CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Almost a year after they lost their 7-week-old daughter Cara, Tom and Jennifer Hamilton are still making a huge impact on other families with babies diagnosed with a terminal illness.
“I just came downstairs with her and just held her for a while,” Jen said. “And her eyes lifted. “So I knew that something was not right. I went to get Tom at around 4 a.m. and we just sat with her and rocked her and we had music playing."
Following Cara's death, the Hamiltons knew they needed to do something to honor their daughter.
The two tossed around some ideas but could not think of anything that paid tribute to Cara's story.
“So we just decided in the car on the way back home that we would start something. And we didn’t know exactly what it would be or what it would look like, but let's just do something to honor her life,” Jen said.
Soon after, Cara’s Purpose was born. It was a way for Jen and Tom to connect with other families of babies who are diagnosed with a terminal illness.
The Charlotte-area has really embraced Cara's Purpose through fundraisers and events, but its mission is starting to spread throughout the country.
Jennifer is now on her way to Los Angeles to give love and encouragement to a mom from Africa who has recently dealt with the loss of her baby and doesn’t have anyone.
"They connected. Their hearts and their humanity connected on a level that grew in part from Cara’s life. It feels so right and it keeps Cara fresh in our hearts and minds when we are able to make a ripple."
The Hamiltons said for families struggling with a devastating diagnosis, just knowing that there’s another family out there, that knows your pain and supports you, can mean more than any monetary gift.
“I think one of the biggest things that came from that was just the reaching out was helpful,” Tom said.
Tom and Jen said while they are extremely proud of their new organization, they hope to never have to help another family again.
"Obviously we never want any baby to have a terminal diagnosis," Jen said. "But we don’t want for the ones that do to go home feeling alone or scared. We just want to try and grow to where we can reach those people."