Helping Hands: Aaliyah in Action
A former Washington, D.C. teacher who delivered a stillborn baby last year is now on a journey herself to help others. Having lost her own child in December 2020, Elizabeth O’Donnell launched a nonprofit called Aaliyah in Action to assist mothers who have lost a child at birth. O’Donnell explained that she is now a stillbirth advocate full-time.
The organization partners with local hospitals to provide free self-care packages to families grieving. Most of the items in the box are items from local businesses or items created by families who have experienced loss. Supporting small businesses was also very important to O’Donnell as she gathered ideas for what to include in the boxes. Each box has a pair of fuzzy socks, lip balm, a face mask, and lavender shower steamers.
“They are not meant to make anybody feel better because that’s not possible,” O’Donnell said. “But it’s a gentle hug from someone who knows the pain.”
From Easterns Automotive Group, Joel Bassam learned about O’Donnell’s work in the community and decided to make her a 7News Helping Hands recipient.
“When Helping Hands brought us the story of the way you have turned this life experience of a way to help other individuals who are going through something so traumatic, we were blown away. We want to donate $2,000 to Aaliyah in Action to help support those individuals going through this terrible time, help them take the next steps in their lives with the boxes you are giving to them, and the bereavement support as well.”
Elizabeth was blown away and shared that this donation would help her reach more families and hospitals.