ST. CHARLES, Mo. – The 15th annual Strides for Hope 5K run and walk is a memorial event for family members who have lost an infant. All proceeds benefit Missouri-based nonprofit Infant Loss Resources. 

“We just wanted to do this run and keep Aiden’s memory alive, and keep the hope for our family, for all the other families,” said Paisley Geoff of her late son.

Geoff attended the walk at St. Charles Frontier Park with the support of her son, Cameron Hense, and her best friend Brittany Conners.

“Mostly just for my brother Aidan to kind of just remember him and just to do it for him,” said Cameron Hense.

The event provides resources, education and grief support. It also gives people a chance to perhaps begin the walking down the road towards healing.

“Being able to publicly grieve, I think that’s probably the biggest thing to me, is like we feel like we don’t have to hide. And it doesn’t feel like we can’t honor memories,” said Brittany Conners.

All proceeds from the run benefit Infant Loss Resources. They offer services to about 80-90 new families every year, and all services are free. 

“An education-based non-profit that deals with teaching people, anyone in the community, who wants to learn how to prevent infant mortality,” said Mayra Thomas-Romero on Infant Loss Resources.

Thomas-Romero knows this kind of loss all too well.

“Earlier this year, I became a statistic I never thought I’d be. I lost my daughter who was six months old. She was born in September, I lost her March 18,” she said.

“This is healing, you know. And they have gone through an unimaginable loss. But this healing, even just for us to say the baby’s name, to be among others who have walked that walk and lived that experience is really really important,” said Vikki Collier, Infant Loss Resources Executive Director.