2017 International Award
Millie Smith & Lewis Cann
The MADA INTERNATIONAL award is awarded to an individual who has displayed outstanding dedication or has been responsible for exceptional accomplishments of international significance in the field of multiple-births with a Canadian element or impact on the Canadian multiple-birth community.
The 2017 Making a Difference International Award winner is the Millie Smith & Lewis Cann (The Skye High Foundation).
Millie Smith and Lewis Cann knew early on in their pregnancy in 2016 that their twin daughter Skye had a disorder and would not survive past birth. Despite a pregnancy filled with emotion and anguish, knowing they were going to lose one of their precious girls, the couple had long conversations about how best to remember their daughter. They spent a wonderful three hours with her and cherished every moment. However, it wasn’t until a chance comment from another multiple’s mom in the nursery that their idea for how best to remember Skye came to life. The other new mom casually said, “You’re so lucky you haven’t got twins”. It wasn’t meant to be a heartless remark, but to the family who had just lost one of their twins, the comment was devastating. They decided in that moment to do something to help other families avoid such hurtful times. Especially for those families in the NICU where nurses, doctors, and families are in and out and unable to know the full picture of a lost multiple. From there, The Purple Butterfly campaign was born.
A simple purple butterfly placed on NICU incubators and cribs, with signage up in the hospital, allows those visiting to know that the young baby had a brother(s) or sister(s) that didn’t survive. They can be sensitive to the parents, and supportive in their time of need.
This campaign has taken off, and the Skye High Foundation was launched. The Purple Butterflies can be seen in hospitals across the UK, as well as New Zealand and Australia. Other hospitals around the world are picking up the campaign including the Philippines, USA, and Scotland. The couple is now working on blankets to market and sell in order to fund improved services at their local hospital including providing counselling services to grieving families.
The Smith/Cann family is overcoming their loss and is honouring their daughter, and all multiple babies lost in a truly meaningful way. They are supporting multiple births families around the globe as they struggle during a heartbreaking time, allowing them the dignity and support that they need. We know that Millie Smith and Lewis Cann of the Skye High Foundation have truly honoured their angel Skye, and in doing so have improved the lives of multiple births families and are making a difference on a global scale.
From Millie Smith:
"We are completely humbled and grateful for this award. We originally set this up in memory of our Skye to help her legacy live on. We never believed it would go this far but we are so proud that it has helped so many families. Thank you to whoever nominated us. All we hope is that it brings comfort and some help to any family dealing with a loss of a baby who was part of a multiple birth. All we ask now, is that you help us raise further awareness of the purple butterfly, so it can continue to help many other families in our position across the world.
Our biggest thanks,
Millie and Lewis.
In loving memory of Skye Lily Cann and all her angel friends."