Family Run

After Their Daughter Was Stillborn, They Launched A Foundation To Help Families Like Theirs

"It just seems like the right thing to do I suppose."

Family Run is an original A Plus Lifestyle series: Every month, we profile amazing families who work together in some capacity. From starting businesses, inventing products, collaborating artistically, and beyond, these family members are making positive contributions to the world together, and strengthening their family bonds in the process.

Rebekka and Randy Hauskins's daughter, Hayden, was stillborn at 32 weeks of gestation. 

In the United States, a stillbirth is defined as the loss of a baby after 20 weeks of pregnancy. A miscarriage, on the other hand, occurs before the 20th week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each year, about 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States.

After Hayden passed away, the Hauskins felt an overwhelming need to help others going through a similar situation, but they didn't know how.

"It wasn't until we received our first delivery bill that it occurred to us to help families who have also delivered a stillborn baby, but paying their delivery bills," the Hauskins tell A Plus in an email. So, they decided to launch a family-run business called Hayden's Helping Hands (HHH) alongside several friends who wanted to help, too. 

Hayden's Helping Hands "is a non-profit foundation who helps families in the midst of tragedy," it says on their website. "HHH assists Oregon and Washington families after the birth of a stillborn baby by paying for a portion or all of their hospital delivery medical expenses." It is run by Rebekka, the founder, Randy, the treasurer, their eldest daughter, Madison, a volunteer, and Randy's mother, the secretary.

"We feel that HHH has created a community or sounding board for families to not feel so alone [and] this extends beyond families that we have financially supported," the Hauskins tell A Plus. "Our original goal was to only help families financially, the by-product of HHH is that we offer a 'hope' that parents can turn to us for emotional support and understanding." 

They also add that they host an annual fundraiser that supports those families they support and honors their children by framing their names and putting them on display for all to see.

"When you have a child that has passed, you have very little opportunity to see your child's name in their daily life." It's therapeutic, they explain. 

So far, HHH has paid 44 delivery bills for 43 families. HHH offers up to $1,000 for each bill and in most cases, this covers everything. While the Hauskins haven't had the opportunity to speak with all the families they've helped, they say that some they have contacted express how much HHH has relieved them after their loss. 

Through this all, HHH has helped strengthen the Hauskins' own family bond and it has kept Hayden's memory alive.

"Working together as a family with HHH keeps the lines of communication open about Hayden," they say. "We can't say to what degree Hayden would come up in conversation as a family if we didn't make our loss so public. Communication is often the key to healing, talking about Hayden is commonplace in our home. We don't want her to be the elephant in the room with our living daughters, Madison and Josie."

"In our opinion, the reality is that there is no healing that ever happens when you lose a child and it is the worst experience you can have," they add. "Seven years later, we still grieve; we miss Hayden and would love to know her ... "

" ... We are proud that the foundation has helped so many and happy that we can provide a light in a very dark tunnel. It just seems like the right thing to do I suppose."

Finally, Rebekka writes on HHH's site: "My wish is to not be defined by the great sadness that I feel but to be a better person because of the experience I have been given, no matter how unwelcome this experience is." Rebekka tells us that this idea is fitting for how their family, and their foundation, operates. 

"With our family, we recognize that there may be days where we want to give up, but it has never been an option. When we lost Hayden, life didn't stop. We had a 5-year-old daughter to be present for, and we needed to consciously move forward every day. Randy and I felt that if anyone could make it through this type of loss, we could. I want to teach our daughters that sometimes life really does offer you the worst and sometimes we really have to dig deep to keep pushing forward ... but it is worth it."

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