ST. PETERSBURG -- No parent should have to bury their child.
But every day. Every minute. A family has too.
And every family grieves differently. Some need more time to say goodbye.
Thanks to a first-of-its-kind device making its way to a local hospital, families can spend more time saying goodbye to their loved ones.
“February 20, 2014, she was born and five days after birth she was born with a genetic condition known as Trisomy 18,” says Crystal Hopkins, Everly’s mom.
Only 10% of children born with that condition survive their first birthday. Everly didn’t make it that far.
“She was 11-months-old when she passed away in my arms,” says Hopkins.
When Everly passed away her family was in Atlanta, they weren’t ready to say goodbye so they had to place her body on a bag of ice to bring her home. They say if she passed in a hospital, the options were not much better. Babies are taken back and forth from the morgue for families who need more time.
“We weren’t ready to say goodbye yet,” says Hopkins.
Since Everly’s death, her mom Crystal has started a foundation, called Everly’s angels. They raise money in hopes to donate a cuddle cot to Bay Area hospitals. A cuddle cot costs around $3,000 and is a machine that hooks up to a cooling pad that can be placed underneath a baby’s bed or blanket that allows them to stay with the family without being taken away as long as 5 days.
“With having a cuddle cot, it allows families here to have extended time they hadn’t have before,” says Hopkins.
The first cuddle cot was donated Wednesday to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
“It hooks up to these tubes and the mat lays underneath child and allows the child to stay cool so the natural process that occurs after death doesn’t occur as quickly,” says Kristin Maier, Director of the Child Life Department at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.
It’s the first of its kind for any Bay Area hospital and on this cuddle cot, the name is Everly Hopkins.
For more information on Everly’s Angels, CLICK HERE.