Monday, July 28, 2014
About a year ago, Shaun Haggerty and his wife were devastated by the loss of their daughter, Sydney Ann Hagerty, who passed away just 20 minutes after her birth. After this experience caused Haggerty and his wife a great deal of distress and anger, Shaun attributes their healing to persons who, at the time, were complete strangers.
“When you go through something that tough, the only thing that gets you through is other people. ... We were so confused and lost, and they helped us through it,” Shaun said.
Located in Mount Pleasant, CrossBridge Family Ministries was founded in 2006 with the motto “Where medicine meets ministry,” devoted to helping families cope with medical emergencies.
“We fill the gaps of families who have critically ill children,” said Melissa Altman, founder of CrossBridge.
For such families, the ministry provides housing at no cost or time limit to the families' stay, clothes, assistance for meals and, if needed, carseats for their little ones.
After the loss of Sydney Ann, CrossBridge provided means for Shaun and his wife to seek counseling and pastoral care, along with assistance in covering costs for funeral arrangements. However, it wasn't just the organization's financial support that made the difference.
The group even sent a photographer to the hospital to capture Sydney's brief life.
“They genuinely felt our pain and tried to help us,” Shaun said. “We saw God's love in that.”
Haggerty has hosted camps for the past 15 summers and this year's event was a family affair. His mother handled concessions, while his father and sister accepted roles as assistant coaches. West Ashley young adults also lended a helping hand. Drill stations consisted of rebounding, passing, defense, one-on-one moves and agility, along with three-on-three and five-on-five matchups to conclude the day.
Each day's theme was outlined by a “Word of the Day,” with the final day's lesson being “Faith.”
The camp concluded with a total of 50 participants and raised $5,900 for CrossBridge.
“I'm really proud of the way he's chosen to remember his daughter by giving back to other families,” said Altman. “He's pouring himself into these other children. ... It's a beatiful thing they're doing.”
Altman encourages all families dealing with a medical crisis to contact CrossBridge for assistance. She reminds them that they are not alone.
“We want to be your family while you're here,” Altman said.
Dealing with the loss of infants “never gets any easier,” Altman admits, but she states that CrossBridge will continue their outreach as long as necessary. “We know this is what God told us to do.”
For more information on CrossBridge Family Ministries, visit www.cross-bridge.org. Donations can be made online as well.