On Oct. 14 of this year, Erica and Spencer Hogan welcomed their second daughter, Piper Marie Hogan into the world. Due to a rare genetic problem, Trisomy 13, she passed away shortly after in their arms.
“It left our hearts broken with the feeling we failed as parents, even though this genetic medical condition is nothing we could have prevented, or that we carry. It's just something that happens to one in 10,000 babies,” said Erica Hogan.
“As we felt numb, leaving the hospital with a memory box that was put together by our amazing nurses, we felt that we wanted to do something,” she said. “We wanted to do something not only for the parents who could possibly be in our shoes one day, walking out of the hospital without their child in their arms, but also for the parents who get to take their child home.”
The Hogans were unsure of what they could do but then remembered how their oldest daughter, Sophie, was looking forward to reading books to her new baby sister.
“That was all she talked about during my pregnancy, and we could just imagine the memories that would be made between the two of them and for us,” Hogan said.
In addition to their call to action, where people could make a donation to the Women & Children Health Program in memory of Piper, the Hogans asked those who didn't feel comfortable making a financial donation to donate a book that they would then donate to the Maternity and Pediatrics Department. This way every new baby born could go home with a new book to spark the love of reading. The books could also go to a child in the Pediatric unit.
“We thought if we could collect just 20 books we would be happy, little did we know we would start calling this the "Piper Project" and it would help us try to begin to heal. In two weeks we have had over 3000 new books donated to us for "The Piper Project" and more coming in each day. We have donated 347 new books so far to The Sault Area Hospital,” Hogan said.
Last week, they had 37 books shipped to them from an unknown donor in Australia.
The Hogans hope to encourage the community to donate a book to The Piper Project so they can reach 900 books a year - the average number of babies born each year at the Sault Area Hospital.Book donations can be dropped off or mailed to Hogans Homestead at 96 White Oak Drive East. They can also be made by visiting www.thepiperproject.ca.