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12 Who Care: Vernetta Stewart uses her personal tragedy as a blessing for others

She created a non-profit organization to help women going through reoccurring miscarriages and infertility.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — First Coast News is proud to bring you the 12 Who Care Community Service Awards to honor the people who make a difference here at home every single day.

We honor 12 unsung heroes who are devoted to making the First Coast a better place to live.

Vernetta Stewart is sharing her own personal tragedy with pregnancy loss. She created a non-profit organization to help women going through reoccurring miscarriages and infertility.

Stewart has always longed to be a mother and dealt with heartbreak not once, not twice, but four times.

“I am the mom of four angel babies,” Stewart said. “I was still trying to process it and forgive myself because we always feel like we did something to make it happen.”

She decided to take action and founded the non-profit organization Footprints of Angels. It provides reproductive financial scholarships, monthly support groups, which are now virtual, and care packages for mothers who have had a pregnancy loss.

“We give them a package. It has a candle in it, a journal, we try to give them some cozy socks, tea, anything to just make them feel warm as they go through that transition,” Stewart said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report 12 percent of women ages 15 to 44 in the United States have trouble getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.

“I think people just don’t understand the journey and what all goes into it like feeling guilty, the shame, doctor’s appointments,” Stewart said. “If you wanted to be a mother ever since you were a child, it’s something that does not just go away.”

Stewart is sharing her personal story to bring healing and hope to the First Coast Community.

“We just want to give them a space where they can talk about their feelings, get it out, process it, and then also be able to support them if they decide to go through the fertility journey,” said Stewart.

Click here for more information on Footprints of Angels.