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Parents Start Nonprofit to Help Grieving Families Pay Hospital Bills

by Lisa René LeClair

Childbirth is one of the happiest moments a couple will ever experience together. Sadly, it can also end tragically, as was the case with Rebekka and Randy Hauskins. On July 6, 2010, the new parents were forced to say goodbye to their second daughter, Hayden, after she entered the world stillborn at 32 weeks of gestation. Their daughter, Madison, was 5 years old at the time.

The $1,000 delivery bill that came next was a painful reminder of what could have been. For months, Randy made payments to the hospital—$77 a month, to be exact—until the final cost had been paid in full.

"It was something he had to consciously write a check for every month—no matter if it was a year later," Rebekkah told Today.com. "He still was writing that check, and it hurt every time."

But instead of ending their story on a sad note, the couple chose to turn their grief into a positive solution for others by helping parents who are facing the same obstacle.

"You just feel like there has to be something you can do to help after a loss," Rebekkah added. "It wasn't until we had gotten our delivery bill that it struck me to take away that expense. After losing a child, there's nothing anybody can say to you that can make it better—there's nothing anybody can do to change the situation, but the financial burden can be changed."

With the help of friends and family, the Hauskins put together an organization that would do that very thing. Hayden's Helping Hands is a nonprofit foundation that supports Oregon and Washington families in the midst of tragedy by paying for a portion or all of their hospital delivery medical expenses.

"We came up with the basis to pay $1,000 towards every delivery bill for stillborn babies, because our bill was $1,000," Rebekkah told the outlet, adding that families hear about the organization from hospitals, funeral homes and grief counseling groups, then complete a simple online application, often seeing their delivery bill paid within one week after submission.

Since then, Hayden's Helping Hands has paid 43 delivery bills for families of stillborn babies, ranging from 20 to 41 weeks' gestation. Looking back now, Rebekka admits, "You don't ever forget—it just gets a little bit easier every day." Five years later, her family welcomed Josie, their third daughter and the rainbow baby that brought healing to all of their lives.

"I didn't want Hayden's life to be in vain," said the Oregon mom. "I didn't want the loss to be for nothing or to not be able to say to another mom, 'You can do this, You can move forward.' Every family that we help is adding to Hayden's legacy."

It takes a lot of strength and courage to get through the death of a child. It’s nice to know there are people who understand what you are going through and eager to help along the way.

Photos via the Hauskins family/Hayden's Helping Hands

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