Newalla family uses heartbreak to spread kindness
NEWALLA — The legacy of a young life taken too soon is spreading waves of kindness across the Metro. That kindness is helping a Newalla family to heal despite the heartbreaking loss of their newborn baby.Little Annie Ahern was born with anencephaly, a birth defect where babies brains and skulls never fully develop. Despite knowing the diagnosis about halfway through their pregnancy, the Ahern family decided to carry Annie to term. The precious hours they had with her are now creating a legacy that lives on."I will always look back on that time and that day with such joy because it was one of the most beautiful days of my life," said Abbey Ahern. "And that's amazing that you can say that about the day you lose a child."The 14 hours and 58 minutes Abbey and Robert Ahern spent with baby Annie were a beautiful gift. In those hours she was perfect and she was loved. The family knew they wouldn't have much time, so they had a photographer come out to document every moment."The pictures she got of the girls with their sister I will cherish as long as I live," Ahern said.Around 11:30 p.m. on June 26, 2013 it was time for Annie to say goodbye. This Friday would have been Annie's second birthday. In lieu of a party, Ahern was struck with a different idea. A friend posted on Facebook asking people to do acts of kindness as her birthday present."When I saw that status I knew that was what we were supposed to do for Annie's birthday," said Ahern.So she got to work printing 500 business cards asking friends and family to commit to acts of kindness in Annie's name. Ahern also asked that people share the stories using the hashtag #pistolannieahern.Ahern said, "The response was overwhelming. We went through the first 500 cards in 24 hours."Since then she's had hundreds more printed and they'll soon be in a few Metro area businesses like Salon Envy, The OKC t-shirt shop and Cuppies & Joe. "I have no idea how big or how long this is going to go and I'm excited for that," Ahern said.This Friday there may be tears and Annie will be missed, but if her kindness cards have anything to do with it, she'll never be forgotten."She was so much bigger than 14 hours and 58 minutes. She was far bigger than that."Besides being an inspiration, Annie also influenced protocol at LifeShare transplant services. She was the first infant in the state to donate her organs. Because of her, procedures were put in place for other parents to do the same.To learn more about Annie's kindness project click here.