Mahoning Valley Moms revamp the Austintown Township Park - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Mahoning Valley Moms revamp the Austintown Township Park

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AUSTINTOWN, Ohio - Members of the group Mahoning Valley Moms are putting new life back into the Austintown Township Park.

"Today we are here planting a memory garden in memory of mothers that have lost babies due to stillbirth or miscarriage. Those that don't have a resting place for their loved ones or who have maybe moved to the area and had to leave a resting place or a memory behind of their loved one," said Mahoning Valley Moms site manager Kristi Sanchez.

Group member Paula Turocy, who's currently expecting a little one herself, suggested the idea and it didn't take long for it to blossom into a reality.

With the help from the Austintown Township Park, Mashorda's County Gardens and members of the Mahoning Valley Moms group, the site was quickly turned into a sanctuary for families who've experienced loss, like Boardman resident Jen Huston.

"I've had five miscarriages myself and they were all early and so I didn't have the opportunity to have a grave or any type of ceremony to remember my babies. So, when they brought that up I was just so touched and so honored and immediately wanted to get involved and help out," Huston said.

That's also why Youngstown resident Lori Cruz decided to dig in Sunday, which is also International Bereaved Mother's Day. She lost her daughter during her fifth month of pregnancy.

"I really haven't come to terms with it, but I am dealing with it. It took me about four years because I carried guilt about my situation. I am past the guilt, but I celebrate her every day," Cruz said.

And now Lori, like Jen and the countless other families who've experienced loss, have a place to celebrate their babies' lives, lives that will live on through the life of the memory garden.

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