DENVER - The path between grief and hope is difficult enough. Going it alone is near impossible. 7Everyday Hero Laura Huene helps families cope with the unimaginable.
Eight years ago Huene was four weeks away from giving birth to her fourth child when doctors informed her of a fatal diagnosis for her yet-to-be born daughter.
Huene decided to go ahead and carry her daughter, named Pearl, full-term.
"This decision that I have chosen and other families have chosen isn't for everybody. I do understand that. And there's no judgment coming from me at all," said Huene.
At the time, Huene says family, friends, and clergy helped comfort her but she still felt alone in her grief. That is when she decided to start a nonprofit called String of Pearls.
It is a perinatal hospice program that reaches out to moms, like Huene, who chose to carry their babies full term despite a fatal diagnosis.
"We pay for all their funeral expenses. Which can run $2,000-$3,000. Because no one is planning on having to pay for a funeral for their baby," said Huene.
The nonprofit also offers families support and suggestions on how to make memories with their baby that last a lifetime.
"We are here at String of Pearls to help people write their story instead of having a secret," said Huene.
Perhaps most important, String of Pearls lets parents know they are not alone.
Family, friends and churches all make a difference, but few understand like Huene what parents are going through.
"I really couldn't have done without her. I didn't know how to have a baby knowing at the end he would pass away," said Corie O'Brien, a mom.
"No one understands what it's like to carry a baby that you love more than anything that you know is not going to make it. So, when we finally learned about Laura and met her it was a relief, a blessing from God. She is so full of his grace. People get through it. You could get through it. But I would not want to know what that looks like without her by my side," said Jamie Stewart, a mom.
"I know she has helped hundreds of families walk a journey that you don't know how to do," said O'Brien.
In fact more than 600 families have been helped by Laura Huene and String of Pearls. It is a lasting legacy of baby Pearl.
"I am not anything magic. I'm just there to listen. And to let them know 'You're OK,'" said Huene.
Each year String of Pearls has a series of fund raisers so it can help more families. On July 19 the Parker Family 5-K run will benefit String of Pearls. The race route will be with the names of others babies who were also called home just after being born.
"We wanted to have a way for their names to be written down, because lots of times these families, the only way they get to see their baby's name is on a piece of granite," said Huene.
To learn more about String of Pearls go to www.stringofpearlsonline.org
To learn more about the Parker Family 5-K on July 19 go to www.parkerfamily5k.com