Dustin and Tasha Ruholl have been inspired to make a difference out of their tragedy and grief following the loss of their late son, Daniel Anthony. They are asking those in the community to help give families, who will also travel down the unimaginable path of losing a child, the gift of time.
These Teutopolis natives lost their son, Daniel, to stillbirth on October 16, 2017. Daniel was born just eight weeks shy of his due date, weighing 3 pounds, 10 ounces. Tasha Ruholl said, “We tried to only memorize him-- to remember how our fingers seemed to soften as we ran our hands through his delicate brown hair, how the presence of his weight in our arms seemed to fill a part of the emptiness in our hearts. I couldn’t help but think how perfectly he laid on my chest, as if he somehow knew he belonged there.”
They soon learned time was not kind to Daniel. Dustin and Tasha were encouraged by their caring nurses at Sarah Bush Lincoln to send Daniel to the morgue for several hours at a time in effort to preserve him. Tasha recalled, “Calling the nurse to request Daniel to be taken to the morgue was unbearable. Watching him being taken away while knowing where he was destined to remain caused unfathomable physical and emotional pain.”
During the short time they spent with Daniel, Dustin and Tasha shared these precious moments with their families to help them also process their loss of a grandson and nephew.
A few months after Daniel’s passing, Dustin and Tasha learned of the CuddleCot system. This device cools the baby allowing the infant to stay with their family, delaying use of the morgue and significantly preserving the baby’s delicate features. This ultimately gives families the gift of more time with their sleeping baby. The cooling pad can be placed in a basinet or even used as a blanket so baby can remain in the arms of their family.
Dustin and Tasha’s initial goal was to raise enough funds in Daniel’s memory to provide a CuddleCot to Sarah Bush Lincoln, because this is where Daniel was born and where Tasha works as a speech-language pathologist. Pending the amount they raised, they also hoped to donate a CuddleCot to St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital in Effingham, the hospital in their hometown area. However, Tasha and Dustin have already raised enough funds to purchase five CuddleCots prior to their planned fundraiser. They will be continuing their mission by donating additional CuddleCots to other hospitals in Central Illinois.
They will be hosting a fundraiser at McMahon Meats in Teutopolis from 11am to 6:30pm, Friday, September 28. The lunch and dinner drive through includes a choice of pork burger or hamburger, chips, and water. Free-will donations will be accepted. Contact Tasha Ruholl by September 27 with group orders at [email protected]. Know that your donations will benefit families for years to come.
For those that cannot participate in the fundraiser but would still like to donate, please visit their fundraising page on Facebook, “Daniel’s CuddleCot for Angels.”
The family extends its gratitude to the community's generosity and support.