St. Agnes Hospital, Waupun Memorial Hospital families to benefit from CuddleCots

Shelly Haberman

Dealing with the death of a baby is clearly an incredibly difficult event for parents. The Agnesian HealthCare Foundation believes that bereaved parents should be given the option of spending time with their baby. Time allows the family to form an important bond - whether dressing the baby, taking photographs or simply just staying close - and this helps families in dealing with their loss.

Parents can now benefit from CuddleCots at the St. Agnes Hospital and Waupun Memorial Hospital Women & Infants areas. CuddleCots have been internationally recognized across the world as significantly helping parents who suffer the loss of a baby.

The St. Agnes Hospital CuddeCot was donated by Tabitha and Salvatore Lazaro III, of Menasha, and formerly Fond du Lac. They donated the CuddleCot in memory of their daughter, Brooklyn Grace, who had her two-year anniversary on March 20, as well as in the memory of Ian Dittel (parents are Carissa and Zach Dittel), who had his five-year anniversary on March 29.

In addition, the Agnesian HealthCare Foundation is providing a Cuddle Cot for Waupun Memorial Hospital.

“We had a daughter two years ago, and we had learned early on that she was going to have some complications due to chromosomal abnormalities,” according to Tabitha. “She made it to 33 weeks, and then we did give birth to her. Afterwards, we had heard on TV about another family that donated a CuddleCot in Green Bay, which led us to research how we could do the same thing.”

The family donated its first CuddleCot to a Fox Valley hospital in March 2018 in Brooklyn’s honor. “For the second one, we really wanted to include Ian. We have been long-time friends with Carissa and Zach, and we knew the struggles they have been through, and we could relate to that.”

The CuddleCot donation helps support efforts at Agnesian HealthCare, as a member of SSM Health, to provide the emotional care and resources that families need during this difficult time.

“This is such an important piece in helping families to be able to have time to grieve not only the birth but the loss of a newborn which sometimes happens simultaneously,” according to Dawn Vandenberg, regional director of Mission Integration with SSM Health - Wisconsin. “Being able to provide this care is so crucial to our mission and to our heritage as a Catholic-based hospital. We are now given a special gift to be able to provide care to the most vulnerable in our midst, and especially to families who are going through such a difficult time.”

The Agnesian HealthCare Foundation is a charitable tax-exempt organization that exists to accept, acknowledge and invest charitable gifts to help meet the health needs of the people in our communities.

“The Agnesian HealthCare Foundation is so grateful that this lovely family - with such a special story to share - has brought a wonderful service to Fond du Lac,” says Michelle Ries, director of the Agnesian HealthCare Foundation. “This gift will greatly complement the many services that we offer families, and we truly appreciate that Tabitha and Salvatore thought of us as they support other parents who have been affected by such a devastating loss.”

To make a donation to the Agnesian HealthCare Foundation or for more information, visit

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