Chicago couple finds a way to help other families after devastating loss

August 04, 2021 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health

After suffering a traumatic pregnancy loss, Dean and Emily Arrowsmith weren’t sure where to turn.

The couple had been expecting their first child — a daughter they planned to name Charli Mae. Just before Christmas, the Chicago couple got the devastating news that Charli Mae had a rare heart condition. A week later and 21 weeks into the pregnancy, Emily and Dean lost the daughter they had been awaiting.

The grief was overwhelming.

Their physician referred them to Edward Hospital’s SHARE group. SHARE is a national organization that offers support for parents and other family members who have experienced a pregnancy loss or the loss of an infant. Edward Hospital has one of the largest SHARE chapters in the region.

“In the aftermath, it was just us two,” says Dean Arrowsmith. “We just felt alone. SHARE has really been a savior for us.”

Finding others who have walked on the same path has helped, says Arrowsmith. The group meetings gave them a place to share what they’ve been going through and hear from others who have experienced similar loss.

‘When you go through something like this, you feel like you’re the only one,” he says. “No one wants to be a part of this group, but we’re all very glad that we found this group.”

The couple continues to attend meetings and found a way to give back.

In honor of their daughter’s birth date, the couple organized a 100K fundraiser and asked friends and family to participate to benefit Edward’s SHARE chapter and the Fetal Health Foundation. Participants were asked to walk or run 100 kilometers between April 4 and May 4 (Charli Mae’s due date).

The event drew support from around the world — from Dean’s family and friends in Ireland to the couple’s friends and family in the United States. In all, Charli Mae’s 100K raised $10,000, which will be split evenly between the two organizations.

“By raising those funds and sharing them in honor of Charli, they are helping countless other families,” says Susan Villa, perinatal bereavement coordinator at Edward Hospital.

The couple hopes to make the 100K an annual event in memory of their daughter.

“We do intend to do something annually to remember Charli,” Dean Arrowsmith says. “Even after losing her, she can still have a lasting impact on the world.”

For those dealing with a pregnancy loss or loss of an infant, Arrowsmith encourages them to attend a SHARE meeting.

“If people are going through any kind of loss with a baby … I would advise anyone to reach out to SHARE and know that you’re not on your own,” he says.

As COVID-19 restrictions ease, SHARE meetings at Edward have returned to in-person sessions but still have some online meetings in a secure environment, says Villa.  In addition to groups for those suffering a pregnancy loss, SHARE also offers Sharing HOPE (Having Optimistic Pregnancy Expectations), a group for those who have experienced a loss during pregnancy but are currently pregnant or considering pregnancy again.

If you or anyone you know is going through the loss of a pregnancy, please reach out to SHARE for help. For more information about SHARE or Sharing HOPE, visit .

Edward’s SHARE chapter will host its 17th annual Walk to Remember fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 9. A portion of the funds raised will be used to construct a bereavement room outside the Mother-Baby Labor & Delivery Unit at Edward Hospital and will provide a designated space for families grieving a recent loss.

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