Event held in memory of baby

NILES – A family who lost their baby wants to help others who face a similar situation and have created Arianna’s Hope Chest.

Beverly Cross-Thomas of Niles, said Arianna’s Hope Chest is an organization founded by she and her husband, Rick Thomas, and their daughter, Savanna, after Arianna Hope, passed away on Jan. 19, 2012.

”She was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, also known as Edward’s Syndrome. It’s a very rare disease that affects about 1 in 6,000,” Cross-Thomas said.

She said she wanted to get a support group started to help families who have lost a child.

”We started this journey in memory of Arianna,” Cross-Thomas said.

A fundraiser was held at the American Legion Hall in Niles, with 12 vendors participating. Proceeds will benefit Akron Children’s Hospital, Haslinger Family Palliative Care Team and Mama and Me Photography.

Cross-Thomas said plans are to hold the event anually as well as hold 5K race and benefit craft show.

Cross-Thomas said ”It will never be an easy road to travel, but with support from someone who is traveling that same road, only a little ways ahead, the road can be a little more tolerable – that’s our hope.”

The groups that received funds were helpful to the family.

”They were so supportive when I consulted with them about Arianna. They helped set up a birth plan, different medical options and hospice, in the rare chance that Arianna could come home,” Cross-Thomas said.

Also, Diane Zarlingo from Mama and Me Photography came to the hospital, in horrible winter conditions, to capture precious moments with Arianna.

”Not that I want to hear any other family’s facing the loss of a child, but I’d like to be able to ‘give back’ and know we helped another family capture their beautiful angel,” Cross-Thomas said.

Arianna’s Hope Chest will also be putting together care packages for families that will include special keepsakes for mom, dad, siblings and other family members, books to help with the grieving process and any other items that continue to bring comfort to families.

Donations to Arianna’s Hope Chest can be sent to 1277 Harrison St., Niles, 44446. Call 330-207-7622 for information or email Buffie74@att.net