HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — One in four women will lose a baby during pregnancy, delivery or infancy, according to the March of Dimes.

Around 80% of miscarriages happen within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Pregnancy loss after 20 weeks is considered a stillbirth.

Lacey Schoff’s son, Ryker, was stillborn at 37 weeks, during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. As heartbroken as Lacey and her family were, they decided they wanted to do something for other mothers (and families) who were experiencing the same thing.

Lacey was nominated for Remarkable Women by Jim Marion, her “bonus” Dad. His nomination letter captured the judges’ hearts at News 19 when they learned how Lacey turned an unimaginable tragedy into a blessing for so many others.

“She immediately came to mind for Remarkable Women because of what she’s done out of a tragedy… I feel like this is a divine assignment for her,” Marion told News 19’s Chief Meteorologist Danielle Dozier.

Ryker was stillborn on June 20, 2020, also known as the Summer Solstice. Lacey says, “That’s why when we think of Ryker, we think of light.”

“My mom gave me a book called, Mommy Please Don’t Cry. There Are No Tears in Heaven. It’s 12 pages. It took me a couple of days to read it, but [it’s] a really beautiful book.,” Lacey said. She knew she needed to get this book to other mothers who were experiencing the same thing.

A call to the hospital led to a Facebook fundraiser, then something unexpected. Her fundraiser raised $15,000! Lacey and her husband Haans started to think…

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“We prayed over it, and he was really encouraging. And he said, I really think that we’re being called to do more… so just listen to that calling,” And Lacey says that is how Ryker’s Rainbow was born. “It kind of snowballed into this full-blown program,” Lacey said.

Ryker’s Rainbow is a non-profit that supports families experiencing pregnancy and infant loss that provide bereavement boxes to nearly 10 local hospitals, along with sibling support resources.

Lacey and Haans learned through the loss of Ryker, even the youngest members of the family can hurt just the same as parents. “She [Ellis] was just two years old, but she understood that Mommy and Daddy were hurting, so it was really important to us to roll that sibling support initiative out as well,” Lacey said.

The Schoffs dropping off bereavement boxes at Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children. (Photo: Lacey Schoff)

Infant loss is a lot to go through for any family, let alone when people were already so isolated during a global pandemic. While Lacey says advice is hard to give since everyone’s circumstances are so different, “The biggest advice I would give is to lean into the community around you because in those times, it is very isolating.”

A couple of years later, the Schoffs welcomed their ‘rainbow’ baby, Adler, into the world in 2022.

Even though you’re going to come into this situation, ones that are hard … and you don’t know why you’re going through them, or questioning if you’re going to come out of them…
There’s always some kind of beauty that comes from the ashes.”

Lacey Schoff, Remarkable Women Honoree 2023

Through the work the Schoffs are doing in Ryker’s memory, that couldn’t be more true.

If you are interested in supporting Ryker’s Rainbow monetarily, you can donate on their website here. Or if you are interested in volunteering, fill out a contact form here, and you will be added to their Volunteer List.

You can read more of the Schoffs’ story and learn more about Ryker’s Rainbow mission on their website.