A PATH NO ONE SHOULD WALK ALONE

Kim Lockhart and Laura Markle, co-chairs of the Butterfly Run Vancouver on their personal experiences of how they channeled loss into hope.

There’s still so much we don’t know about the complexities of grief.

We’ve seen a major shift in recent years towards women coming forward, sharing these lesser told stories. We’re finding strength in vulnerability, and not glazing over the darker parts of our journeys.

Christie Buono (our senior manager of Community Partnerships) asked Kim Lockhart and Laura Markle (co-chairs of the Butterfly Run Vancouver) a few questions about their experiences and why they chose to give back.

CB:  Thank you so much for taking the time to connect with me and share part of your story. To start – what first inspired you to partner with our Foundation?

KL: We know that BC Women’s Hospital is leading the way supporting women’s health in the Vancouver area, and throughout British Columbia. We wanted to do everything we could to support women’s reproductive journeys and make sure that anyone experiencing infertility, pregnancy or infant loss is fully supported and has access to as many resources as possible. 

LM: Many of our committee members have had personal experiences with BC Women’s Hospital and their Early Pregnancy Assessment Clinic and so it just made sense that we would contribute to these programs to support other women.

CB: And what would you say inspires you most about supporting your community? 

LM: I hope that through the Butterfly Run Vancouver that people who are grieving can connect with others who have had similar experiences. Infertility, pregnancy and infant loss can be so isolating and lonely. But this doesn’t have to be the case. There is nothing quite like the support from another parent who knows the journey, or who can share their story or offer advice through hard decisions. 

CB: Do you have a personal story you’d feel comfortable sharing?

KL: My son Wilder Jay Lockhart was stillborn on September 21, 2017 at 40 weeks and 5 days. He weighed 9lbs 10oz and he was perfect, with a full head of dark curly hair. At the time I didn’t know anyone who had lost a baby and I remember feeling like I was the only one in the world who had ever experienced such loss, and such pain. 

When a baby dies, there is still a birth story to tell and there are still so many special things a mother wants to share about their child that they love so deeply. The other mothers I connected with in the loss community, offered me such support and understanding, and they offered a safe place to share about my son and helped me navigate all the emotions and decisions. 

I am forever grateful to those mothers who made me feel like I wasn’t alone and that showed me such kindness and compassion. I hope that we too can help others navigate their loss, and bring together families who can help support one another.

CB: That’s a beautiful way to turn loss into hope. So what impact do you hope your contribution will have on families?

KL: I hope that by sharing our stories and bringing light to topics such as infertility, pregnancy and infant loss, that we can help reduce the stigma surrounding these issues. I hope that anyone that is grieving is able to share their own stories and doesn’t ever have to feel shame or loneliness. 

LM: Being a bereaved parent is not a path that anyone should have to walk alone. I hope that through the programs at BC Women’s Hospital the Butterfly Run Vancouver has supported, that more resources and supports are created to help the families needing it most.

CB: How has isolation impacted your connections to your community? How to think the virtual run will continue to engage with your community? 

KL: Being in self isolation I think for many has caused grief and a sense of loss. Everyone has things that have been cancelled or postponed due to COVID-19, and there is definitely an emotional toll that is taking on people. I think that our community has had to get creative with how we connect with one another, but also that there is a shared sense of being familiar with grief and loss — across all aspects of life.

LM:  We hope that by having a virtual run this year we will be able to connect with more people than ever before, because we are not limited to one geographical area.

CB:  If you were to bump into someone who was taking part in the virtual run this year, what would you say to them?

LM: We would ask them to share their story, and ask them how they came to learn about the Butterfly Run Vancouver. We would want to know if they were running or walking in memory of someone, and what their name was. As the run is virtual this year we would want to see our community connect online and love hearing from our participants. You can always message us on Instragram @butterflyrunvancouver

The Butterfly Run Vancouver is a memorial 5k/3k (virtual) run and walk supporting individuals and families in the greater Vancouver area who have experienced pregnancy loss, infant loss, or infertility. It aims to create awareness for the cause and raise funds for related programs and equipment supported by the BC Women’s Health Foundation. 

Being a bereaved parent is a path that no one should walk alone. Sign up for the 2020 Butterfly Run Vancouver so they don’t have to.

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BC Women’s Health Foundation is BC’s largest non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the full spectrum of women’s health. The information shared is intended to educate, inform, and point readers to credible sources. It is not intended to substitute professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of qualified healthcare professionals with any questions specific to your medical condition.