Sudbury YWCA names recipients for Women of Distinction Awards

Colleen Thompson is one of the recipients of the Sudbury 2018 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards. (Martha Dillman/CBC)

After going through her own pregnancy loss several times, Sudbury’s Colleen Thompson realized there was a shortage of supports in the city to help.

“My husband and I had a lot of problems,” she said.

“We were able to have one baby but we did lose eight. We just recognized there was no support services for people experiencing that loss.”

In 2010, she co-founded a group to help other women going through the same experience. Butterfly Wings is a registered charity that provides grief support services for women and couples who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or loss as a result of sudden infant death syndrome.

Thompson is one of several women named as a recipient of the upcoming 2018 YWCA Women of Distinction Awards.

Thompson says she got the idea to start Butterfly Wings after meeting another woman who had lost a child.

“It was so comforting that we were able to share our experiences with no judgment, acceptance, we could express whatever we wanted [and] let our grief out,” she said.

The Sudbury YWCA has named the 2018 recipients of the Women of Distinction Awards. From left to right, they include Dr. Charlene Biggs, Stephanie Langille, Colleen Thompson, Liana Holm, Barb Blasutti, Shawna Partridge, Helen Francis and Dr. Elaine Blacklock. (Martha Dillman/CBC)

“It was a really positive experience for something that was really horrible that we went through.”

Thompson says although it’s a difficult thing to go through, many women want to talk about their feelings.

“Unfortunately, sometimes family members or friends without meaning to, they’re very uncomfortable with the topic of death which our society in general is uncomfortable with that topic, especially when you’re talking about babies dying,” she said.

“As uncomfortable as the topic is, it’s an honour for me to be able to share in these families’ grief.”

Here is the complete list of the 2018 YWCA Women of Distinction recipients:

  • ETFO Rainbow Teachers Local Leadership Team – Barb Blasutti and Liana Holm
  • Dr. Charlene Biggs – musician, Cambrian College professor
  • Stephanie Langille – lactation consultant
  • Helen Francis – chartered engineer, professional geoscientist and member of gender equity task force for Vale
  • Colleen Thompson – co-founder of Butterfly Wings
  • Dr. Elaine Blacklock – pediatrician
  • Shawna Partridge – author, Cambrian College professor
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