Getting through the grief

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Photo above: The first donation of Quinnie’s Covers was delivered to Beaufort Memorial earlier in November. Pictured here are Quinn’s grandmother Carol O’Quinn, Quinn’s mom Nila Barrett, BMH ER nurse Michelle Davis (with Quinn’s 3-year old sister Margaret), and family friends Tobi Scott and Michelle Felzer. Photo provided.

Group tries to ease pain of losing child

By Marie McAden

Losing her 13-month-old daughter in a tragic accident earlier this fall left Nila Barrett numb with pain. But when she learned about a project to help comfort other distraught parents, Barrett set aside her grief and jumped into action.

The Lady’s Island mother of three became the driving force behind an initiative to donate blankets to hospitals for children who have passed away or need to be transferred to a tertiary medical facility. 

She dubbed the campaign “Quinnie’s Covers” in tribute to her late daughter, Quinn.

“It was something positive I could do,” Barrett said. “I wanted to offer some light in another family’s darkest moment.”

The project was conceived by Beaufort Memorial emergency room nurse Michelle Davis, who cared for Quinn the day she was brought to the hospital with fatal injuries. After cleaning her up, she swaddled the baby in a hospital blanket for her parents to hold.

“I felt so bad, wrapping her in this huge, scratchy hospital blanket,” she said. “There was nothing special about it.”

A mother of two young girls herself, Davis felt compelled to do something to comfort parents like the Barretts who suffer such a grievous loss. 

 “I came up with the idea of blanket donations in Quinn’s honor,” she said. “Families always want to hold their babies. I thought a nice blanket would feel more like home.”

Davis mentioned her plan to Barrett a few days later when she called to thank the nurse. Touched by the idea of honoring her child, she started a Facebook campaign to solicit blanket donations. 

“It just took off,” she said. “I’ve had people donating blankets from all over the country.”

She set up an Amazon wish list registry and held a T-shirt fundraiser to make additional purchases. To date, she has amassed more than 150 blankets.

Each blanket features a square patch with a drawing of an elephant and the words “Quinnie’s Covers,” along with a reference to Psalm 127.3 (“Children are a gift from the Lord”).

Barrett, joined by her mother Carol and friends Tobi Scott and Michelle Felzer, delivered their first donation to Beaufort Memorial Hospital this month. In upcoming weeks, they plan to donate blankets to other area hospitals. 

“The reason we’re doing this is sad for me,” she said. “But it’s an opportunity to honor Quinnie and tell people what a wonderful little girl she was.”

To make a donation, visit the Quinnie’s Covers Facebook page.

Quinn Barrett died from her injuries after a tragic accident. Photo provided.
Quinn Barrett died from her injuries after a tragic accident. Photo provided.

Beaufort Memorial Parents’ Bereavement Support Group

Meetings are held at 7 p.m. the first Tuesday of every month in classroom 350-C of Beaufort Medical Plaza, 989 Ribaut Road. For more information, call Heath at 843-522-5176 or 843-522-PRAY (7729).