BLACKFOOT — The birth of a child is supposed to be one of life’s happiest moments for parents, but sometimes complications can occur and a baby may pass away. To provide the emotional support to parents in this situation, the Little Joys Remembrance Foundation donated a CuddleCot to the team at Grove Creek Medical Center (Grove Creek) in Blackfoot.

A CuddleCot is an in-room cooling unit that is the size of a small humidifier and is disguised inside a bassinet or Moses basket. But it’s much more than that. Using a CuddleCot gives families the gift of time, allowing parents to treasure their children at their bedside for an extended period of time that they might not otherwise have had during their hospital stay.

“Funds for this donation to Grove Creek where raised by the Little Joys Foundation and the Ramirez family who lost their triplets on August 16, 2016,” said Erica Willenbring, executive director of the Little Joys Foundation. “Our goal is to ensure other parents throughout Idaho who have a similar experience have the much-needed but brief time to bond with their babies.”

The names of the Ramirez triplets were Maria de Guadalupe, Maria de Jesus, and Maria del Carmen.

The mission of the Little Joys Foundation is to ensure that every hospital in Idaho has a CuddleCot. The foundation was just two hospitals away from achieving their mission. In an effort to pay it forward, Grove Creek made a $2,764 donation to the Little Joys Remembrance Foundation for the next hospital to receive a CuddleCot, which will be the Clearwater Valley Hospital & Clinics in Orofino.

Willenbring understands all too well what the Ramirez family experienced when they lost their triplets. Six years ago, Willenbring and her husband welcomed triplets of their own into the world. However, they were born too soon and passed away shortly after birth. A CuddleCot was not an option for the Willlenbrings in 2014.

“In the unfortunate event that this happens to parents at our facility, we are blessed that the Little Joys Foundation have made this generous and touching donation,” says Helena Callister, OB manager at Grove Creek. “For parents who experience the loss of a baby, they will be so grateful to have this gift — the precious gift of time to spend with their angel.”

In addition, at Grove Creek, parents who have lost babies are given special keepsakes such as memory books with handprints and footprints, hospital armbands, blankets, and photos placed in a memory box.

For additional information about the Little Joys Foundation’s mission, Willenbring and a bereavement coordinator were recently in the news discussing the placements of CuddleCots throughout the region. The segment can be viewed at