WEBSTER, N.Y. (WROC) — October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
Year-round and during this month especially, a local business based out of the Rochester area has grown a movement on a national scale.
Through the Pink and Blue Awareness Project, those who have experienced loss can be comforted in knowing they’re not alone.
What started as a small exchange between friends and family in 2017 has grown into a network of tens of thousands across the country.
Jen Chappell of Webster started The Cooper Project shortly after losing her son, Cooper, at 38 weeks pregnant in 2016. Chappell says it wasn’t long after when the idea for the Pink and Blue Awareness Project came about.
“It’s very hard to lose a baby, very hard. A lot of times, women feel alone and they feel like they can’t talk about it. It’s kind of like a taboo subject,” said Chappell.
By making bracelets to share, Chappell says it created a bond with not only friends but strangers, including those who have experienced loss, those who know someone who has, or those who haven’t – but want to help support.
“When this first started, people were coming out of the woodworks just saying, ‘I’m so glad I’m able to talk about this. Your bracelet gave me the confidence to be able to tell my coworkers about our miscarriage,'” said Chappell, “I realized very quickly I could not sit around myself and make thousands and thousands of bracelets. People wanted to help.”
Now, five years later, volunteers across the U.S. have produced more than 60,000 pink and blue bracelets, which are shipped nationwide to wear during the month of October and beyond.
“I never envisioned it would take off. I never envisioned I would be running this huge project,” said Chappell.
Chappell now has three children of her own, and says she continues to carry out Cooper’s memory as her project grows.
“I would say the main message is that you are not alone. No matter how hard it is, there’s a community of people that can help you through it,” said Chappell.
The pink and blue bracelets are distributed by The Cooper Project free of charge, which is made possible by donations.
For more information on placing an order, or other resources on pregnancy and infant loss, visit The Cooper Project’s website.