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Kansas nonprofit provides ‘memory kits’ honoring baby angels: family grief ‘makes a difference’



A mother from Kansas who has come to know the excruciating heartache of losing a child has turned her grief into a mission to help others. She makes keepsake kits to honor a short but precious life.

When Amanda Smith went into labor in a Wichita hospital with her son Robbie in February 2012, she was just over 22 weeks pregnant.

When Robbie was born three days later, on February 24, 2012, he was thought to be below the viability point — and lived for only two hours, she told Fox News Digital.

“Robbie was born weighing 1 lb 4.4 oz and 12 inches tall. He was early and tiny, but he was perfect,” Smith also said.


Since she and her husband Tanner expected to have a few more weeks to prepare for the birth of their child, they were not prepared in the slightest.

“We didn’t have a camera or a special hat or blanket for him,” she said. “Our kind nurse was looking in the hospital for a hat that was small enough to fit his tiny head.”

While not small enough to fit on the head of a little over a pound and a quarter baby, the nurse came with “a very precious little blue hat with a pom-pom on top,” Smith said.

Parents Tanner and Amanda Smith along with their child Robbie shortly after their son’s premature birth in 2012. (Project Robbie)

And although the hat was “totally large,” it became incredibly special to Smith after the death of her little one.

“Even after I no longer had Robbie to hold on to, I had his hat,” she said. “This little blue has given me solace on countless occasions when I needed to feel close to it.”

“It’s not just a hat. It represents Robbie’s life. It was a short life, but he mattered, he was loved and he was here.”

“I slept with it, I carried it in my hoodie pocket when I was at home, and when I left, I put it in my purse and took it with me,” she continued.

“I didn’t have my child, but I had a small part of him.”


As Smith moved through her grief, she said she “stopped relying on the comfort of that hat.”

She continued, “It’s not just a hat. She represents Robbie’s life. It was a short life, but he mattered; he was loved and he was here. This hat is a physical reminder of his existence.”

About two and a half years after her son’s death, Smith was touched by the recent death of her grandfather, after whom Robbie was named, and decided to channel her grief into something more concrete to honor her son’s memory.

“I realized that the way to honor his life was to collect tiny hats and blankets for the hospital…where he was born.”

“I just didn’t know what and how,” she said.

“On the day I had a particularly rough day of grief while holding Robbie’s hat, I realized that the way to honor his life was to collect tiny hats and blankets for the hospital in Wichita, Kansas, where he was born. ,” She said.

“I started by contacting the hospital where he was born to ask if they needed such a donation and they very excitedly said yes as they were not receiving such donations.”

Smith and her mother enlisted the support of family and friends to help sew blankets and hats—at the time, neither of them knew how to crochet.

shelves for workshops crochet blankets

Shown here is Project Robby’s Kansas headquarters; it contains hand-knitted items ordered by size and waiting to be sent to grieving families. (Project Robbie)

She also turned to her blog where she began documenting her pregnancy with Robbie. After his death, she wrote about how she dealt with her grief.

“I decided to write our story about his hat, how important it was (and still is) to me, and why I wanted to be able to donate tiny hats to premature babies who unfortunately don’t survive.” – she said. said.

“I was so worried that we would not achieve our goal.”

Her original goal was to donate 50 hats and 50 blankets, as well as 100 hats and 100 blankets.

“I was so worried that we would not achieve our goal,” she said.


As it turned out, she didn’t have much to worry about.

The blog post was shared around the world, and from August 2014 to February 2015, friends, families and complete strangers donated enough hats and blankets to fill 13 Rubbermaid containers, Smith said.

“Honestly, I thought that after we delivered our donation [the hospital] that we will finish and our “project” will be completed,” she continued.

“I believe our hearts really guide us.”

Far from it, what would become The Robbie Project was just getting started.

Other hospitals across the US learned of Smith’s donation of tiny hats and blankets. They started reaching out to see if they could also get blankets and hats for their youngest patients.

the boy is blue

Baby Robbie Smith lived only two hours when he was born at 23 weeks pregnant on February 24, 2012 in Wichita, Kansas. (Project Robbie)

“That’s when we started working on becoming a non-profit organization to continue our mission of helping families with angel babies,” Smith said.

