Brit Irvine is a shining example of the kind of compassionate people you’ll find at any one of CarDon & Associates’ senior living communities. Outside of her work as the director of social services at CarDon’s Richmond location, she and her husband, Kyle, lead the Indiana Cuddle Cot Campaign, providing free services for families in Indiana and Ohio.
Manufactured by Flexmort, the CuddleCot™ is essentially a cooling device that allows families to spend more time with their stillborn child.
Brit and Kyle founded the Indiana Cuddle Cot Campaign to give families the experience they missed when their son, Brantley, was born sleeping on September 1, 2014.
“If our hospital had a Cuddle Cot when Brantley passed, we would have been able to spend three days with him versus the six hours we were given,” Brit said. “It was then that I decided I wanted to start an organization to provide services to those within our community and within the state of Indiana. Our campaign provides support not only to families but to hospitals, healthcare staff and funeral homes. In addition, we help coordinate the purchase and placement of Cuddle Cots for families throughout the United States.”
Brit stumbled across Cuddle Cots online back in 2014 when she was researching infant death and looking for support from others who had experienced loss. She also learned about the Caring Cradle, which is a slight variation of the Cuddle Cot, attached to a wheeling cart with cabinets.
Brit and Kyle started the campaign with the support of local businesses and donations from families. With that help, they were able to submit a 501(c)(3) application and licensing fee, and they were granted their official nonprofit status just a few weeks later.
The Indiana Cuddle Cot Campaign has come a long way since it started six years ago. In its first year, the organization provided support to 50 families and placed two Cuddle Cots. Since then, it has helped over 1,000 families, placed 19 Cuddle Cots and two Caring Cradles, and hosted numerous fundraisers. Last year’s 5K Run/Walk was canceled due to COVID, but it may resume this year along with the announcement of a new program.
Donations go toward the mission of placing at least one Cuddle Cot within every hospital in Indiana. But the overarching goal is to simply give grieving families what Brit calls “the most precious gift of all” — more time with their child.
However, the campaign’s services ultimately go above and beyond that, extending into pregnancy and birth planning, labor support, photography, funeral preparations, referrals to grief counseling and more. All at no charge to families.
As CarDon’s Chief Operating Officer Gregg Gormal said, “Through all of her work, Brit is a testament to the generous, family-oriented spirit of CarDon team members.”