You Never Forget
Faribault Daily News
By Pauline Schreiber
February 9, 2007

Jessie Donahue, left, and Libby Schmit hold items donated for Sunday's silent auction to benefit Infants Remembered In Silence Inc. (IRIS). A breakfast and bingo are included among Sunday activities at the Legion, and there is a Saturday
"Fun Night" at the Faribault Community Center that is part of the "IRIS Bash" benefit. The two women are volunteers helping with the event. (Pauline Schreiber/Daily News)


Libby Schmit is looking forward to getting up before dawn Sunday at her Veseli home and driving to Faribault's American Legion to volunteer at the breakfast that is part of teh 10th annual IRIS Bash.

IRIS stands for Infants Remembered In Silence. The non-profit group supports parents who suffer the loss of an infant during pregnancy, stillbirth or early infancy.

"I'm starting my eighth year as a volunteer for IRIS. To me, it's one of the most wonderful groups in the world," Schmid said. "IRIS volunteers came to support my husband, Thomas, and me when our son, Zachary, was stillborn. That was eight years ago on Tuesday. It's a grief you never get over. Helping IRIS is my way of giving back to an organization that supported us at a very sad time in our lives."

Jessie Donahue of Faribault is the volunteer in charge of the organizing committee for Saturday's Family Fun Night portion of teh Bash. She, too, doesn't know how her family would have survived the loss of her son, Kilian, she and husband Jim's fourth child, if not for IRIS. Kilian was born on Dec. 22, 2003. He died three days later on Christmas from a rare condition, undetectable at birth, in which the liver can not process ammonia.

"I've been a volunteer for IRIS for the last two years. A special way I found to remember Kilian was to make up a special basket of items in his memory that will be among the hundreds of items at the silent auction that will go on Sunday during the breakfast, and halfway through the bingo benefit," Donahue said. "The thing is, the grief goes on. I don't thnk it ever ends. And most IRIS volunteers also have lost babies. The organization also has a support group for parents who've lost infants. Belonging to the support group and volunteering to help IRIS has been a way for us to help deal with the grief," Donahue added.

Schmit has made many friends by being an IRIS volunteer. "You share a common bond. I can mention Zachary and talk about him around other IRIS volunteers. I mention his name to friends and family, and they clam up and get uncomfortable," Schmit said. "Being a volunteer for the organization has been very helpful in dealing with my grief. It doesn't end, either. Yes, it's been eight years, but there is still grief. We have two other children. Yet, Zachary would have celebrated his 8th birthday Tuesday, had he lived. You nver forget."