Committee Member Profile: Why I Volunteer


Carrie Roderick and her mom, Michelle, find volunteering together is a wonderful way to honor their Brooklyn. In addition to their time with the Friends of the Angel, they help others with Brooklyn’s Bears.

We sat down together recently to hear more about how Carrie and Michelle honor Brooklyn. Read on below. 

 Who is Brooklyn?

Brooklyn is our first born and beautiful daughter. She was born on Sept. 8th 2012 and passed away unexpectable two hours after delivery from a rare infection. She was full term 40 weeks to be exact and is so loved and missed by many.

You and Your Mom Volunteer Together, Right?

I love that my mom volunteers with the Friends of the Angel every month with me. We get to set a side one day a month to honor her and help others that are walking the same journey. My mom has been a great resource for other grandma’s that have suffered a loss of a grandchild. It gives us comfort as we honor her legacy with Brooklyn’s Bears and volunteering with the Friends of the Angel.

What made you decide to create Brooklyn’s Bears? Why?

I decided to create Brooklyn’s Bears after making a handful of weighted bears to give to my friends from a loss support group I was attending. After making these bears I knew that I wanted her legacy to be Brooklyn’s Bears. I didn’t want other families to have to leave the hospital with empty arms after losing their baby. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever faced leaving the hospital without our daughter. When your arms ache to hold your baby I wanted others to have something to hold. When I was volunteering at a Friends of the Angel event at Maple Grove Hospital, a nurse came down and was gathering information. We started talking and I mentioned my idea of having the nurses give weighted bears to patients that lose a baby of at least 35 weeks gestation. I have the week specification due to the weight of the bear approximately 5 lbs. and I wanted them to go to families with similar loses to ours since Brooklyn was full term. The nurse was ecstatic and couldn’t wait until I brought one into the hospital. I’ll never forget dropping off my first bears and the nurses couldn’t get over how much the weight felt like a newborn. Families are now given a bear and a handwritten card before they leave the hospital. I have been contacted by numerous families that have received the bear and how much it meant to them. Brooklyn’s short life is living on through these bears. It is giving families comfort in darkest days.

Who receives them?

Families at Maple Grove Hospital that lose a baby that is at least 35 weeks gestation. The bears are approx. 5 lbs. because I wanted a baby to be of similar weight when they were born. Brooklyn was full term so I wanted to give these to families going through similar losses.

How do you make them? Do you make them with your family?

Brooklyn’s Bears are made with a ton of love! Each bear takes around 2-3 hours to make. My family and a couple of close friends help put them together. I purchase a super soft cuddly bear and then unstuff it to fill with little sand bags. Each bear consists of 7-8 sandbags to reach the weight of approx. 5lbs. A little red heart is sewn onto the bear. I also include a personalized handwritten card explaining the bear and letting the family know that I understand what they are facing.

Are there custom orders?

I have done some custom orders. I do require the family requesting one to pay for the bear and shipping. A fundraiser was done two years back and all that money is going toward my mission of families not leaving the hospital with open arms.

Thank you, Carrie, for sharing your story with us.

For more information about volunteering with the Friends of the Angel, please go to our website or email us.