Families honor children who passed away through "Walk to Remember"

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Around 100 Alaskans met at Providence Alaska Medical Center on Saturday for The Walk to Remember.

It's an annual event hosted by The Children's Hospital at Providence, Bereavement Council, Hospice of Anchorage and the Forget Me Not Grief Program.

Organizers said the walk is meant to help grieving families find comfort in others who have also experienced the loss of children.

Dina Banez, a registered nurse who is also a bereavement coordinator for Providence Alaska Medical Center, said the grieving process lasts a lifetime for many.

"The grieving process never ends, it's a lifetime and you go through different stages and can go backwards, there's no right way and no wrong way to do it, it's just where you're at in that point in time," Banez said.

Jennifer Harmon said this is her fourth or fifth year attending the event to honor two of her children.

"My son Owen died in 2010 suddenly after a febrile seizure at the age of 1 and then last summer we had a little baby that passed away at the 4 month mark of my pregnancy, his name was Patrick," Harmon said.

After Owen's death, Harmon said she started Owen's Milk Money, a memorial fund to help nursing mothers.

The memorial fund will hold a fundraiser "The Milk Run" on August 26th.

Families walked from the hospital to University Lake where a ceremony of remembrance was held.

While in previous years, balloons were released, this year the group sent children's names on dissolvable paper into the lake.

"I feel a lot of empathy and I also feel relieved to know that I'm not alone and it's not a club that I'd wish on anyone, but I'm glad there is support and I think it's really important for grieving parents especially because not everybody can understand that hole that is left in your heart," Harmon said.

Anyone in need of help through the grieving process can contact Providence Bereavement Council at 212-3344.

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