Stephanie Cole

category activism

975 votes


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This is the text from her website The Sweet Pea Project. She is an incredible young woman, graceful, wonderful, helpful, and a beacon of light in what is the darkest time in a mother's light. Stephanie Cole Founder of the Sweet Pea Project "I am an artist, an activist, and above all, a mother. My husband and I are the proud parents of three amazing and beautiful children. Our first child, Madeline Jonna, was silently born one week after her due date. One year and six days later, Benjamin Madan brought color back into our world when he was born early one perfect January morning. Another rainbow lit up our lives recently as our second little boy, Nathaniel Richard, was born healthy, strong and perfect. Since Madeline's death I have dedicated myself to honoring my daughter's short but precious life by working to improve the way stillbirths are handled at the hospital and in the community. That is why I started the Sweet Pea Project and wrote my book, Still. I also give presentations at hospitals about the needs of bereaved parents, I have created an art exhibit that focuses on using art as a tool to navigate through grief and I run creative workshops for bereaved parents. I have met with Senators and State Representatives to urge them to pass legislation to issue a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth, instead of just a death certificate, when a baby is stillborn. None of this will make the death of a child okay, but I'm hoping it will help create a more supportive and compassionate community for the families left behind." Stephanie and her supporters were successful in getting the law in PA changed so now that Pennsylvania joins the other states that offer a certificate of birth resulting in stillbirth. She is also the author of the book Still and continues to reach out to hospitals to donate these special blankets and now her book for bereaved parents. She is amazing!!!!!


  • Stephanie is an amazing mother who has taken the most painful time of her life and turned it into something productive and magnificent. Her work with the Sweet Pea Project has changed the lives of thousands of mother’s and their families that experience still birth. What is most admirable about Stephanie is her strength, she takes the most painful time of her life and revisits it with each mother new to the journey in an effort to counsel and help them through theirs. Each time she’s contacted by a mother she takes time to reach back and support, encourage, counsel and help them. I know this because a year ago my son was born silent. Stephanie was one of the first women I met through on line searches for help and she has been a constant friend to me a total stranger. Her willingness to dedicate herself to this cause is only one tiny part of what makes her amazing, her love for Madeline is what makes her support of others immeasureable.

    Jacoby's Mom commented on Sep 02 11 at 12:24 am Reply
  • Stephanie has taken a taboo subject and gently made it something that is ok to discuss. She is a wonderful mother to her 4 children, and I believe she has grown stronger in her search for ways to make Madeline’s death have meaning. I personally know many moms in our community who have been helped by her support. I believe that many of us who have not had to deal with this are reminded how lucky we are, and are relieved to know that should we loose a child, there is a support group to turn to, and most importantly, that we are NOT ALONE.

    ClayMommy commented on Sep 02 11 at 6:54 pm Reply
  • Stephanie is amazing and has helped me through my own losses!!

    Lauren commented on Sep 02 11 at 7:22 pm Reply
  • Stephanie’s words of raw grief helped me so much after I lost my full term baby. To see this young person, a yound mother who took her own tragedy and turned it into something so helpful and life affirming is an amazing feat. She is the helper to the lay person and the health care professional please vote for her.

    Guesty McGuesterson commented on Sep 02 11 at 8:20 pm Reply
  • Stephanie’s actions and work with the Sweet Pea project has not only helped so many mothers in their unspeakabe heartbreaking time of need, but has also comforted and helped fathers as well. From the earliest organized art show on Mulberry Street in Lancaster, Pa to this present day, she has changed the world around her for the better and has given encouragement and counsel to people who’ve lost a child and a dream… just like her and her husband Rich did six years ago. I’d like to cast my vote for Stephanie and thank Rich too, for all of their efforts that have helped so many of us.
    May God continue to bless their work and strengthen Stephanie to keep pushing on with Sweet Pea. My Very Best Always, Mike M.

    Abby Mae's Daddy commented on Sep 03 11 at 10:47 am Reply
  • I met Stephanie when I was also lobbying PA legislators to pass the CBRS bill. We have since become friends brought together by the stillbirths of her daughter and my granddaughter Caroline. I think they must be playing together in a heavenly garden. When I expressed a desire to contribute to the Sweet Pea Project, Stephanie encouraged me to donate blankets to hospitals in my area of York, PA. Last summer I took home made cookies, blankets, and MISS Foundation brochures to York Hospital and Hanover Hospital. I plan to do the same this fall. I have loved my online friendship with Stephanie and consider her to be an amazing woman. The blanket project is so very special. My daughter in law was given the blanket in which Caroline was wrapped when she left York Hospital. It is her link to her daughter. All mothers deserve this link. Butterflies! Joan

    Joan W. Higgs commented on Sep 05 11 at 1:33 pm Reply
  • Stephanie was there for me with the loss of my son and what she has done with her grief, in order to help other parents, is absolutely deserving of recognition.

    Michelle Lane commented on Sep 05 11 at 8:30 pm Reply
  • Stephanie is without a doubt the single strongest woman that I know. She is a loving a dedicated mother who has been able to turn her own devastating loss into a beacon of hope and light for other families. Instead of turning inward with her gried, she has put it on display for the world to see so that others can find help, hope and support, knowing that they are not alone.

