Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristyn von Rotz.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Kristyn. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Fourteen years ago, we found out we were pregnant with a baby boy. It was our first child, and we couldn’t have been happier. At a regular checkup, we learned our son had a fatal brain abnormality and had no chance of survival. On July 8, 2004, in the same breath we said hello, we also said goodbye to Joseph Thomas von Rotz, our firstborn son. He lived just a short time and died in our arms.
The grief that followed was unbearable. I felt alone, isolated, and depressed. I had received no resources or support after his death and I was breaking.
Knowing I had to do something to honor his memory and save myself, together with another mom, we started a small walk-in Irvine, California. That first year there were just 100 people who attended. From that small walk, a multifaceted nonprofit organization, Forever Footprints, was born. It was never my intention to start a nonprofit organization, but each year the needs of grieving families who had experienced pregnancy loss and infant death grew. Because of the love and dedication of so many volunteers and supporters, our annual walk has now grown to two walks (Orange County and San Bernardino) and thousands of participants. And our support groups, memory boxes, and sibling backpacks help families navigate the grief journey. No family should ever feel alone after the loss of their child, and no baby will ever be forgotten.
While I have three living children, I am the mother of five. Leah (12), Evan (11), and Sara (6), Joseph (who would be 13) and a baby lost to early miscarriage.
Has it been a smooth road?
There have been struggles along the way. The needs of Forever Footprints have grown and families who are need of our services have increased. We rely on sponsors, donors, and partners to help us continue to fund the very important work we do. I would love to see our services and programs expand and grow even more, and we are always actively seeking people to help us reach those goals through donations and fundraising.
On a personal level, the loss of Joseph and the grief that followed is an ongoing process. For me, there’s no such thing as moving on after your child has died. But we move forward. One day at a time, one month at a time, one year at a time. While the grief has sometimes been almost unbearable, the loss of Joseph has given me a new and different perspective on life.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Forever Footprints – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Forever Footprints ensures that families who have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss receive the best support, comfort, and resources possible. To do so, Forever Footprints provides families with direct services, educates the medical community to improve quality of care and response, and offers opportunities for remembrance to help families find their own path to healing.
We ensure that no parent is ever alone and no baby is forgotten. In a time of unimaginable grief and loss, we are there to provide support and healing.
What are you most proud of as a company?
We are always changing and growing to meet the ever-changing needs of women, children, and families. We put people first.
What sets you apart from others?
We strive to have a clinical lens that is not only grief but trauma-informed, on our approach to support and mental wellness. We strive to approach the whole family and build holistic services.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love that so there are so many people doing so many amazing things. There are many nonprofits in our area, and they all are doing wonderful work. From the volunteers to the employees to the donors, people care. It’s a beautiful thing to see the love, compassion, and dedication our community has.
I can’t say there’s anything I like least!
- OC Walk to Remember, October 13th. $25.00. Children under 10 are free
- IE Walk to Remember, October 27th. $25.00. Children under 10 are free
- Address: 135 S. Lemon Street, Unit B
Orange, CA 92866
- Website: foreverfootprints.org
- Phone: 714-509-0065
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: foreverfootprints
- Facebook: foreverfootprintspage
- Twitter: ocwalk