Child loss remembrance walk held in New Ulm

Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 9:18 PM CDT
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NEW ULM, Minn. (KEYC) - Several walkers made their way onto New Ulm’s recreational trail Sunday but not for an ordinary afternoon stroll.

“It’s called a walk to remember, and we’re just here in support of families,” said Bernadette Schendel, South Central Minnesota Chapter Leader of The Compassionate Friends organization. The international not-for-profit connects families grieving the death of a child to others with similar journeys. “They’ve been there. They can relate to exactly what you’re feeling,” Schendel explained.

Schendel lost her daughter, Ashley to suicide 12 years ago. “I didn’t want to be one of those families,” she explained. “In the long run, it was a lifeline for me, for my husband. It’s actually what gave me a will to live.”

The chapter met at German Park before walkers tied up their laces and started on the two-mile stretch. “People have sadness, and they wanna receive some comfort and support,” stated Chapter Co-Director Judy Kastman. “This is a place that they can receive that.”

New Ulm Mayor Terry Sveine greeted attendees with a special surprise. He proclaimed September 12 as “South Central Minnesota Chapter of Compassionate Friends Children’s Memorial Day.”

The Compassionate Friends host monthly meetings to connect locals with resources like therapy, spiritual guidance and group counseling for parents facing infant loss.

Kastman said, “They can come, share and hear other people’s story, and they can share their story if they wish to. Usually they find comfort in that.”

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