Losing a child is unspeakably painful and perhaps the most devastating ordeal a parent could have to encounter.
Tyler and Jessica Cripps of Alexandria know what that's like. Their daughter Paislee Cheyanne Cripps was stillborn on May 3, 2013. Their hearts were broken. Their world was shattered. But during their grief they received the love and support of family, friends, church, and the community in such a way that it inspired Tyler and Jessica to help other parents mourning infant loss. As a result, Paislee's Foundation was formed by the Cripps' along with their friend Wesley McCubbin.
"It's a non-profit organization that Wesley and my wife and I started. We take up money through donations and fundraisers and we donate that to families who are going through stillbirth and infant loss up to three years of age," Tyler Cripps told WJLE .
The next fundraiser is the 3rd annual Paislee’s Foundation Chili Supper and Corn Hole Tournament on Saturday, February 11 at 4 p.m. at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria. Admission to the chili supper is $5.00 and $20 for the cornhole tournament.
"It started on May 3, 2013. Tyler and I lost our little girl. She was stillborn. Paislee's death was very unexpected and we were completely unprepared to deal with this type of situation. But our family, friends, church, and community lifted us up, supported us, and took care of everything we needed," said Jessica Cripps.
After some time passed, Tyler said he got the idea for starting the foundation. "I was riding through work one day and the idea popped in my head. I talked to Wesley about it and we furthered the idea until it's turned into what it is today," he said.
An approved 501c3 non-profit organization, Paislee's Foundation was formed in October 2013 and the first official fundraiser was held in January 2014.
"We have three main fundraisers which are all held at the Kenneth Sandlin Center at the fairgrounds in Alexandria. A chili supper will be held on February 11 along with a corn hole tournament. We have a 5K in May and a craft show in the fall. They have all generated pretty good amounts of money. At the 5K we have even had some of the parents (served by the Foundation) actually come to help. To see that come full circle has been great. We've had such big responses from the start and we thank our whole community for supporting us," said McCubbin.
There are no paid staff in the Foundation and all money raised is given to parents. "One hundred percent of it goes to the foundation. No money goes to anyone's pocket," said Tyler.
"We got money given to us when we lost Paislee. At the end of it all we had to buy her headstone and that was $400. We had $400 exactly left. So that's what we give people $400. They are welcome to use it for whatever they need including bills, food, groceries, headstone, burial expenses, etc.," said Jessica.
Families needing support may contact Paislee's Foundation through Facebook or at www.paisleesfoundation.org.
"We want to thank everybody who has gotten behind us and given us the push to get to where we are now. That's the main thing about our foundation. It could not run without the support that we have gotten," said Tyler.