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Stillborn, still loved
Sienna’s Walk aims to raise awareness about infant death
Sienna's Walk 1
Jeffrey and Elizabeth Severson and their “rainbow” child, Liam, at the 2nd Sienna’s Walk in 2019. Elizabeth Severson founded the walk to raise awareness about stillborn and infant death. It is named after her daughter, Sienna, who died as a stillborn infant in 2017 (Photo contributed).

Six years after Elizabeth Severson suffered the loss of her daughter Sienna as a stillborn infant, she is still grieving. But through her grief, Severson has created a campaign to raise awareness of stillborn deaths that she hopes will offer other families the support they need.

“When I lost my daughter Sienna as a full-term stillborn in 2017, I felt very alone,” said Severson. “Nothing validated what I was going through. So, I started a Facebook page to create support for anyone who was going through this.”

The Facebook page led to a blog, which also prompted her to create a photo campaign to illustrate the statistic that one in four women suffer infant loss. She also realized to further raise awareness of stillborn death, she needed an event where people could come together. And in 2018 Sienna’s Walk was founded.

Sienna's Walk 2
Elizabeth Severson launched a photo campaign to illustrate the statistic that one in four women suffer the loss of an infant.

On Oct. 7, Severson will host the third Sienna’s Walk — as with many other events, it was put on hold during the pandemic. The event will be held at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church, 2602 S. Walnut Rd., Turlock. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. and the walk at 9:30 a.m.

The 5K walk will feature a special memorial honoring the babies lost, complete with a dove release and a performance by a local children’s choir. All proceeds from the walk will go towards care bags for local hospitals to give to families who leave without their precious baby in their arms, as well as scholarships.

To register for the event go to 1in4stillbornstillloved on Facebook or

Sienna's Walk scan code

Severson said the event is also meant to be a fun day for families and there will be children’s activities, food trucks and other vendors.

While planning for the upcoming walk, Severson has continued to advocate for stillborn and infant death awareness and support for families.

Last year she shared her story with California legislators in an effort to garner support for AB 1697, a bill that would have given tax credits for a resident who paid for unreimbursed medical and burial or cremation costs for a still born child. It was authored by Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) and co-sponsored by Assemblyman James Gallagher (R-Chico). However, the bill died in committee.

She has also reached out to celebrities who have suffered stillborn or infant loss — or who have played characters who have – to share their stories and encouragement.

Devin McCourty, an NFL veteran who was a safety for 13 seasons with the New England Patriots and a three time Super Bowl winner, created a video cameo for 1in4stillbornstillloved in which he shared his own experience with the loss of an infant.

“I just want you to know I too know what you're going through. Me and my wife back in 2020 also suffered a loss of our third child our daughter Mia was stillborn. I often think back to the day I found out also the next day of going through the process of delivering our baby girl Mia, and realizing you know just that loss and having to deal with it. I just want to encourage all of the families, all of the fathers and mothers, the brothers or sisters, because my kids often talk about their little sister Mia and talk about seeing her one day and knowing that she's up in heaven looking down on us. And I want to encourage you that life does improve; things do get better. There are happy days ahead. But there's also a very blessed and special memory that will live with you forever. And you know, I'm living proof. As you continue to work, as you continue to walk, lean on each other, lean on someone,” said McCourty.

Sienna's Walk 3
New England Patriots veteran Devin McCourty shared his experiences with dealing with the stillborn death of his daughter Mia in 2020 through a cameo video on the 1in4stillbornstillloved Facebook page.

Sarah Drew, who plays April Keppner on “Grey’s Anatomy” also posted a shoutout to Sienna’s Walk. While she hasn’t experienced the loss of an infant herself, her character did on the show.

“It was so intense,” Drew said of portraying a mother going through that loss. “I’ve heard so many people’s stories about their own experience with infant loss since then. So, I want to invite you to Sienna’s Walk 2023 honoring all of the angel babies. And I want to offer you my love and encouragement for all the families affected by miscarriage and stillbirth and infant loss. It is a grief so big and so wide and often not spoken about,” she said.

Severson’s newest effort is creating a ministry that local families could reach out to help plan a funeral for stillborn death in the catholic church. For more information on Sienna’s Walk or the new stillborn funeral ministry, email Severson at: