Of the tens of thousands of runners expected to hit the streets in the New York City Marathon on Sunday, there is probably an equal number of reasons those participatants will tie up their laces.
FDNY Lt. Mark Donohue of Battalion 47’s reason is to raise awareness about stillborn babies in the U.S. At each of the race’s 26 mile markers, Donohue will dedicate a mile to a stillborn baby and read a fact about stillbirths, which he plans to broadcast on Facebook Live.
“The silence surrounding this issue is deafening,” Donohue wrote on FDNY’s Facebook page. “I want us to start a conversation. I want people to talk about it.”
After two successful pregnancies, Donohue and his wife, Amanda, lost their daughter, Jane, at 37 weeks on Feb. 20, 2015.
“She’s just as much a child to us as her siblings, she just didn’t get to live,” Amanda Donohue said in the Facebook post.
After Jane’s death, the couple founded the New York chapter of the Star Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to stillbirth research, awareness and education. The chapter’s first walk/run in April raised more than $130,000, according to the foundation’s website.
“There’s so much silence around this subject because it’s so traumatic. Mark and I will always have a hole in our lives that we have to deal with,” Amanda said. “We need to make more people aware because the more awareness we spread, the more babies we can save.”
Follow #MarksMiles4Babies on social media to watch Mark's progress on Sunday.