I am mother to Hazel, Elliott, Lily, and Olive. I hold two of my children in my arms, and two of my children in my heart, thoughts, and dreams. It is because of Hazel and Lily that “Hazel’s Heroes” exists and I am so proud that they continue to have a lasting impact on this world, just as I know they would have done had they lived the live that they both deserved. After losing Hazel in August, 2014, I tried to find a place to meet with other bereaved mothers, but there were very few and unfortunately, those that I found were very far away. I am very active in the bereavement community in Calgary and I am so grateful for the friendships I have made on this journey. I have found so much healing through the relationships I’ve made with other grieving parents, as they are the only ones who truly ‘get it’ and that inspired me to create a space for other bereaved mothers to feel supported and understood.
When I am not planning for an upcoming retreat or fundraiser, I am working as a Learning Support Teacher for students with disabilities in an elementary school. I can also be found walking my gentle giant dog, Tuki, or snuggling on the couch with my earth-side children, Elliott and Olive.
Gill and I were both pregnant together with our beautiful babies, dreaming of the future and how our children would be lifelong friends. When Hazel passed away, Gill's world fell apart and I stood helpless not knowing how to support her. Living in separate cities we spent hours on the phone, many in silence with only the sound of crying on either end of the line.
Honouring and remembering Hazel and Lily’s life is something I hold close to my heart. Providing support to individuals and families is also a passion and something I’ve built my career around. I have been working in the non-profit world for 8 years and hope this experience helps to strengthen and grow Hazel’s Heroes Society.
Hello, my name is Laura and I live in Edmonton with my husband Scott and daughter Emma. I met Gill in 2009 after joining a super fun ultimate frisbee team where we quickly became friends. Our friendship deepened when the unspeakable happened, and her beautiful baby girl Hazel Rose was taken from her too soon. As a friend there is nothing I will ever be able to say or do to take away the pain of losing Hazel, Lily, and pregnancies. I can only support, listen, and walk through this grief journey with her. When Gill asked me to sit on the Hazel’s Heroes Society Board, there was absolutely no question; I wanted to do this with her to honour Hazel and Lily. My goal is to make Hazel’s Heroes’ vision a reality so that all parents have a safe place to honour their children, begin to heal and and form a community to help one another.
This is a picture of me with Hazel in June, 2014.
I am director at large for Hazel’s Heroes in Calgary. I have a Bachelor of Law from the University of Calgary and currently work in the oil and gas industry in Calgary. I am also a bereaved mother after losing middle child, Ella, at age of 15 months old to Rett syndrome.
I was a participant in the first retreat offered by Hazel’s Heroes in 2017 where I felt connected with the Society’s mission to honour, heal and help. I hope that, through my work with Hazel’s Heroes Society, I can help others that have experienced child loss.
My name is Cathy Decker: wife, nurse, friend, and mother to two beautiful daughters, Avery and Addison.
On February 8th 2016 my husband, Ryan, and I welcomed our first child into the world. Avery Violet Decker. She changed me, for the better, in every single way. Becoming a parent taught me the true meaning of love. I absolutely loved everyday I spent with Avery. Avery was my shining star and the brightest light. Sadly, during an afternoon nap, on March 9 2017 she passed away silently and suddenly.
My world imploded that tragic day. There is nothing worse than losing a child- it changes every part of your being and crushes your soul. For me, the feelings of isolation and sorrow were consuming. As much as friends and family tried to understand, they just couldn’t. When I met Gillian Hatto that changed. Meeting another mom who could simply say “I know” was so comforting. I didn’t need to try and explain my grief because she just understood. There is a special bond between bereaved parents that can't be explained- just felt.
As I continue to navigate my grief journey I know one thing to be true- peer support has been an enormous asset for me. I joined the Hazels Heroes Board because I want every parent who loses a child to know that they are not alone. I want to be a part of an organization that brings mothers together to feel supported and loved. The motto of heal, honour, and help truly speaks to my heart. I am honoured to be a part of Hazel and Lily’s legacy. I believe being a part of Hazels Heroes is also a way to honour Avery’s beautiful life.
Hello, my name is Kayla and I grew up in a tiny small town in northern Alberta. I've been married for 10 years and run a day home since becoming a mom in 2012. I love the outdoors, crafting and eating delicious food. I have known Gill for many years now. After losing her sweet baby girl, Hazel, I wanted to do everything and anything I could to provide her with love and support. Seeing Gill and Gareth on this journey of grief has made me more aware of the essential need of support for grieving mothers. I have learned so much from Gill through her losses and feel so proud of what she is doing with Hazel's Heroes to honour her daughters.