Turning Pain into Purpose

Celebrating 25 years of healing at Atrium Medical Center

Atrium Medical Center’s Help Endure a Loss program, or HEAL, started with one courageous woman who turned the pain of losing her son into a program that serves women and families experiencing the loss of a child.

“My son, Mark Edward Young, was born still at 38 weeks gestation on April 26, 1988, as the result of a silent abruption. My life and my family’s life changed forever that day in the blink of an eye,” said Sheree Young, HEAL program coordinator at Atrium Medical Center. “There were limited resources for families experiencing perinatal loss and even fewer ‘allowable’ ways to grieve the death of an infant or young child.”

HEAL focuses on providing support services to women and families who have lost a child to miscarriage, stillbirth, or neonatal or childhood death. The program provides emotional support, comfort, reassurance, and practical help, including funeral arrangements, liaisons between families and physicians, miscarriage support, and group support, all offered free of charge.

HEAL hosts two special events each year to honor the children lost. The Walk to Remember, held in the summer, has occurred annually since HEAL’s inception. The first walk had ten participants and attendance has now grown to more than 300. The HEAL Memory Tree Lighting is held in December for any families who have lost a child. 

Becky and Dave Novak are very grateful for HEAL. After a year of trying to conceive a child, they were thrilled to be expecting their son Spencer. At first, there were no issues with the pregnancy.

“I was at work, and I really wasn’t feeling the baby move. I had this terrible feeling something was wrong, so I called the hospital,” Becky recalls. She had an ultrasound at Atrium Medical Center to detect the baby’s heartbeat, and there was silence.

Dave learned of the tragic news upon arriving at the hospital. When Becky delivered Spencer, Dave remembers, “All of a sudden this angel walks in, Sheree.” Sheree encouraged the couple to spend time with Spencer. “She picked up Spencer and started to give him a bath, and I thought, ‘I want to do that,’” said Becky. “The HEAL program allows us to remember our son, to speak his name, to talk about him, to reminisce about him, and remember how beautiful he was.”

HEAL’s 25th anniversary was commemorated with a proclamation from the City of Middletown’s mayor, recognizing the program’s years of service to the community. 

For more information or to donate the HEAL program, call (513) 974-4056(513) 974-4056 or email HEAL@premierhealth.com.