Murray family to honor daughters memory by helping others

October 20, 2017

Roy and Jennifer Riley of Murray didn't have to think long about how they wanted to support the Baptist Health Foundation Paducah's "Celebrating Miracles, Transforming Lives" capital campaign.

Roy and Jennifer Riley of Murray didn’t have to think long about how they wanted to support the Baptist Health Foundation Paducah’s “Celebrating Miracles, Transforming Lives” capital campaign.

The Rileys drew on their personal experience of losing a child when they decided to partner with the Foundation to help other families. 

Their support will fund construction of a bereavement room in the John and Loree Eckstein Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It will be called the Samantha Elizabeth Riley Bereavement Room, named for their oldest child who was delivered stillborn at Baptist Health Paducah on April 7, 1994.

The Rileys, who also have two other children, said they couldn’t think of a better way to honor their oldest daughter. “This gives us a unique opportunity to honor Samantha in a way that helps others,” Jennifer Riley said. “Unfortunately, there were no bereavement services available when we found ourselves in this situation 23 years ago. Our hope is that this room will enhance the new services that the bereavement team provides, offering some comfort to families who find themselves facing heartbreaking loss. There is nothing worse than saying goodbye to your child.”

The bereavement room will be a quiet place for the family to spend time in the hospital with their infant before making funeral arrangements. 

Roy Lowdenback, Vice President of Business Development for Baptist Health Paducah, said the Rileys’ generosity is so meaningful because they are using their own heartbreaking experience to help other families. “When a tragedy happens, families need a space to spend time with their baby,” Lowdenback said. “This room will serve as a sanctuary for families to come and spend time with their baby, say their goodbyes and create memories."

The Bereavement Services team at Baptist also is trying to educate the public on what services they provide. They will have a display in Larry Barton Atrium in Medical Park 2 on Oct. 25 in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. 

Team member Kimberly Coram, a lactation consultant, said the display is to bring awareness to the services the hospital offers families. Each family who experiences a loss is given resources on grief support groups, depression and counseling. Families also are provided a memory box for keepsakes used in the care of their infant when a loss occurs.

Hospital safety officer Ron Henley makes and donates infant caskets for the families. Coram said several groups also donate handmade gowns, hats and blankets for the babies. 

Although the capital campaign has ended, outreach and naming opportunities are still available. For more information about the Foundation, phone 270.575.2871 or visit