Released Balloon Ends up in Michigan
Faribault Daily News
October 20, 2004

When Diana Sundwall of Infants Remembered In Silence (IRIS) released 19 balloons at 2 p.m. Oct. 3, she could not have imagined one would end up in Palms, Mich. in less than 24 hours.

Rebecca Abend found the balloon near her farm shortly after 7 a.m. Oct. 4, 525 miles from Faribault.

"(Abend) called me to tell me where she found it, and my jaw dropped, I was speechless," said Sundwall from her office in Faribault on Friday.

Sundwall sent the balloons skyward in memory of her third-born child, Derek Sundwall, who died as an infant. Derek would celebrate his 19th birthday Oct. 12 had he lived.

Sundwall runs the nonprofit organization that offers support, resources and education to bereaved parents, family, friends, and care-providers concerning early pregnancy losses, miscarriages, stillbirths, neonatal deaths, early infant deaths and SIDS.

More than 50 people released more than 100 balloons from a Faribault park on Oct. 3, in conjunction with the beginning of the recognized Pregnancy Loss and Awareness Month.

"It's a very emotional act for some people to do," she said. "Many people feel as though they are sending a message - in a way - to their child."

Sundwall said in five balloon releases during the past 17 years, the one Abend found near Deckerville is the farthest to be reported back. The previous record was about 500 miles away in southern Missouri.