A new statue now stands in the Nancy Orr Healing Garden at Sparks Regional Medical Center to memorialize babies who were lost too soon.
It was founded in memory of Connor Joshua Padgett, an infant who was stillborn in January 2011. His parents spoke highly of the compassionate care they received at Sparks and wanted to find a way to honor their son and support others in their situation.
“Josh and Whitney wanted to give back to help others who had undergone such a great loss, but did not know how to go about it,” said Shirley Harrod, Manager of the Pastoral Care Department. “After our first meeting, we all felt like this was ideal for Sparks. This is what I had been praying about.”
Harrod and Carla Thibodeaux, Director of Patient Experience/Volunteer Services, along with the Padgetts formed a local chapter of the Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Group, Inc., called “Heaven’s Babies.” They reached out to Watkins Monuments in Van Buren to order the statue.
“We saw this particular cherub with its little chubby legs hanging over the pedestal, and fell in love with it,” Harrod said.
The money was donated for the marble angel last spring. The angel was created in India and took almost a year to complete. Bronze plaques can be placed on the statue to remember other babies and toddlers who have died.
The Heaven’s Babies Grief Support Group meets from 6-7:30 p.m., on the second Thursday of each month at the Donald W. Reynolds Cancer House near Creekmore Park. Their mission is to continue to increase public awareness and to continue to educate staff and the community in the care of parents who have experienced the loss of their child.