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Saylor’s Light helps families grieve infant loss

Statesboro's Sonia and Matthew Dismukes lost their daughter, Saylor, to anencephaly on August 17, 2017. In their grief, they founded Saylor's Light to help other families dealing with pregnancy or infant loss and bereavement. In honor of Saylor's birth month, learn more about their organization and a special giving opportunity to help continue to shine her light.
Sonia and Matthew Dismukes

In 2017, 5 months before Statesboro local Sonia Dismukes gave birth to her third child, Saylor, she and her husband Matthew found out their baby was diagnosed with anencephaly, which meant Saylor would not live long, if at all, after birth. 

Sonia and Matthew prepared for their impending loss by creating keepsakes to remember her by using materials to make handprints and other items. 

This spurred the idea of Saylor’s Light, which helps other families dealing with the unexpected loss of an infant through donating boxes of memory-making items to hospitals. 


“We're just trying to donate as many as we can to as many hospitals that we can reach so these families have something at that time of loss that can help comfort them and make memories with their babies and give them tangible items that they can take home from that time,” Sonia said. 

These boxes are filled with things like a handprint clay mold, a muslin blanket, stamp pads and fillable ornament for hospital bracelets — just to name a few. 

They also make boxes located at both hospitals and OBGYN offices for families dealing with the loss of a child through a miscarriage or situations when hand and footprints are not able to be made. These contain butterfly garden seeds, devotionals, candles and a bookmark. 

Saylor's Light Boxes loaded for delivery to hospitals. Courtesy Sonia Dismukes

“We want any family who goes into the hospital, any mom who goes through this loss, that she gets something to take home,” Sonia said. “That she wasn't forgotten about.”

The nonprofit organization first started the effort locally at East Georgia Regional Medical Center and has expanded to work with 19 hospitals in 6 states, sometimes sending up to ten boxes a week to a hospital in Savannah. 

Whether its staffing or financial capability, she added that some hospitals are not fully prepared to help families in these situations. 

“That is just not something that's in budgets for hospitals. A lot of them don't even have a bereavement director,” she said.


Sonia said that hospitals can be hard to get in contact with and that word of mouth is one of the best ways to shine Saylor’s Light, which is fully funded by donations that can be made on their website

A special giving opportunity is available until August 17, in honor of Saylor's birth month. She would be 6 this year, so the family is asking for donations of $6 or more in her memory. All donations at that level will be entered into a drawing to receive a Saylor's Light birthday gift basket.

"Your donations will comfort families experiencing the same grief our family felt on 8/17/17," Dismukes said. "We are forever grateful we get to keep shining Saylor’s light because of our supporters!"