Ashley Glader’s son Joshua was born with multiple and severe birth defects and passed away just 80 days after he was born.

For 78 of those days, he was in the NICU at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children.

“It was like a full time job just to see your child,” Glader said.

Meanwhile, she and her husband had two other little ones running around at home.

“It was so hard just juggling, and it’d be hard if it was your only child in there,” she added.

The Glader family received a care basket the first night they spent in the hospital with Joshua, and it was filled with items like blankets and children’s books to make the room feel more comfortable.

That gift was the first, but it certainly was not the last. When Easter and Mother’s Day came around, the Gladers received more baskets from people who were once in their shoes.

Now, the Gladers are paying it forward by putting together care baskets filled with items for families with children in the NICU.

“We appreciated it so much and so we said that’d be awesome just in honor of Josh and his memory to be able to give people a little piece of comfort and home,” Glader said.

However, it can't be done without help from the public. Glader has created this Go Fund Me page to raise money to fill the baskets and is also hoping to collect the following items:

  • Healthy packaged snacks and drinks
  • Gift cards (restaurants/gas/groceries)
  • Hand sanitizers/toiletries
  • Baskets that families can re-use
  • Notebooks/journals/pens
  • Chocolate/candy
  • Knitted baby hats/booties/blankets
  • Baby accessories for infants who cannot be dressed (bows, leg warmers, jewelry)
  • Accessories for mothers
  • Coloring books/small toys for older siblings
  • Nemo stuffed fish
  • Small picture frames
  • Warrior onesies or stuff that says “warrior”

Glader wants to include a Nemo stuffed animal in each basket in honor of Joshua, who was born with one arm. Their motto throughout the 11 weeks in the hospital was “just keep swimming,” and she wants to spread that message to other families.

She hopes to have the care baskets ready to go by mid-March, in honor of what would have been baby Joshua’s first birthday.

Sadly, this wasn't the first time Ashley Glader had lost somebody near and dear to her heart. Her brother, John Tomlin, was a victim of the Columbine shooting. Blogging about these experiences helps her cope, and she hopes it can do the same for others who have suffered a loss.

If you'd like to donate, the Go Fund Me link is here and you can reach Ashley via email ashleyglader@gmail.com.