Hometown Hero: Gone, but not forgotten - FOX 13 News

Hometown Hero: Gone, but not forgotten

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BRANDON (FOX 13) -

Hundreds of names are etched in stone at Brandon Regional Hospital, each girl and boy, a tiny angel, gone much too soon. Adam's Garden is a place of remembrance for stillbirths, miscarriages and newborn deaths.

"When you come out to this garden and you see your baby's name, it validates that life," said Laurie Van Damme, a nurse at Brandon Regional Hospital.

Van Damme is the reason for that validation. She came up with Adam's Garden in 2008 after watching a family grieve after losing their son Adam.

"Something really stood out, and I cried day and night for that family. I just felt like there has to be something more we can do," she said.

She's helping women like Kayla Colon-Escobar, who was 8 and a half months pregnant when she lost her son, Lucas. She arrived at Brandon Regional Hospital on March 29 after her baby's heart stopped beating and in the aftermath had so many questions.

"Why? That’s the major question. Why did this happen? Why isn't he here?" Colon-Escobar said.

While the doctors and nurses don't have that answer, the hospital's bereavement program has helped Colon-Escobar and her family heal. After an emergency C-section, she was able to spend time with Lucas while the nursing staff captured their final moments together.

"We capture everything that happens in the room. What's taking place is the only time this family is going to have with their child," Van Damme said.

Colon-Escobar kept her son for two days while she was at Brandon Regional Hospital. She realizes that may sound odd to some people, but she needed that time to build memories with Lucas.

"You're going to want to know what he looked like, did he look like me or did he look like his father? What color was his hair," Colon-Escobar said.

Her short time with Lucas will never fade. Colon-Escobar now has hundreds of pictures of her son, and thanks to Adam's Garden, his name is memorialized forever.

"To come here and be able to look at his name and know that he's recognized he was here, he is a part of this world, even though he was taken," Colon-Escobar said.

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