In the United States, approximately 24,000 babies are stillborn each year. It is an experience that every growing family fears, and one that became a tragic reality for Lancaster resident Danielle Meadows McClellan and her husband, Thomas, on July 13, 2019 – just three weeks before their daughter’s due date. But where there is darkness, there is light. Through the heartbreaking loss of their baby girl – Lacy Mae Meadows McClellan – the couple and their expansive support group have become beacons of hope and healing for others in the infant loss community. They have created a not-for-profit in honor of their angel – aptly named For the Love of Lacy – and now focus on sharing her beautiful legacy with those who need it most: families grappling with the inexplicable grief of losing a child.
“Our organization’s first big donation was a Cuddle Cot,” Danielle shared. “Fairfield Medical Center is my community hospital, and I wanted to make sure that families in our area had that opportunity to connect with their babies and process what they’re going through.”
Cuddle Cots are cooling mattresses that can be placed in cribs or bassinets, allowing parents and family members to spend several days with their heavenly newborn, collecting cherished moments and playing an important role in their path to healing.
“That time is so valuable,” Danielle explained. “To have the chance to hold our babies, sing to them, dress them, read them a book – we don’t get that opportunity otherwise. I know those days gave me the only memories I’ll have with Lacy, so being able to give that precious time to others was really important to me.”
Danielle, along with her family and friends, have organized several bake sales and raffles to raise funds for Lacy’s namesake not-for-profit. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they spent months sewing and selling face masks. They have even established a crowdfund for those who wish to donate online. No matter their efforts, 100% of the profits raised through For the Love of Lacy are guaranteed to benefit the Loss Community.
“Our goal is to keep growing. I want to be able to help families with funeral costs, the purchase of a headstone, or even bills for time off,” Danielle said. “This is a labor of love, and it’s something that has helped my healing process immensely. I wanted Lacy to have a legacy of beauty and hope – and this is how I want to try and build that.”
Danielle would like to extend a special thank you to those who have supported her efforts: Gerra Meadows (mother), Thomas McClellan (husband), Betty Jo Lee (aunt), Randy Lee (uncle), Luke McClellan (Lacy’s big brother) and Phoenix McClellan (Lacy’s baby brother), as well as the Loss Community that has embraced and encouraged her along the way. Finally, Danielle would like to recognize her faith, which has served as a giving and guiding light in her mission of generosity.