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Run With Grace: ‘Love everyone, give grace to all’

October 26, 2022

By Mary Beth Bracy
Contributing Writer

PLATTSBURGH – In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, the first annual “Run With Grace” 5k was held at US Oval in Plattsburgh on Oct. 9.

The event was organized by Sarah Munn Wojtaszek, founder and executive director of Healing Grace: Center for Hope and Healing.

“Our organization is all about human connection,” she reflected. “Our vision is to have an event that brings the community together, honor Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and celebrate that the dark days can and will nourish the light of joy. Even after such a tragic loss we can find life again. The trees’ leaves die and fall to the ground every year only to nourish the life of the coming year. We felt a 5k is a great way to meet all of these goals and raise money for our mission.”

Munn Wojtaszek explained the vital role of Healing Grace in our community.

“Our mission is to provide support, guidance, love, and community to families that have suffered (or will suffer) the death of an infant at any stage of pregnancy and within the first year of life,” she said. “We exist to cultivate hope and provide the necessary support for the healing journey after loss.”

Those who have experienced this deep pain are able to support each other in their grief.

“This is a community that has come together because of loss and is connected by our mutual vision of hope and desire to live after such a tragic loss,” said Munn Wojtaszek. “At Healing Grace, you will find a safe, loving environment to support you in whatever part of the healing process you are in. This journey does not have a start or an end. It is a continuum that is ever changing. From laughter and remembering with a smile one moment, only to feel an overwhelming feeling of sorrow fall over you the next and a need to cry it out, Healing Grace is here for you.”

Healing Grace continues to console those who are suffering in many ways.

“We are continuing to provide Champ Boxes which are boxes of comfort items for mothers of infant and pregnancy loss,” Munn Wojtaszek said. “Items include, toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, lotion, lip balm, tea, hot chocolate, hair ties, a book supporting their grief journey after this loss, and a letter from our executive director and remembrance item custom made at their request.”

They are further developing this program to provide comfort boxes to children that have lost a sibling, grandparent, parent, and so on.

“We are expanding our reach to other areas of the North Country to provide peer-run groups and grief support services,” added Munn Wojtaszek. “We are also hoping to become an all-inclusive grief center for all that grieve the death of a loved one. We are also partnering with the Miner Institute and Alice T. Miner Museum to spread our mission. William and Alice Miner lost their only child at two weeks old. There is not much written after the death of William Jr. but soon after their community engagement in the North Country expanded and they developed the Heart’s Delight Farm and the mission to bring health and wellness to the people of this amazing area.”

Healing Grace needs assistance in upcoming months.

“We are moving into the busy holiday season, and we don’t have any events planned yet,” said MunnWojtaszek. “We ask that when the community is considering giving back during this time of family, friends and gratitude they support our organization. This will allow us to keep moving forward and continue to support families of infant and pregnancy loss and all families that have lost a loved one. Signing up for monthly sponsorship ensures we will keep providing the safe, loving and peaceful organization that our community needs so dearly. Even $5 a month keeps us moving and growing.”

Munn Wojtaszek shared that Healing Grace also offers support groups for women and men.

“We host monthly peer groups for mothers and even grandmothers on the second Saturday of the month at 11am and the fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m.,” she said. “We are also hosting an online father/partner group that is facilitated by Patrick Monette of Monette Counseling Services LLC. Our next online group is November 14 at 6 p.m. Give Grace Counselling Center LLC will start seeing clients within Healing Grace starting December 2nd (Grace’s Birthday), and our children’s grief group starts in January 2023. We also have a family that started a children’s book library at our center, Brenna’s Book Trunk, named in honor of their daughter who would have been 2 years old on October 14th.”

God’s love, joy, and a generous spirit shine through Munn Wojtaszek.

“Faith and spirituality play a significant role in all that I do for Healing Grace,” she affirmed. “It is something I have struggled with throughout my life and even more so since losing Grace AND I have found great comfort and my way to a very personal faith with tons of prayer and guidance from Father Christopher Looby, our interim board president. That said, I know that this is such a personal matter. We walk together in this journey and my personal goal is to just love and give grace to all for I know not what is in the deep depths of their personal journey. This definitely translates to the goal of Healing Grace. Love everyone, give grace to all, no matter what.”

For more information visit healinggraceph.org or call 518-254-5505. Donations are always appreciated to ensure Healing Grace can continue to purchase the necessary items for the Champ Boxes, compensate facilitators, purchase Angel Heart Beat Bears, etc.

“Run with Grace” 5k, t-shirts are still available for a donation of $15 and may be ordered at www.healinggraceph.org/donate (Make your donation and indicate your size request in the donation note: small, medium, large or extra-large.)

Healing Grace is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Donations are tax deductible as outlined by IRS tax regulations.



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