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The Early Preg­nancy Loss Asso­ci­ation receives a grant for $7,200. COLLEGIAN | Anna Timmis

The Early Preg­nancy Loss Asso­ci­ation con­tinues to grow as it aids local healthcare providers in caring for women who have mis­carried. Recently granted $7,200 from the Hillsdale County Com­munity Foun­dation, the asso­ci­ation is able to fund the dis­tri­b­ution of infor­ma­tional folders, a mis­car­riage kit program, an updated website, as well as admin­is­tration and mar­keting.

Describing the grant as a startup fund, EPLA Founder Emily Car­rington said, “We’re really getting into a huge place of growth and sta­bi­lizing. It’s been a lot of ideas and planning up to this point, and with this grant, we will be able to take these ideas and plans, and start to implement them.”

Susan Stout, who works for the foun­dation, said that the grants must serve Hillsdale County res­i­dents.

EPLA seeks not only to aid, but to also help res­i­dents heal. Car­rington founded the asso­ci­ation in 2014 after her second mis­car­riage. Paying medical bills in the wake of the expe­rience, she said that she wished women in her position never had to do the same, according to a past Col­legian article. The idea for EPLA then began to form.

“We started with a couple meetings of 10 to 15 women gathered talking about their expe­ri­ences, with many voices jumping in,” she said.

Since then, nearly 100 people have con­tributed in some way to the orga­ni­zation. They began by cre­ating infor­ma­tional folders so women were not in the dark about mis­car­riage.

Maria Servold, who serves on the exec­utive com­mittee, said the folders include a “facts and myths” page. This helps women not to expe­rience guilt because of mis­taken beliefs such as, wearing pants that are too tight can cause mis­car­riage.

Now the EPLA has launched a drive for care kits, which will include basic care items such as fem­inine hygiene products — things that someone suf­fering a mis­car­riage wouldn’t want to have to make a Wal­greens trip for, Servold explained. The kits will also include a small box so that fam­ilies can bury the baby, which is often delivered even in early stages, and tiny 6” by 6” cro­cheted blankets to include with the boxes. Those who wish to donate can access an Amazon wish list, with all items sent to Car­rington to then be put into the kits.

Next year, a memorial garden will blossom with purple tulips, a flower that sym­bolizes hope for Car­rington, and is fea­tured on EPLA’s logo.

“After I lost my first little one to mis­car­riage, I started buying a purple rose on due dates to take time to remember and honor my little one,” she said. “As we were devel­oping a logo, we liked the imagery of the flower and the vase. Purple is a color that com­bines pink and blue, as often the gender is unknown. It’s sym­bolism of hope and spring and new life after a long winter, not nec­es­sarily hope for another child, but hope in some­thing — weath­ering through a rough time.”

The tulip bulb fundraiser will end Sept. 28. Seven vari­eties of purple tulips are offered and will be sold 10 bulbs for $10. Buyers may also choose to donate their pur­chased tulips to be planted in the memorial garden.

While Car­rington and the board members do not get to see EPLA’s impact first hand, nurses have told them that their resources are being used.

Car­rington said, “It’s our hope they receive our infor­mation and heal and grow and move on. A lot of our vol­un­teers have expressed thank­fulness that this is hap­pening, giving an oppor­tunity and outlet to heal from their past grief.”