Couple donates ‘cuddle cot’ to local hospital to give parents of stillborn babies more time to grieve

Heather and Demitri Wilson

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A couple is helping parents of stillborn babies have more time to grieve the loss of their children.

Heather and Demitri Wilson are familiar with the feeling of losing a child. They lost their newborn daughter, Kennedy, eight years ago at Sentara Leigh Hospital.

As the couple spent time with their daughter before letting her go, her body started to decompose. It was also difficult to find a burial gown small enough for their infant daughter’s body.

The Wilsons founded a non-profit organization called “Kennedy’s Angel Gowns” in 2016. Heather Wilson used donated wedding dresses to sew tiny white funeral gowns for stillborn babies and babies who die shortly after birth.

Heather also wanted to help other families spend more time bonding with their lost children.

The Wilsons donated money to the Sentara Foundation Hampton Roads for a “Cuddle Cot” to Sentara Leigh Hospital. The Cuddle Cot is a portable device that circulates cold air around stillborn babies’ bodies to allow parents to bond with their babies before leaving the hospital.

The couple plans to donate more Cuddle Cots to Sentara hospitals. They’re working to raise money through events, including their first Angel Run 5K race on Sunday, October 15 at Virginia Wesleyan University.

The group also sponsors a dressed-in-white ball each April.  Heather also plans a sew-in for volunteers on Saturday, October 21. For more information by email heather@kennedysangelgowns.org.