Families and friends will gather on New Year’s Eve to light candles to honor children who have died as the Unforgettables Foundation hosts its annual Lights for Little Lives Memorial Walk in Loma Linda.
Marking its 17th year, the three-block walk includes a candle-lighting ceremony and name reading along with a dove release as a “symbol to a heavenly journey,” a major highlight of the awareness event, according to the Unforgettables Foundation.
The nonprofit, founded in 1999, helps families who have lost a child from 32 weeks of pregnancy to 18 years old for all causes of death, pay for burial expenses. The walk to honor children began in 2000.
This year’s event will begin at 3:30 p.m. at the Ronald McDonald House in Loma Linda, 11365 Anderson Street. Three families — Andrea and Andres Garcia, Rocio and Ruben Hernandez, and Michael and Jennifer Zambrano — all who lost a child, will release a dove at sunset followed by a 12 dove release memorial flight.
In addition to the commemoration ceremony, the foundation will also recognize those who work to heal, rescue and save children. Three physicians, Lance Brown, MD, Douglas Deming, MD and Kay Mukergee, MD, will receive the nonprofit’s Top Doctor Pediatric award for “their compassionate care toward our area children,” the news release said. Ken Campbell will be awarded the Unforgettable Kiwanis Friend of Children Award.
After the ceremony, a three-block remembrance walk will begin and will be led by boy scouts, children, physicians, firemen, funeral professionals, volunteers and faith community leaders. The walk continues down Anderson Street and ends at the Campus Hill Church where there will be a 40-minute ceremony of candle lighting and name reading.
The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.
The Unforgettables has provided more than 5,000 families from throughout Southern California with financial and burial support through its chapters in the region and in Nevada and Canada. Chapters are in the works in other areas of the country, according to the nonprofit.
For information, call the Unforgettables Foundation at 909-335-1600 or visit www.unforgettables.org and on Facebook at The Unforgettables Foundation