Losing a child is heartbreaking. When Jennifer Ambrose lost her daughter, Natalie, (who was nearly 6) to Mitochondrial Disease, it was hard. It was such a new disease that they couldn’t pinpoint what kind of mitochondrial disease she had. She had a 50/50 chance of ever finding out what kind she had. Natalie was given a survival rate of two months to two years. Remarkably, she lived to be almost 6!
Seeing the Need
Before Natalie passed away she was granted a wish for children with life-threading conditions, which unfortunately she never got to fulfill. Jennifer called the wish-granting foundation and asked if the money could go towards Natalie’s funeral expenses, but was told that once the child has passed, the wish could no longer be granted. There is money that Jennifer could have applied for, but going through the long rigorous process–turning in her tax return, her electric bill, and a lot of other documents just to see if she even qualified for help–was just something she couldn’t do at the time.
Jennifer began thinking about other families going through similar situations. She wondered how she could help other families pay for the death of their child. (Funerals for children can cost up to $10,000.) So Jennifer and her mom, Diane McIntosh decided to create a foundation to help grieving families in Iowa with funeral expenses after the loss of a child. That nonprofit-foundation is called Sing Me To Heaven.
About Sing Me to Heaven
The name, “Sing Me to Heaven,” is the title of a song Jennifer sang in chorus while in high school. She contacted the person who wrote the song and was granted permission to use it for her new foundation.
This is how the Sing Me to Heaven Foundation works: Jennifer will call the funeral home the parents have decided to work with for their child’s funeral and ask if there is a need for assistance there. Jennifer will then go to the small board foundation and tell them what the need is. The foundation will then donate what money is needed to the funeral home to pay for expenses.
The foundation has been helping families since 2011. Since then, over $109,000 has been given away to help families pay for their children’s funeral expenses. These are names of the children they have helped:
How Can You Help?
Jennifer’s motto is “Helping is Healing.” She says it is a bittersweet feeling being able to help families at their time of grieving. This amazing foundation is helping grieving families all over the state of Iowa, and there are many ways you can help:
- Giving a one-time monetary gift
- Offering a monthly gift
- Donating air miles for grieving family members
- Participating in matching gifts programs at the workplace
- Give in memory or in honor of a loved one
- Participating in fundraisers
If you want to find out how to donate or what fundraiser is coming up, more information is available at www.singmetoheaven.org. You may also contact Jennifer at [email protected] or Diane at [email protected], or find them on their Facebook page.
Help Support HF152
Just recently, Jennifer, Diane, and a few others lobbied at the state capitol. Their goal was to educate and advocate for continued state appropriations for grieving families in Iowa after the loss of a child. (HF152) They didn’t make the budget this round, but they are hoping to get added next time. If you feel this is something that is near and dear to your heart, please contact your legislative congressmen and let them know that you support this.
Sing Me to Heaven has helped families in several counties in Iowa. If you know of a family who needs assistance with the burial of their child, contact Sing Me to Heaven. Helping is Healing.
The Sing Me to Heaven Foundation
Assisting grieving families in Iowa with funeral expenses after the loss of a child.