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Launching the Eric Elliott Memorial Scholarship Fund

Project Update

May 2024

Written by Sara Rodenhizer, Professional Development Team


As part of our ongoing efforts to support individuals and families facing the indescribable pain of losing a child, Home Hospice Association has just launched the Eric Elliott Memorial Scholarship Fund. Developed in close collaboration with the Elliott family of Florence, Ontario (near Sarnia), this fund aims to increase access to comprehensive infant & pregnancy loss support in memory of little Eric, who tragically lost his life in a drowning accident at just 15 months old. 


As a member of the Scholarship Fund Project Team, I've been working with Amanda Elliott, Eric's Mom, to develop content for this initiative. Despite the depths of her grief and the relentless pressures of daily life, Amanda's willingness to share her family's story has been nothing short of inspiring. Sitting at my computer, assembling the Elliotts' narrative — looking through family photos of Eric, his siblings, and his parents — I’ve often found myself moved, sometimes to tears, by Amanda's candour and how her openness has brought me closer to the realities of their loss. Maybe it's because we're about the same age and both from Ontario, but it's occurred to me that in another life, we could have been friends. Indeed, I have friends with babies and small children; and this tragedy could have happened to them. Because, though most people don’t want to believe it, this could happen to anyone. 

Amanda recently shared with me the story of "Baby Yoda". At once beautiful and heartbreaking, this story illustrates in a small but meaningful way the enduring impact of their loss:

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“Some of you may wonder… “baby Yoda story”, what does baby Yoda have to do with anything… This is Ours and Eric’s Story of how this little green alien creature became a part of who we are as a family. 


Once upon a Costco trip, I found a baby Yoda infant jogging outfit. I’m not huge into Star Wars, but I do have a basic idea of who the characters are… long story short, I thought it was too cute! Fast forward a few weeks, and I put Eric in this baby Yoda jogging suit. Little did I know, that this outfit would become forever life changing. This little alien creature from Star Wars is what resonates and reminds Owen & Avaya of their baby brother, and has ever since the moment he was first dressed in that outfit. 


After Eric died, I spent a lot of time in hospital trying to find some sort of hope, some reason that this happened to me and my family. I was able to see Owen and Avaya on hospital-approved passes, and on those visits, Avaya would see a baby Yoda and say, “there’s Eric”, and Owen agreed.

Eric was and is our “Baby Yoda”. Someone who I hold very dear to my heart told me, “It’s an incredibly debilitating void to navigate, and if it can help you… then that’s fantastic.” This person has helped me navigate this very lonely, confusing path, that has caused pain more debilitating than I am ever able to describe. 


“Baby Yoda” will be in our family pictures from now until forever; I know in my heart that Eric is with us in the picture, but this little alien creature represents his presence, and he represents what is physically missing in our family photos - photos that I can barely look at because he is not in them.” 

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Eric's story has touched our HHA community deeply and highlighted the critical need for adequately trained professionals capable of providing the kind of compassionate, non-medicalized support that grieving families, like the Elliotts, desperately need. Since initiating our Infant & Pregnancy Loss Support training in 2015, we have been committed to developing a comprehensive educational program that addresses the nuanced needs of those experiencing such losses. The Eric Elliott Memorial Scholarship will enable even more dedicated professionals to access this vital training. 

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Last month, we were incredibly grateful by the early response to our scholarship initiative when we shared about the development of the fund. The support from the Lambton County community was especially moving, reflecting a shared commitment both to the Elliott family and this cause. 


The Eric Elliott Memorial Scholarship is already accepting applications on a rolling basis. We are committed to a transparent and thoughtful selection process to ensure that the resources provided by this fund are used to maximize the benefit to communities across Canada. 



Learn about our eligibility criteria and start your Eric Elliott Scholarship application here.

For those interested in supporting this initiative, donations can be made to the Eric Elliott Memorial Scholarship Fund here [Include link to donation page]. Each contribution helps continue Eric's legacy in providing guidance and understanding to those navigating the loss of an infant or pregnancy. 


With this fund, we honour Eric’s memory and take concrete steps towards building compassionate care capacities in our communities. We are beyond grateful to the Elliott family for collaborating with HHA on this project, and sincerely appreciate your support for the fund, including helping us to spread the word.  

Please visit our Eric Elliott Memorial Scholarship Fund page to learn more. 

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