Couple donates CuddleCot to give grieving families the gift of time

Todd and Jackie Campbell donate a CuddleCot to Sentara RMH Medical Center in honor of their son, Gideon | Photo: WHSV
Todd and Jackie Campbell donate a CuddleCot to Sentara RMH Medical Center in honor of their son, Gideon | Photo: WHSV(WHSV)
Published: Dec. 19, 2019 at 7:13 AM EST
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Sentara RMH was the most recent hospital in Virginia to receive a CuddleCot – a cooling device that goes in a bassinet or Moses basket for babies who have died – which allows more time for families to say goodbye.

Tood and Jackie Campbell are from Timberville, and their son, Gideon, was stillborn in February. They only had six hours to meet and say goodbye to him.

Throughout Jackie's 36 hours of labor, in which she already knew they had lost baby Gideon, someone told them about a CuddleCot. They were told if the hospital had a CuddleCot, as many hospitals around the world do, they could have extended that time with their baby. Instead of six hours, they could have had up to 96 with a CuddleCot.

So they decided to

by raising funds to donate one of the devices to help future Shenandoah Valley families in their situation.

"You're getting someone on probably one of the worst days they're ever going to have, and hopefully this just helps them a little bit more," said Todd.

They partnered with the non-profit

. The nonprofit was founded in 2016 by Erin and Anthony Maroon, after the loss of their full-term daughter, Ashlie. The nonprofit's goal is to increase awareness of CuddleCots and make them available to parents through medical facilities. In just a few years, Ashlie's Embrace has helped place 57 of the devices, each of which runs around $2,500, in hospitals.

On Wednesday, family members and nurses from the Sentara RMH Family Birthplace gathered for the donation. One of the nurses, Julie Smith, who is a unit and bereavement coordinator for the Family Birth Place, said this is something she hoped the hospital could get for a long time. She lost a child herself, 23 years ago, and helped Todd and Jackie when Gideon was born.

"They so unselfishly are wanting to help others when they're going through the most awful time a parent could ever go through. It's just incredible, it's going to be such a gift to the community for other families that have to go through this awful process," said Smith.

The Campbells are not done raising money for CuddleCots yet. They are already fundraising for a second one and have $500 toward the $2500 goal. They hope to continue donating CuddleCots to hospitals throughout the commonwealth of Virginia.

"I wish I could lower the stillbirth rate, cure isoimmunization, and hug every bereaved parent, but I can’t do any of those things," Jackie previously said. "What I can do is this."

To donate to their cause, click


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