Donated ‘CuddleCots’ help families facing stillbirth

Bassinet cooling pads allow more time for closure

Top: Some of the local moms who fundraised $13

Top: Some of the local moms who fundraised $13

They’re six small cooling pads, and for families grieving from a stillbirth, they can make a huge difference.

These CuddleCots give families more time to say goodbye, as a stillborn baby can stay in the birthing room in a cooled bassinet for up to 48 hours. Six CuddleCots arrived in Abbotsford on Oct. 6, funded by $13,000 in donations collected by a group of local mothers.

Annet Janssen, whose seventh child was stillborn at Abbotsford Regional Hospital, started the fundraiser. When they learned their daughter wouldn’t live, they asked whether the hospital had any of the cooling devices, and hospital staff said they’d never heard of them.

Janssen and six other Abbotsford mothers then launched a fundraising campaign to bring CuddleCots to local hospitals, so they’d be available for other families in similarly heart-wrenching situations.

They raised money primarily through auctioning donated items on Facebook. They reached their initial goal of $13,000 in July, which allowed them to buy six CuddleCots: two for Abbotsford, one for Chilliwack, one for Langley, one for New Westminster and one for Surrey. They were delivered to Abbotsford Regional Hospital, and will soon be sent on to their destinations.

“It feels amazing for all of us, and for me especially, I guess, because I lost my daughter last year,” Janssen said. “I’m very glad this (is) now available for families who experience (stillbirth). They will be able to take longer to say goodbye than we (could) with our little Reyanna.”

She’s now hoping to raise $12,000 more, to buy more CuddleCots: one each for both Surrey and New Westminster, and pads for Ridge Meadows and White Rock.

She appreciates the help of all the donors to the project.

“We’re very, very thankful for everybody helping out,” she said. “There are so many people helping it out to make it work. We couldn’t do it if it was just the seven of us.”