Barrett keeps son’s memory alive by giving

By Shelby Harrell Staff Writer | Dec 23, 2013
Photo by: Donated photo Harley Barrett was born prematurely and was treated in the NICU at Mission Hospital. He later passed away at 2 months old

Tammy Young Barrett will be spending the holidays grieving the loss of her premature son, but she is determined to put a smile on other parents’ faces when they need it most.

On Aug. 31, Barrett and her husband Heath found their 2-month-old son Harley dead in his crib. It was a devastating shock for them, particularly because Harley had fully recovered in the NICU and was sent home as a healthy infant. The Barretts are currently looking into what caused his death.

In memory of her son, Barrett and her daughter Tiffany will be delivering nearly 50 baskets full of donated baby items to all the parents and families in treatment at the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Mission Hospital on Christmas Day. NICU is an intensive care unit specializing in the care of ill or premature newborn infants.

“My goal as a mom is to never let him be forgotten, and my way of doing that was going on Facebook and raising items for Mission NICU,” Barrett said.

Barrett recently put together a Facebook group called “Bid with Baby items to help Babies and Families at Mission at NICU." The group serves as a way to collect donations, which will later be auctioned off in exchange for baby items.

The baby items are later given to families who have to spend weeks in the NICU. The group has been up and running since Dec. 1, and so far more than 40 baskets have been made.

“I hope it brightens somebody’s time in there, because I remember I was so worried about him,” Barrett recalled about Harley being in the NICU. “It’s a big shock. That’s the last thing you want to worry about is going home and not having anything for the baby. This will help them with basic necessities.”

Barrett first started the Facebook group by putting her own personal items up for auction, but now donations are being auctioned off on Facebook. Items such as Christmas trees and centerpieces have been auctioned off in exchange for items such as diapers, pacifiers or baby shampoo.

Barrett said by creating the Facebook group, she has learned that people are willing to give to others, and now she is one of them.

“A lot of people have been very generous and very caring, and I have so many sweet comments,” Barrett said. “I just didn’t realize there's that many people out there who still care, but there is.”

As the Barrett family continues to grieve, they are doing everything they can to keep Harley’s memory alive. Recently, the family donated a rocking chair to the Rathbun House in honor of Harley.

Barrett is also reaching out to other families and helping them cope with their own similar hardships.

“I’ve had other women who posted on the site and told me about their experience,” Barrett said. “It’s hard but I’m glad that they finally get a chance to tell their own story.”

Christmas is practically here, but Barrett is not stopping there. She plans to continue to make baskets for the NICU families, and is even planning special gift baskets to celebrate the new year.

“I am going to actually do New Year's Day babies, and give them extra special gifts,” Barrett said.

Barrett admits that it is still hard to accept losing her baby, but she still presses on to help other families.

“It’s been hard because I miss him more than life itself,” Barrett said about Harley. “I waited seven months to have him, and then two months and he is gone. But I’m glad I am able to honor him this way to keep his memory alive.”

Donations of auction items or baby items are always needed, and nothing is turned down, Barrett said.

To make a donation or to bid on an item, find the Facebook group “Bid with Baby items to help Babies and Families at Mission at NICU.”