Doves released in memory of children at 19th Annual Lights for Little Lives Memorial Walk The annual Lights for Little Lives Memorial Walk was held on December 31, 2018 in Loma Linda.
The event began with the group of attendees assembling at the Ronald McDonald House.
“This particular memorial is the time we get to actually talk to the people that we help, which is why I look forward to help coordinate this event every year. It’s so touching and emotional…the families really appreciate it,” said Linda Stratton, The Unforgettables Foundation volunteer.
At the memorial, four mothers released doves in memory of their children that passed away in 2018.
“This year the four mothers who released doves were Alisha Hare, Jessica Conag, Cynthia Michelle Maldonado, and Vanessa Valladares. Families who attend the memorial carry banners, bring photos and some wear t-shirts with their child’s face on it,” continued Stratton.
“The doves are released at sunset, it’s 21 doves in a memorial flight. The dove flight is symbolic of a heavenly journey, a key highlight of the celebratory awareness event,” said Founder/CEO of The Unforgettables Foundation Tim Evans.
“After the ceremony, a three block walk led by boy scouts, children, physicians, firemen, funeral professionals, volunteers and faith community leaders was held. The walk continued down Anderson Street and ended at the Campus Hill Church where a 45-minute ceremony of candle lighting and name reading took place,” continued Evans.
At the ceremony, top physicians in the region were awarded for their work.
“This year we awarded Annalisa Abjelina M.D., Thomas Bahk, M.D., and James Tong, M.D. The Top Doctor award was originally created in honor of physician husband and wife team Lawrence Tomasi, M.D. and Nuria Pages, M.D., who died in a tragic auto wreck on their way to attend their son’s medical graduation,” Stratton said.
The founder of the organization, Evans, created The Unforgettables Foundation after witnessing many families who did not have enough money to pay for the burial of their child.
“About 20 years ago Tim Evans was the Chaplin at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital and he witnessed many families who lost a child and had no funds to bury their child; which inspired him to create an organization to help those families in need,” said Stratton.
To date, the organization has assisted thousands of families in the region. “The Lights for Little Lives Memorial Walk and Candle Lighting Ceremony was the very first public event created by The Unforgettables Foundation after a full year of serving families across the region. To date, nearly 6,000 families have been helped with financial and burial support from over 80 cities in Southern California. The Orange Belt Funeral Directors Association, various clergy associations and medical associations in the region collaborate with the heartwarming celebration of our children in life and in death,” concluded Evans.