australian States of Western Australia, New South Wales and in Italy on October 15.
The day is observed with remembrance ceremonies and candle-lighting vigils, concluding with the International Wave of Light, a worldwide lighting of candles at 7:00 p.m.
The Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Movement began in the United States in 1987. On October 25, 1988, American President Ronald Reagan designated the entire month of October 1988 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. The movement was organized by leaders, Sherokee Ilse, Susan Erling, and Ronda Wintheiser in the nonprofit organization the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Center, Wayzata, Minnesota. Prior to computers, they phoned and wrote letters inviting groups and individuals from around the US to join them in a letter writing campaign to Congress. Many organizations joined in the campaign, a few include: RTS, SHARE, Empty Arms, Hand of CA, Unite, MEND and others. To celebrate the success, once the proclamation was signed by President Reagan, hundreds of bereaved families traveled to Washington, D.C. to march on the National Mall (spring of 1989)carrying 500 baby quilts with thousands of babies names displayed. It was followed by the first Memorial Service for babies who died in pregnancy or shortly after was held on the Capital Steps, led by a team of special nurses from Oklahoma City (Connie and Linda).
The October 15th Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (PAILRD) Campaign began in 2002 as an American movement started by Robyn Bear, Lisa Brown, and Tammy Novak. Together, they petitioned the federal government, as well as the governors of each of the 50 states, and by October 15, 2002 (the first observance of PAILRD), 20 states had signed proclamations recognizing the date as such. As a result of the American campaign effort, Concurrent Resolution 222, Supporting the goals and ideals of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day was passed in the House of Representatives on September 28, 2006. To date, all 50 American states have yearly proclamations, with Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Rhode Island, and South Dakota adopting permanent proclamations.
The Director of the Canadian Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Awareness and Remembrance Campaign, Terra-Lynn Coggan, joined the American movement in September 2004 and took on the role as the Canadian Director for October 15 Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and began the Canadian Campaign. The Organizer of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness "A Walk To Remember" in Vernon, B.C., Jennifer Patrick started her fundraiser campaign in October 2004 after the stillbirth of her son Connor. In October 2005 Patrick worked with the Attorney General to help get a Proclamation approved. In 2012 and 2013 British Columbia proclaimed October 15 again as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.
On October 12, 2005, when New Brunswick recognized October 15 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, Coggan resigned as the Canadian Director for the American Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Campaign and independently launched The Canadian Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Awareness and Remembrance Campaigns. Since New Brunswick’s Declaration of October 15, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day the province of Nova Scotia has followed suit with a similar declaration. The provinces of Ontario and Manitoba are currently considering a declaration.
The campaign for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in Australia began in May 2008 when Nicole Ballinger of the State of New South Wales (NSW) approached her State and Federal MPs to request their help in establishing this Day. Although aiming for a nationwide declaration, Ballinger took this two-pronged approach as she had been advised that federal motions are often passed once they are first passed at the State level. Guided by her MPs, Joanna Gash (Federal) and Shelley Hancock (State), Ballinger lobbied both levels of government beginning in 2008: utilizing petitions, the internet and social media, and repeated correspondence with Australian Prime Ministers, NSW Premiers, Health Ministers, Senators and other MPs. In support, Gash and Hancock continued to present this motion in parliament at the State and Federal levels.
On October 14, 2011, Hancock and NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner announced the official declaration of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in NSW. To date, Ballinger continues to lobby the Australian government, with the support of Gash, to get Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day officially declared across Australia.
The campaign for recognition of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in Western Australia began in 2012 by John and Kate De'Laney. However it was a letter that Mrs De'Laney penned, in September 2013,to Premier Colin Barnett which brought Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day to his attention. Mr and Mrs De'Laney then began working with the Honorable Donna Faragher, Parliamentary Secretary to have the day formally recognized.
On October 15, 2014, the Western Australian State Government passed a bipartisan agreement to officially recognize Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. In the motion put before the Legislative Council Premier Colin Barnett said "Through this remembrance day we hope to create a greater awareness in the community about the immeasurable impact that pregnancy and early infancy loss has on so many women, their partners and families within our community. We hope that through the recognition of their loss and the subsequent pain endured, this remembrance day can play a small part in enabling families to find a way forward in their grieving, and in time heal the deep wound of loss. Most importantly, this remembrance day acknowledges that these babies were lovingly anticipated and remain forever in their parents’ hearts." 
