Hundreds of people gathered at the Alberta Legislature grounds Sunday afternoon for a walk that brings people together who have experienced the loss of an infant.
The Baby Steps Walk to Remember was partially founded by Cheryl Salter-Roberts back in 2013.
Salter-Roberts created the walk as a way to honour the stillbirths of two babies, Bretton and Ciara, as well as six miscarriages she and her husband experienced after having four healthy children.
“Each year it just grows. People have found out about it, many people come back each year, it becomes a tradition. They meet families here,” Salter-Roberts said on Sunday.
The day began with speeches and then a walk around the park filled with baby names written out along the pathway.
At the end of the walk, each baby name was read aloud, totaling 180 names. A bell was then rung, and families released bubbles into the sky.
One of the event's speakers, Sonia Chirbonnaeu, lost her twin boys on July 26.
“They were born premature and passed away shortly after,” said Chirbonnaue. “Our son Thunder lived for an hour and 20 minutes and Cloud for an hour and 30 minutes.”
Chirbonnaeu said the walk has helped her integrate into a community filled with support and understanding of what she went through losing her twins.
“When this happened I didn’t realize that this happened to so many people and so often and finding this community and group of people has definitely helped us a lot in our journey of healing,” said Chirbonnaeu.
“You feel so alone when these kind of things happen, so being around all these people around today kind of really gives a sense of togetherness and love.”
The grounds become a temporary spot for families to share their stories, grieve, and give each other support.
“There’s no hiding. We can laugh and cry on the same moments, and it’s OK,” said Salter-Roberts.