    Emily commented on Sep 06 11 at 2:59 pm Reply
  • Such a beautiful story, beautiful woman, beautiful heart, and a beautiful passion! She definitely has my vote.

  • Please vote for Stephanie! She is a great person & the Sweet Pea Project is doing great things!

    Donna Fernandez commented on Sep 07 11 at 6:29 pm Reply
  • Stephanie’s work with the Sweetpea project has enabled me to reach out to our community hospital to help bereaved parents during their time of immeasurable loss. My friends who are nurses in labor and delivery have told me that they are so grateful for the blankets provided by Sweetpea. Until those blankets arrived (each with a heartfelt note from Stephanie), they had to improvise. I plan to continue to donate to the Sweetpea project. Stephanie deserves this recognition. She has really made a difference.

    Kimberly commented on Sep 07 11 at 6:39 pm Reply
  • please help her win!! she does amazing work!

    Mego! commented on Sep 07 11 at 6:43 pm Reply
  • Where do I even start? Stephanie and I met on a website after she lost her beautiful Madeline and have remained friends all of this time. Without her I could never have made it. She is not only a great friend, but a wonderful Mom to all of her children. She is an inspiration for all people, she took the loss of her precious daughter and did something good with it, she helps so many people, while honoring Madeline. She deserves this honor more than anyone I know!

    Amy Naasz commented on Sep 07 11 at 7:31 pm Reply
  • Congradulations Steph for all you do!

    Brossman commented on Sep 07 11 at 7:43 pm Reply
  • I cannot imagine anything worse in the world than losing a child. Stephanie doesn’t have to imagine, she unfortunately understands. And she’s doing amazing things to help families who have to deal with something that should never have to happen. That’s why Stephanie gets my vote.

    Rachel commented on Sep 07 11 at 7:46 pm Reply
  • I met Stephanie earlier this year on FB, I received a beautiful package from her and the Sweet Pea Project that included so many beautiful blankets and copies of her book ‘Still.’ that my husband and I donated to one of the local hospitals that I also used to work for in the NICU and as co-chair of the bereavement committee. Along with being a NICU nurse, my husband and I have lost four angels early in pregnancy, we have not been able to have a living child of our own after trying for almost a decade we have made the difficult decision to stop trying and live with the memories of our four blessings. Stephanie’s book helped my husband and I both with the difficult memories that we are living with and the ability to donate the much needed and welcomed blankets for others going through the loss of their sweet little one has helped us give meaning to our angels and their short lives with us.

    Sara Samul commented on Sep 07 11 at 8:15 pm Reply
  • Our son Patrick Harry was born with trisomy 18. He died in our arms 20 minutes later. I am still devastated that the hospital refused us a birth certificate. My son was born into this world. No matter how short he lived he was a beautiful human being. We buried our son in a catholic cemetery and I have a place to go to pray for him Stephanie, my cousin Deborah W. led me to this cause. I wholeheartedly support Stephanie. For all the brokenhearted parents I thank you.

    Wendy Shepard-Kalan commented on Sep 07 11 at 9:07 pm Reply
  • I cannot begin to express what this means to me. To know that my daughter’s life has touched the lives of others, without her even taking one breath, is something that simply cannot be described in words. To the other parents out there who have had to say goodbye to their children, my heart breaks for each of you. Please contact me at the Sweet Pea Project at any time. And to everyone who has voted for me, I cannot thank you enough. It is absolutely amazing to me what we are able to do when we stand together as a community. I am so very honored to be a part of this.

    Stephanie Cole commented on Sep 08 11 at 5:09 am Reply
  • Until you’re in the middle I’d it and have no choice, Grief is something most would prefer to simply ignore. Stephanie has exhibited such courage in the face of social taboos- saying what needs to be said- sometimes over and over until the right person hears it. She has broken the silence for hurting Mommys, Daddy’s, Brothers, Sisters and Grandparents. And maybe most importantly given a voice to our littlest angels who didn’t get the opportunity to speak for themselves. Stephanie us an inspiration!

    SPeterson commented on Sep 09 11 at 7:06 pm Reply
  • Stephanie is perhaps the most beautiful person I know. She has taken what was/is the most tragic moment of any mothers life and turned it into a authentic and meaningful experience. I know Stephanie has touched so many lives, not just in Lancaster, but around the country. She will continue to impact families that have experienced the loss of a child in ways that are heartfelt, creative, and compassionate. God bless you, Stephanie!!

    Andrea Brown commented on Sep 21 11 at 3:35 am Reply
  • stephanie gets my vote. My youngest daughter lost her son(stillborn) 10-10-10. She is just finding herself again. This is two babies our family has lost in 6 years. More public awareness needs to be. After the dust settles, so to speak. there is litte help for young mom’s. There was no support system given to her at the hospital, I was just told we haven’t dealt with this before and for the most part just left my daughter “alone” I wish I had know about this a year ago, to have someone reach out to her. Thanks and kudos for taking on such a “to painful to talk about” cause.

    diane commented on Oct 08 11 at 4:44 pm Reply

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