Abandoned Babies Receive a Final Resting Place
Each year babies die as a result of being abandoned by moms and/or dads whose own trauma, trials or unfortunate lives put them in desperate situations. The tragedy is that most are not found in time and a precious life is taken.
‘This is the earliest form of abuse,’ says Ellen Campbell, President, CEO and Founder of the CCAA.
Their short lives, abruptly ended without dignity or even a name, gave voice to a cry heard by Ellen who had agonized about the fate of these unclaimed babies, buried in unnamed graves. For years, she had dreamed of finding a better way to treat these children in their final internment. Finally, with the discovery of yet two more babies in 2007, she felt compelled to do something and Ellen Campbell approached Ontario’s Deputy Chief Coroner, Dr. Jim Cairns, Elgin Mills Cemetery, and The Simple Alternative Funeral Centre.
All of them agreed to Ellen’s plan: Dr. Cairns would release the babies’ bodies to the Elgin Mills Cemetery who donated 9 plots (enough to bury 45 babies), a beautiful monument and bench where people can sit for a moment of contemplation. The Simple Alternative Funeral Centre agreed to provide the memorial services and the CCAA would administer the program. So, the first service became a reality on Friday, October 12th at the Elgin Mills Chapel located at the Elgin Mills Cemetery in Richmond Hill where two abandoned babies were finally laid to rest by the Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness.
Baby Leif, a newborn whose partially decomposed remains were found in the woods near North Bay, and Baby Kintyre, another newborn, whose mummified remains were discovered beneath the floorboards of a Toronto home, were named and honoured in a service open to the public. The memorial included remarks from Ellen Campbell, Dr. Jim Cairns and gifted Canadian tenor John McDermott who performed the songs One Little Star and Amazing Grace. Honorary pallbearers from York Region Police, Fire and EMS services and a spectacular release of 84 white doves concluded the non-denominational service after which everyone was invited for a light lunch in the Elgin Mills facility.
There were tears, and sighs of relief from people who attended, “Because I thought coming here was the right thing to do,” stated one anonymous woman.
The CCAA will receive abandoned babies from anywhere in Canada, give them a name and memorialize the babies with a proper service and burial through the Huggum’s Hope Memorial program. There have been requests from the RCMP outside of Ontario to be allowed to access this service and the CCAA is pleased to be able to help.
“We are grateful for all the support received. This first funeral service and those services to come, and the permanent memorial will provide dignity for these babies and will show that “They matter and we care,” said Ellen Campbell.