Smith named the non-profit project “Robbie” after her son. Smith and her mother run a group of 100% volunteers from their Kansas headquarters.

“After our initial donation,” Smith said, “we have continued to receive many different things from amazing women around the world.”

“Pregnancy and the loss of babies can be an uncomfortable topic for our society, but it’s an important topic.”

These items included hats, blankets, booties, cradles, cocoons, and most importantly, angel wings.


“When we started getting angel wings in the mail from different knitters, we decided that we would add angel wings to every Project Robby Bereavement Set, and when we launched the Keepsake Set program, we decided to add angel wings to those that are good,” said Smith. .

blanket angel wings twin hats

Shown here are two sets of Project Robby souvenirs. Amanda Smith and her mother assemble all the sets by hand; they rely on instinct when choosing items. (Project Robbie)

The Keepsake Set began in 2017 when Smith realized that some women who lost their babies early in pregnancy had nothing physical to represent their children.

Or perhaps their pregnancy was not long enough to give birth, or they were cared for in the maternity ward of a hospital.

“When I say that we care about their grief and their child, I mean it from the bottom of my heart.”

The Project Robby keepsake set contains a matching hat, blanket and angel wings for bereaved children aged 4 to 36 weeks pregnant.

Air Force Veteran Who Struggled With Serious Fertility Issue Tells Others ‘KNOWLEDGE IS POWER’

Grieving kits, designed for babies aged 18 to 40 weeks pregnant, are provided to both hospitals and bereavement photographers for babies born too soon to not survive.

there is a blanket in the memory kit

Those ordering Project Robby memory kits can request a specific color. Many parents who have lost children very early do not know if their child was a boy or a girl and ask for something gender-neutral in honor of their child. (Project Robbie)

“For so many families, especially those experiencing early pregnancy loss, [the Project Robby Keepsake Set] it’s their only physical reminder of their child,” Smith said.

“I’ve heard from many families that getting a Project Robby commemorative kit has helped them know that someone else remembers their child with them,” she added.

She said this is often seen as “reaffirmation that their grief matters and their child matters.”

“When I say that we care about their grief and their child, I mean it from the bottom of my heart. An important part of the grief journey is validating your grief, and that’s what we do at Project Robby.”

“Our children – no matter what pregnancy they were lost in – matter.”

She noted that for Smith and her mother, selecting items from the Project Robby Keepsake Sets is a delicate process.

Families requesting memory kits may provide gender (if known), name (if indicated) and any other information about their child.


“Most of the time, when choosing kits for families, I talked to them either through their request form notes, emails, or comments on our various social media pages,” Smith said.

“I believe our hearts really guide us,” Smith said.

While Smith believes that what she does with Project Robby is rewarding and important work, some days are easier than others.

blankets hats angel wings

Three sets of Project Robby souvenirs with hats for the little ones. (Project Robbie)

“The loss is heavy,” she explained. “Every day I get emails and messages from women and men who want to share their stories with someone, and I don’t take it lightly.”

According to her, Smith reads every story sent to her.

Many women ask for a set “for the loss of 30, 40 and even 50 plus years” ago.

“Some people are sharing their stories for the first time. [with] someone other than family,” she said.

“Pregnancy and the loss of babies can be an uncomfortable topic for our society, but it’s an important topic.”

Smith also said, “Our children—no matter how early in pregnancy they are lost—make a difference.”


On particularly difficult days, Smith says she reads emails from people who have received their keepsakes.

A photo of Robbie with mom and dad on the left and a hat and blanket of the right size for early-born babies on the right.

Robbie was born on February 24, 2012 weighing just over a pound. He became the inspiration for the right size accessories for premature babies. (Project Robbie)

Many women expressed gratitude for having something that could have belonged to their “angel baby”, especially those who miscarried before they had an ultrasound or before they had a baby shower. .

On the 24th of every month at 9 am CT, Smith opens a form on the Project Robby website where parents can request keepsake kits in honor of their angels.


According to Smith, there is no time limit on when a person can request a keepsake kit. She said that “many women ask for a loss set [from] 30, 40 and even 50 plus years ago.

