Bloomer couple honors stillborn son with ice fishing tournament in Menomonie

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Bloomer (WQOW) – No parent wants to say goodbye to their child before getting the chance to even say hello.

A Bloomer couple is using their personal tragedy to help support others who might be in a similar situation.

“On March 12, our son was born a week before his due date, without a heartbeat,” Amanda McKown told News 18. “We had an ultrasound four days prior, and he was perfect on the ultrasound. So, we had no indication, no warning signs, no red flags.”

An unexpected tragedy struck the McKown-Spath family. Their son Braxton was stillborn early last year.

“We have two other children, and an 8 and a 6-year-old and they were excited for their baby brother to come home, and then you come home to a house and to a life that you had planned, and that’s not the life you’re going to lead now,” McKown said.

Now, they’re asking for more research on stillbirths, and hoping to raise awareness, so other families are better educated and better prepared.

“We felt really alone and we wanted to make sure other families know that they are not alone and that we’re raising awareness and hopefully funding some research, so other families don’t have to go through what we’re going through now,” added McKown.

With the memory of Braxton in their hearts, they’re turning their grief into support for other families affected by stillbirth, by hosting Braxton’s Bobber Bash.

“It’s hard to go through, so if we get out there, get more people talking about it, might make it easier for somebody,” said Chris Spath, Braxton’s father.

McKown and Spath told News 18 they’ve felt the warm embrace of their community already, and are seeing the bright side of this dark tragedy.

“We had somebody email us and say we’ve been through the same thing, or we’ve had a stillborn baby in our family, we’ve had a miscarriage,” McKown said. “It was almost like we don’t have the things to be excited about Braxton in this life and here, but we can be excited about people’s lives that he’s changing.”

Along with honoring Braxton, they hope the fundraising tournament encourages conversation about stillbirth.

Braxton’s Bobber Bash will be held on January 19 on Lake Menomin in Menomonie. Pre-registration is closed, but you can register the morning of the event. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go to Star Legacy Foundation; a non-profit organization that supports research, education and provides family support for those affected by stillbirth.

The McKown-Spath family mentioned they’d like to have this tournament annually, so they’re hopeful for a good turnout.

You can find more details about Braxton’s Bobber Bash here.

Samantha Wensel

Samantha Wensel

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