Footsteps for Maddie donating check to Bayhealth Foundaiton

Generous Gift Supports Bayhealth’s Perinatal and Infant Bereavement Services

Monday, January 14, 2019 | Women's & Children's
The Bayhealth Foundation recently accepted a check in the amount of $4,000 from Footsteps for Maddie, a local nonprofit organization. The generous gift was made to support Bayhealth’s perinatal and infant bereavement services. The money was raised through the first annual Footsteps for Maddie 5K Run/Walk, which was held on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, at Killens Pond State Park.

The Footsteps for Maddie 5K and nonprofit were created as a result of the vision of Christie Bonniwell, whose sister lost her daughter Madelyn on February 14, 2018. “Shannon was only 23 weeks along when she went into labor,” said Bonniwell. “Maddie, as we call her, was delivered at Bayhealth and then transferred to Christiana. She only lived for 16 hours before she passed away.”

“I woke up one day and told my husband, ‘I’m going to have a 5K in honor and remembrance of Maddie.’ I contacted [a company that organizes races]. They suggested getting sponsors since it can be expensive to host a 5K and also reaching out to the local hospitals to see if and how they could benefit from the event. So my mom, sister and I set up the nonprofit and followed their recommendations.”

Bonniwell says they were amazed by the outpouring of support they received—from the donation of the required event insurance to the number of people who wanted to participate one way or another. When she spoke to Bayhealth Women’s Services Senior Nurse Manager Kathryn Starr Lynch, BNS, RNC-OB, she told Bonniwell Bayhealth could use the money to help fund bereavement services provided to patients and families after they experience the loss of a child and the related training and education for staff. Bonniwell and her family decided that’s what they wanted to do.

“We are enormously grateful to Christie for her generosity that honors Maddie,” said Bayhealth Foundation Director of Development Chuck Desch. “Christie’s passion and drive will help other families in similar situations receive support in their time of need.”

“Shannon, Christie and their family approached the unexpected death of Maddie as a time to come together and honor her short life,” said Lynch. “The fundraising event also allowed the hospital staff a chance to support women and families who have been touched by the unexpected loss of a baby. Staff want the education to better serve this population and need the tools to make forever memories so these families can remember their child.”

Footsteps for Maddie is planning other fundraisers to support Bayhealth’s bereavement services, including an event through Gals That Give on July 11, 2019 at Dover Downs that will feature a pick-a-prize auction and 50/50 raffle.

“In addition to helping Bayhealth and honoring Maddie, we want to honor every child that’s been lost and let people know they’re not alone,” said Bonniwell.

Visit to learn more about the services Bayhealth provides to women and children.

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