Life experience and a heart for families facing major life transitions unite these three Triad moms. They each share a common dream of a physical village where families can begin a path of renewal and healing after the loss of a child, a devastating diagnosis or a tragic incident. These women understand life altering grief and a lifetime journey to healing for themselves, their families and individuals in our community. I invite you all to meet Anna, Mary and Nancy.
Anna, the marketing specialist for WXII 12 Digital Media Sales Department, and her husband, Tate, are proud parents to three children: Will (10), Sally (7), and Ginny (3). Their daughter, Sally, was born with special needs and was critically ill for years following birth. Anna and Tate found themselves navigating the unfamiliar world of hospitals, home health providers, insurance companies, developmental therapies and community resources. As a result, Anna vowed to help other local families facing the same challenging journey. She soon found herself a community advocate on the topic of special needs for children, and she, along with eight other “amazing” women, co-founded Sally’s Angels, a non-profit organization that serves families with critically and chronically ill children in our region.
“From our initial, very humble goal, to raise maybe $5,000 we have now raised and contributed over $100,000. Gifts made by Sally’s Angels have supported people in crisis situations who find themselves with nowhere else to turn. These gifts help ease the pain of tough decisions, financial burdens and hard choices families have to make in the most challenging times of their lives,” says Anna. To see a list of gifts this organization has contributed, click here. And to learn more about Sally’s Angels, and how you can volunteer or contribute, please click here.
Six years ago, Mary and her husband John experienced the painful loss of their son, Thomas, and that incident forever changed their family (including son Will, 9, and Ben, 5, who was born a year later). To get through this difficult period in their life, Mary and John turned to Heartstrings Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Program, a non-profit organization that provides those who have lost a baby from conception to one year of age with validation, encouragement and support, as well as grief-related education.
“After losing Thomas, Heartstrings connected us with other families who have also experienced the tragic loss of a baby. Once we connected with other families we did not feel so alone in our grief. We do not think we would be where we are today without the support of family and friends,” says Mary.
Today, Mary is the program director in Forsyth County for Heartstrings. She helps facilitate the support groups that meet at the Grief Counseling Center at Hospice in Winston-Salem. She also assists with the organization’s Connections program and Subsequent Pregnancy program. On top of all this, Mary also coordinates Walk to Remember each year. The next walk is scheduled for Saturday, October 8 at Triad Park in Kernersville. Click here for more information and to register.
Nancy Tuohy is Director of Admissions at Summit School in Winston-Salem, and she and her husband, Chris, have two boys: Patrick, almost 8, and William, 5. A former ICU nurse at Brenner Children’s Hospital, Nancy maintains her RN designation and continues to lend her heart to children and families whose lives have been unexpectedly altered by birth or tragic incident. After years of assisting families coping with critically ill children, and the grief that coincides, Nancy began to explore holistic nursing practices and is now a member and network leader for the American Holistic Nurses Association.
A few years ago, Nancy signed up for a Healing Touch class and it opened a whole new world of therapies to her. According to Nancy, the Center for Integrative Medicine at WFUBMC is now offering a Healing Touch consulting service, as well as other services to support the science behind holistic and traditional healing modalities.
“Procedures like acupuncture, massage, biofeedback, and Healing Touch are less invasive, but may provide an adjunct to healing and health when used in conjunction with modern medicine. It can help connect the body to the mind and to the human spirit. That, to me, is key to good health,” says Nancy.
Their Common Dream
“When someone goes through a life changing experience it can be a very lonely time for that person and family. Our community needs a place where people can feel comfortable sharing their feelings and a place where they feel support from others who have had similar experiences,” adds Mary.
Together, Anna, Mary and Nancy have proposed “The Healing House” to movers and shakers in the Triad, including their friends at Ronald McDonald House. They envision a village where families gather in one location for support and counseling, private meditation, conferences, research at a library, therapy through art and music, a safe place for children with special needs to play and explore, and to relax in a serenity garden.
“We have seen various examples across the country of centers or programs that are similar to what we would like to see in the Triad,” says Anna, who adds they would like to one day develop a feasibility study.
“As you can see, we have all been on different journeys to get us on the path to our common dream” says Nancy. “We are confident our community would benefit from a place like ‘The Healing House.’ Help us make our common dream come true.”
If you would like to lend your support to Anna, Mary and Nancy, please contact them by emailing Mary at firstname.lastname@example.org.