Nothing in this world can prepare us for the loss of a child. It’s every parent’s fear – a nightmare that we hope we never have to live through. On June 11, 2010, Bjørg and Bjørn welcomed their beautiful daughter Amanda to the world. As many babies before her, she cried to protest this foreign bright and cold environment but suddenly became very still and was sent to the neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital. After many tests, they discovered that Amanda had a serious heart and lung condition and was immediately transferred to Norway’s premier neonatal unit at Rikshospital in Oslo.
After many tests, Amanda’s prognosis was very poor and extremely critical. However, Amanda surprised everyone with her stubborness and strength, and on a roller coaster ride, Bjørg and Bjørn held out hope that their daughter would pull through. The world came crashing down on June 21 when they received the message they had been dreading – Amanda was extremely poorly and they needed to get to the hospital immediately. With each holding one of Amanda’s tiny little hands, they let their little girl know how much they loved her and said their goodbyes.
Through the Darkness….A Light
During the 10 days Amanda was at Rikshospital, she had many visits from close friends and family. During one of these visits, Amanda’s grandmother asked the intensive care nurse if there was anything she could do for her granddaughter…did she maybe need a knitted hat or socks? The answer came immediately – “Yes, she needs hats, socks, mittens and a little blanket, preferably a large bag full”…..and with a thought said, ” no, Amanda, she just needs a set, but we – well, we need alot”. …and with this comment, the Amanda Project was born.
Working through their grief, Bjørg and Bjørn recognized a need to give something back to the people who dedicated themselves to caring for their daughter, and ultimately themselves. The Amanda project was developed for the benefit of premature or full term infants who are poorly enough to need intensive care. These sick infants need extra care so Bjorg and Bjørn were advised to knit small hats, socks, mittens and blankets to help keep Amanda warm. It was obvious that there was a desperate need for knitted items that fit these small infants and would benefit, not just these sick babies, but the grieving parents as well, showing solidarity and light when everything around them is so bleak and dark.
In the beginning, Bjørg and Bjørn decided to set a goal for a few months in which time they could get more people involved in the project. Little did they know how truly great the need for these items were for these babies and how HUGE the response would be from people all over the country wanting to help…and here, the Amanda Project took on a life of it’s own.
I have been blessed to have met Bjorg and Bjørn as I travelled with them on one of their deliveries to Rikshospital on a sun-filled April evening. My heart broke as I listened to their story about Amanda and my heart sang as I recognized their healing through dedicating themselves to helping other parents and their sick babies – giving them some solace in the knowledge that there are people out in this world who care what they are going through. While Amanda was only with them for 10 days, the impact she has made, not only on Bjørg and Bjørn, but everyone who came in contact with her..and those volunteers involved with the project, is astounding. While nothing can ever replace Amanda in their hearts, her spirit and essence is celebrated in every piece of clothing donated to the project.
For more information on the Amanda Project, please visit her website at http://www.amandaprosjektet.org or click on the permanent link at the top of the blog. I am writing this story in english, in hopes that the rest of the world would like to contribute to the Amanda Project. Each family is given the clothing to take home, so the need for knitted or crocheted items is HUGE. All sizes are needed, from severely premature to full term infants who need the neonatal ICU due to illness. If you would like more information on how to contribute, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Bjørg and Bjørn – you are both beautiful. Amanda’s story has touched so many lives – thank you so much for sharing her with the world, and for your dedication in turning something so negative into something so incredibly positive. Our hearts remain with you.
– ♥ Lisa