International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
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Contrary to the popular belief that Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is internationally legislated and observed as an international day of remembrance, this is not the case.
Through the legislative campaigns of individuals world wide Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is becoming an international day of observation. Germany and most other non-English speaking countries do not observe this day.
List of PILR Day Campaigns
American federal campaign
As a result of the American campaign effort, Concurrent Resolution 222, supporting the goals and ideals of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, was passed in the House of Representatives on September 28, 2006. House Concurrent Resolution 222 proclaims October 15 of each year to be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in the United States.
Canadian federal campaign
The Canadian Foundation for October 15, also known as the CFO is the official foundation of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day Canada. The CFO is leading the federal campaign to recognize October 15 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day Canada.
The goal of the CFO is to obtain an official day of remembrance, October 15 of each year, to ensure that all Canadian families who experience the loss of a child during pregnancy or shortly after birth are given the opportunity to acknowledge their loss, seek support, and honor their child’s memory in an understanding and supportive atmosphere.
The CFO works to promote national and international pregnancy loss and infant death awareness, remembrance, and support enabling the larger community the knowledge and skills required to assist and meet the needs of families who experience pregnancy loss and infant death.
New Brunswick was the first province in Canada to officially recognize October 15 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
Through the lobbying efforts of Terra-Lynn Coggan, a Saint John resident with the assistance of Saint John-Champlain MLA Roly MacIntyre, on October 15, 2005, New Brunswick Minister of Health and Wellness, Hon. Elvy Robichaud declared October 15 to be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day across the province, saying that "Miscarriage and infant death are a source of grief, often silent, for mothers, fathers, siblings and grandparents."
He called on provincial residents to help promote "support, education and awareness for grieving parents who have lost infants during pregnancy or shortly after birth.
The first celebration of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in Italy took place in 2007 by initiative of CiaoLapo Onlus charity for perinatal loss support. Since then, several local celebrations, as well as national meetings, are hold every year on October 15 in many Italian towns. Through the lobbying efforts of CiaoLapo Onlus, on November 26, 2013 a press conference for the presentation of a bill for the official recognition of the day by the Italian state took place in Rome at the Chamber of Deputies, which was attended by politicians Aldo Di Biagio (Senate) and Matteo Biffoni (House) together with Claudia Ravaldi and Alfredo Vannacci of CiaoLapo, promoters of this initiative.
International Wave of Light
The International Wave of Light invites participants from around the world to light a candle in honor of PAILRD, starting at 1900 hours on October 15 in their respective time zones, and to leave the candle burning for at least an hour. The result is a continuous chain of light spanning the globe for a 24-hour period in honor and remembrance of the children who die during pregnancy or shortly after birth.
- "Day Set Aside to Remember Lost Children" (Press release). Liberal Party of Australia, New South Wales.
- Reagan, Ronald (1988-10-25). "Proclamation 5890 -- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988". Ronald Reagan Presidential Library. Retrieved 2009-09-19.
- UNITED STATES, SENATE (2006-09-28). "H. CON. RES. 222 Supporting the goals and ideals of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day." (PDF). THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES. Retrieved 2009-08-21.
- "Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day". october15.ca. April 19, 2014.
- "Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day". New South Wales, Australia Hansard. October 23, 2008.
- "Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day". New South Wales, Australia Hansard. October 22, 2009.
- "Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day". OpenAustralia.org. February 22, 2010.
- "Remembrance day for lost babies". The West.
- "WA Hansard" (PDF). Western Australian State Government.
- Robichaud, Elvy. Declaration by Hon. Elvy Robichaud, Minister, Health and Wellness: New Brunswick Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. October 2005. New Brunswick Department of Health and Wellness.
- "History of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month in the World » Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness". www.babyloss.info. Retrieved 2015-09-08.
- "Proposta di legge » Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness". www.babyloss.info. Retrieved 2015-09-08.