The kits are free, but the number of applications is limited due to the size of the organization.

Family portrait of daughter

Photograph of Amanda Smith’s two daughters, Delphine and Alice Ruth, with an outline depicting her late son, Robbie. (Project Robbie)

“We are a completely volunteer-run organization,” Smith said. “We say we accept 50 request forms each month, but we almost always accept between 75 and 100, if not more.”

Smith is now the mother of two girls, Delphine and Alice Ruth, aged 10 and 6. She is also a certified grief coach with a master’s degree in nonprofit leadership.

Robbie’s project accepts both cash donations to cover shipping costs and donations of knitwear for future sets.


“What we’re doing at Project Robby is sad and can be emotionally heavy, but at the end of the day, I know what we’re doing is important,” Smith said.

More information can be found at

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1 killed in Oklahoma college shooting, suspect arrested



Police say one person has died and a suspect is in custody following a shooting at a junior college in Oklahoma.

MIDDLEWEST TOWN, Oklahoma. — On Monday, police said one person has died and a suspect is in custody following a shooting at a junior college in Oklahoma.

Midwest City Police Chief Sid Porter said the shooting on the Rose State College campus appeared to be “related to household chores.”

The school issued an alert telling students and staff to take cover on the spot before police announced that the suspect was in custody.

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Spain exhumes fascist leader Primo de Rivera, confronting far-right past



The remains of the fascist leader whose movement supported General Franco’s dictatorship were dug up and reburied on Monday, rekindling debate in Spain over its troubled past and angering far-right activists.

The Spanish government ordered the exhumation of the body of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the Falange fascist movement, from his resting place in a huge mausoleum on a mountainside 40 miles from the capital Madrid. He was then reburied in the city cemetery as part of a private family ceremony.

The move, taken by a small group of sympathizers who chanted and gave fascist salutes, is part of an effort to prevent the glorification of the country’s totalitarian past that occurs when the far right seeks political breakthroughs across Europe.

This follows the exhumation of General Franco’s remains at the same location, formerly known as the Valley of the Fallen, in 2019, after he was originally buried there after his death in 1975. The site was built in part using forced labor as a commemoration of the fascist victory in the civil war, and for many, the site represents the horrors of the war and Franco’s subsequent dictatorship.

Mausoleum in Madrid, Spain, known as the Valley of the Fallen. Manu Fernandez / AP file

As with Franco’s re-internment, Monday’s move sparks hatred for Spain’s current far-right movement, which sees Primo de Rivera and Franco as nationalist heroes. Santiago Abascal, leader of the populist Vox party, accused the Spanish government of displacing a patriot who “gave his life for Spain”.

Party vice president Jorge Bujade tweeted: “If they don’t respect the dead, does anyone think they respect the living, the workers, the farmers, those who have a calling to serve Spain?”

Vox called for “win backSpain and offered to build a wall around the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla in northern Africa.

Vox became the country’s third largest political party after the 2019 national elections, with 3.6 million votes and 52 deputies in the Congress of Deputies, Spain’s lower house of parliament. Opinion polls show that the party remains the third most popular party, with about 15% of national support.

Under a new democratic memory law passed last year, the site officially reverted to its original name, Cuelgamuros Valley. The Spanish socialist government plans to turn the site into a tribute to the 500,000 people who died during the civil war that lasted from 1936 to 1939.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said when the law was passed in October that he would “pay the Spanish democracy’s debt to its past.”

The mausoleum, with its 500-foot spire and cross, was built in part by the labor of Republican prisoners on Franco’s orders.

Presidential minister Felix Bolanos told reporters in Barcelona on Friday: “No person or ideology that is reminiscent of a dictatorship should be honored or extolled there.”

“This is another step in changing the meaning of the valley.”

This will be the fifth time that the body of José Antonia de Rivera has been exhumed since he was shot by left-wing Republican executions in 1936, such is the intensity of the feeling for his final resting place.

Initially, his body was buried in two different mass graves in the city of Alicante on the southeast coast. Two years later, he was transported 311 miles to San Lorenzo de El Escorial near Madrid, where the Spanish royal family is traditionally buried. His body was moved to the Valley of the Fallen in 1959.

