When Maggie Goodwin of Oceanside found out she was pregnant after trying for a second child for more than five years, she and husband, Craig, were so happy they spread the news in their Christmas cards.
Their joy turned to despair when their daughter, Emma-Méabh, was stillborn.
“I spent over 36 hours delivering her lifeless body and had to walk out of the hospital with empty arms,” said Maggie Goodwin, 39.
To cope with their loss, the Goodwins sought support from the New York Metro chapter of the Star Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit group dedicated to raising awareness about stillbirth as well as other kinds of neonatal deaths and miscarriage. Maggie Goodwin is now a chapter volunteer.
“I made a promise to my daughter that I’d make sure her life mattered and made a difference,” Maggie Goodwin said. The couple has a son, William, who is 8.
A driving force in the chapter, which will have its first gala in June, is Mark Donohue of Rockville Centre. He helped start the group after his wife, Amanda, 38, delivered their stillborn daughter, Jane Elizabeth, in 2015.
“It just put me in a daze,” said Mark Donohue, 39, who is a New York City firefighter. “I was in a fog, a real fog — it was very dark.”
The Donohues, who have two daughters and a son — Nora, 8, and Lucy, 6, and 15-month-old Matthew — didn’t know what to do next when the stillbirth happened and he didn’t want other parents like them to feel they were alone with their loss. One in every 160 pregnancies in the United States every year ends with a stillbirth, according to the foundation.
“I want to help other people through that,” Donohue said. “These parents need support.”
The Donohues along with the Goodwins expect to attend the gala, “A Night Under the Stars,” on June 2 at Captain Bill’s in Bay Shore. The evening will include cocktails, dinner, entertainment and raffles.
On Saturday, the chapter is putting on its third annual “5K Run/Walk Let’s Not Be Still Festival.” The event starts at North Hempstead Beach Park in Port Washington.
Both events will raise money for outreach, education, research, prevention and family support.