2018 JEFFERSON AWARDS: Nominee is on a Mother’s Mission to “Walk for Baby Feet”

Jamie Dunker has eight children - five of them are Angel Babies.

"To go through it once, then to lose five - it's just like... wow," she recalled.

In seven years, Jamie and her husband were blessed with three Rainbow Babies - Kaiya, Blakeley, and Kobain - but she said she will never forget her first... Isabella Sidney.

"They told me my baby wasn't going to make it and I think you're in that shock of - what do you mean?" she explained. "At first, I feel bad because I think everybody goes through it - what did I do wrong, where did I mess up? You think about all this stuff that you did and it's nothing that I could have changed."

"I think the difference from losing a baby in 2010 is you didn't have Facebook, you didn't have social media, you had nothing so I had nobody to turn to and so I just shut everybody out."

Even then though, Jamie knew this silent struggle needed a loud voice.

"So many women either don't have a strong support system or somebody who can just be there for them," she said.

So, in 2015, Jamie founded Walk for Baby Feet with the help of her friend Alyssa Hart, who had recently lost one of her own.

"Anything to honor Andrew and help other families going through this," Alyssa said.

The local non-profit does more than just walk and raise awareness, though. It raises money to help people have their own pair of baby feet.

"Nothing better than pitter-patter feet and I feel like that's what I want to give everybody else that experience by either adoption or IVF," said Jamie.

In its first two years, Walk for Baby Feet has helped a local family adopt a little boy and helped anohter pay for In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF.

Mostly though, Jamie is there to listen and share her story with others.

"Sometimes after losing just one that way, you just shut down and you don't want to talk about it, but she's ready to talk and listen and help others around her," explained Alyssa.

"She doesn't want to be known about any of this," added Jamie's sister, Jenni McGruder. She wants to be behind the scenes on all that and I think that kind of makes her her own hero in herself as she doesn't want any fame from it. She truly wants to help other people."

In addition, every year on October 15th, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, Walk for Baby Feet holds an event to let the community know they're there for anyone who needs them. At 7pm in every time zone around the world, people remember their Angel Babies by lighting candles.

"It's not something that gets a lot of recognition by any means, said Jenni. "In October you have Breast Cancer Awareness Month and there's so many causes, but this is something that's just hidden under a rock and it affects so many lives. Everyone knows someone who has lost a child."

For Jamie, there's five. However, across her community and across the world there are so many more. For all of them, we name Jamie Dunker and Walk for Baby Feet as a 2018 Jefferson Awards Nominee.

The Jefferson Awards Foundation celebrates public service and the people in our communities who are changing lives. Every Wednesday in January and February, WQAD News 8 is introducing you to our 2018 Jefferson Awards Nominees. In March, we will announce our area's Finalist. That person gets to attend the National Jefferson Awards Ceremony in Washington, D.C. this summer and meet other Finalists from across the country.

To see who was nominated in our previous three seasons of the Jefferson Awards, click here.