Anam Cara launched a new initiative entitled ‘A Balloon to Remember’ in memory of the many children that have lost their lives throughout Ireland. The campaign aims to create awareness of the unique support that Anam Cara offers bereaved parents and to raise funds to extend these services to as many bereaved families as possible nationwide.
Launched in early 2008, Anam Cara is a national voluntary support group set up by parents who have themselves lost a child. Their aim is to provide support and understanding to families who have experienced the death of a son or daughter, regardless of their age or the circumstances of their death.
The idea of ‘A Balloon to Remember’ is to offer extended family, friends, colleagues and the wider community a chance to show, in their own private way, that they too remember and are thinking of the bereaved parents on the 2nd November “All Souls” traditionally a day on which we remember all our loved ones who have died.
Sharon Vard, CEO of Anam Cara commented “Every year in Ireland approximately 1,950 families lose a son or daughter”.
In the very short time since Anam Cara began, over 600 parents have been connected to the service in many different ways including its website with message forum, parent-to-parent meetings, family events and professional talks all provided to bereaved parents and families free of charge.
Grainne Quinn, also a founder of Anam Cara added, “Like all people, bereaved parents have varied needs and take support in different ways. For some there is great comfort in meeting face-to-face with other parents. Others prefer the 24-hour availability and the privacy of the website and message forum. Either way we can identify with others dealing with their own loss and know that we are not alone.”
If you have not experienced the death of a child, it can be hard to imagine the pain, loneliness and despair that comes with such a loss. By bringing together bereaved families to support and comfort each other Anam Cara plays a valuable role in helping these families carry on after the death of their child, and in time, for the family to live life around the loss.
You will be able to sponsor ‘A Balloon to Remember’ on line at www.anamcara.ie. This national campaign has been kindly supported by Bord Gais Energy, Centra supermarkets, McCabes Pharmacies, Eddie Rockets Diners and Crown Paints, and will run from the 1st October 2009 through to 2nd November 2009. On the 2nd November Anam Cara will launch these balloons sponsored for a loved one at Lloyd Park in Tullamore, Co Offaly.