FERRIER FILES: Tennessee mom raises funds to help grieving parents bury their newborns


Mattie Mitchell likes to keep her son Liam's grave spotless.

“I don't like for the flowers to fade," Mitchell said. "I want them to look real and bright and beautiful like he was."

This is not unusual. Take a look at newborn graves, and you will see lots of attention, some covered in toys and stuffed animals.

Some of things they never got a chance to play with.

“Babies that pass away this young, often they are forgotten because they weren't here long enough to leave a mark,” Mitchell said.

Painful and so expensive.

In 2011, Mitchell learned that first hand what it was like to face all of Liam's hospital bills and then suddenly try to buy a headstone and bury him.

“I used to be mad because it was just a patch of grass," Mitchell said. "When I have a headstone on there with his picture, I know he's here and I talk to him and tell him things and I pray here. If I have a baby that I'm trying to help, I come out here and pray that he helps me with it."

With that idea, Mattie Mitchell crawled out of her grief and began helping people.

Despite her modest income, she raised money for this headstone for little Elijah who never spent a day outdoors.

Her charity Liam Changed the World has helped pay funeral expenses and buy headstones for many grieving mothers.

Right now, she is raising money to buy a headstone for Ashlyn. It means everything to her mom Nicole.

“It’s the last thing that I can give her ever," Robinson said. "I can't buy her what she wants to play with. I can't buy her a pretty dress or a Minnie Mouse doll or makeup when she gets older or a car when she turns 16. It’s important to me because I feel like this is the last thing I can ever give her."

Ashlyn died in November. It hasn't even been a year.

Her twin brother Elijah survived and that is reason to live, but don't think this is easy.

You're lost," Robinson said. "You don't know where to turn or what to do."

The only reason Nicole Robinson is here now is because she hopes people will consider this very small, very important non-profit.

“People support cancer charities, AIDS charities, lupus, all kinds of different things," Robinson said. "Unfortunately when you lose a child, it's not something you can describe. And it's not something you ever want anyone to have to go through."

Mattie Mitchell knows exactly what to do. She knows the path the hard way and the hope at the end of it.

“If you lay here and grieve and cry, you're not getting anything accomplished" Mitchell said. " And that's okay sometimes, but I want to get up and I want to make a difference in the world. I want to save a baby or a family from going through what I feel."

Mitchell is hoping to grow her organization into a foundation that pays the difference in hospital bills for newborns in crisis. To find out how you can help, click here.

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