When the event's original location in Port Orange was closed after the Hurricane, Carlos Soldevilla provided a venue.
When Ruby Sutton was born in 2014, Kelly Steffee felt an immediate connection to dandelions that she couldn't quite explain. After Ruby's death, Kelly Steffee and her husband, Steve Steffee, couldn't bring themselves to look at the few photos they had of their daughter until what would have been her second birthday. They finally did and found some tangible evidence to her strange connection.
"They were printed on dandelion paper," she smiled, clutching a dandelion she had just found in Central Park in hand. "I don't know why but that flower always reminds me of my baby girl."
The co-chair of the Florida TEARS Chapter, a nonprofit organization that assists bereaved parents with the financial expenses after the loss of an infant. Kelly Steffee dealt head on with the struggles of planning the group's 5th-annual Florida Rock & Walk for TEARS after Hurricane Matthew. The storm closed their original location in Port Orange, and they were almost left without a place to hold the walk that brings in parents from all over the state.
"We posted on a bunch of Facebook Groups that we were looking," she said, "And Carlos (Soldevilla) saw it, and said we could use his restaurant."
Held Saturday, Oct. 15, the event included a ceremony honoring all the deceased infants, and a walk from La's Bistro to Central Park families released butterflies in honor of the child's memory. Fifty butterflies were released.
"It's healing for me," Kelly Steffy said. "Helping people through their grief helps me."
For more information on the TEARS Foundation, visit thetearsfoundation.org.