(Posted May 21, 2015)
On May 6, 2014, Erin and Michael Dillon eagerly anticipated the birth of their son, Tanner Michael. On the same day he was delivered, he unexpectedly passed away, surrounded by his loving family and clinical care team.
“Our son, Tanner, was stillborn that day,” said Erin and Michael. “We were not expecting that we would not take him home with us, and we were not prepared to plan a cremation and funeral.”
To commemorate Tanner’s legacy and provide support for other grieving families, Erin and Michael, along with Tanner’s extended family, established the Tanner Fund. The fund is facilitated through the Madison Health Foundation.
“In memory of Tanner, our family has started the Tanner Fund which provides for those times when a family is faced with the unexpected loss of an infant,” said Erin and Michael. “It is our hope that other families will not have to face difficult decisions or costs alone.”
Tanner’s family has partnered with local organizations to help with the expenses families face after they lose an infant.
If a family wishes to utilize the services, the Tanner Fund will pay for Eberle-Fisher Funeral Home to come to Madison Health to receive the baby and for his/her cremation. Additionally, the Tanner Fund will pay for an obituary.
These services will be offered to all families, regardless of need, who deliver a stillborn baby at Madison Health or experience the loss of a newborn while in the hospital.
Nena Dillon, Tanner’s paternal grandmother who helped organize the fund at Madison Health, credits the family’s faith for helping them find peace after his passing.
“Every life, no matter how short, has a purpose and our family believes that our purpose is to leave this world a better place than when we arrived,” she said. “When a life is so short, the people who love that person are often the ones that provide the purpose and that is the reason for the Tanner Fund.”
Erin and Michael also offer their support to other grieving families.
“We know their pain and are available to listen if they need to speak with someone who has gone through what they are experiencing,” they said.
“We will never forget Tanner,” Nena added. “It is our hope that the Tanner Fund may help make an unbelievably difficult loss a little more bearable for another family because he lived.”
Tanner’s fund will provide support for other families, but his legacy at Madison Health began just five months after his passing. On Oct. 6, 2014, the Dillons were the first family to push the lullaby button at Madison Health. Each family that delivers at Madison Health has the opportunity to press the button in the Maternity Department, which plays “Braham’s Lullaby” throughout the hospital.
For more information about the Tanner Fund or to donate, call the Madison Health Foundation Office at (740) 845-7050.