Primo de Rivera’s family said in a statement to local media that they will now move the remains to a cemetery in Madrid and have them reburied in a private ceremony.

He was the son of Miguel Primo de Rivera, who ruled Spain as dictator from 1923 to 1930.

Nazi Germany sent a delegation of Hitler Youth activists lay a wreath at his grave in 1943.

Long-standing plans are being made to allow people to access the crypts in the Mausoleum of Cuelgamuros, which are believed to contain the unidentified remains of 34,000 people, including many victims of the Franco regime.

Families fought for years for the right to identify the bodies of loved ones who died during the war and were presumably buried in the crypt.

Spain is one of many European countries that have faced their 20th-century history, including many countries gripped by historical debates about the extent of Nazi collaboration during the Holocaust.

Julius Ruiz, an expert on Spanish history at the University of Edinburgh in the UK, said Primo de Rivera’s legacy has been used by supporters and detractors alike to support contemporary political goals as regional elections are just around the corner in Spain.

“He didn’t play any role at all in the Civil War, he was in a Republican prison, and in fact, during the months he was alive, he advocated reconciliation, he talked about how people should unite, how the war was a tragedy” Ruiz told NBC. News.

“But, of course, the problem here is that whatever the actions of the man himself, he was used by Franco – and José Antonio did not particularly like him – as a symbol for the legitimization of his regime on the basis of a single party that was created. in 1937.”

Ruiz added that, with a few more figures from the Francoist regime yet to be dug up, this may not be the last moot point in Spain’s shaping of its “democratic memory.”

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Spain to exhume founder of Fascist party from mausoleum



MADRID (AP). The body of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, the founder of the Spanish Falange fascist movement, will be exhumed from the Madrid mausoleum on Monday and transferred to the city cemetery.

The fascist political leader was executed by the Spanish Republicans in November 1936 after General Francisco Franco led an uprising of soldiers in July of that year to overthrow Spain’s democratically elected government.

The ensuing civil war ended in 1939 with hundreds of thousands dead and the country left in ruins.

Franco took advantage of the death of Primo de Rivera.

It will be exhumed in accordance with updated legislation which prohibits the glorification of the Spanish dictatorship and the fascist heritage. His body lay in the vast complex known as the Valley of the Fallen, which was built with the help of forced labor from prisoners to commemorate the victory of the Nazis in the civil war.

FILE – A monk walks in front of the Valle de los Caidos (Valley of the Fallen) mausoleum on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain, October 10. 13, 201. The body of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, founder of the Spanish fascist Falange movement, will be exhumed from the Madrid mausoleum on Monday, April 24, 2023, and transferred to the city cemetery. The fascist political leader was executed by the Spanish Republicans in November 1936 after General Francisco Franco led an uprising of soldiers in July of that year to overthrow Spain’s democratically elected government. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez, file)

After Franco won the war in 1939, he ruled the country with an iron fist until his death in 1975. He himself was buried in the Valley of the Fallen until 2019, when his remains were taken away to the nearest cemetery by helicopter.

The Valley of the Fallen, recently renamed to its pre-war name Cuelgamuros, is also the burial site of 34,000 people who died during the civil war. Many of the dead were originally buried in mass graves dug at Franco’s request. The bodies were moved to the Valley of the Fallen to fill the place with casualties from both sides.)

Spain passed a new law on historical memory last year, overturning legal decisions made during the dictatorship. He holds the central government responsible for finding the still missing bodies of tens of thousands of people forcibly disappeared by the regime.

The Minister of Finance and Public Functions of Spain, Maria Jesus Montero, said on the eve of the exhumation that it was important to restore “justice” to the victims of fascism in Spain. “It is very important that certain steps are being taken to comply with the law, which wants to repair the damage and commemorate the victims of the coup,” she said.

The government wants to turn the Cuelgamuros mausoleum into a place for reflection. He wants the bodies brought there without consent to be returned to the affected families.

José Antonio Primo de Rivera was the son of the dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera, who ruled Spain from 1923 to 1930.

On Monday, Primo de Rivera’s body will be exhumed for the fifth time since his death. He will be buried next to family members in the San Isidro cemetery in Madrid.

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