By Abbey Doyle
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Aaron and Suahil Housholder had their lives changed forever on Jan. 21, 2010. That day, they lost their son, Benjamin Aaron, unexpectedly during delivery.
Out of that tragedy, though, the Anderson couple created a fund that in just under three years has blessed 22 other families faced with the same unfortunate situation.
The Benjamin A. Housholder Infant Funeral Fund is better known as The Benjie Fund.
“When we were arranging his funeral we found out that an anonymous donor had paid for it,” Suahil said.
“It impacted us in a really special way. A few weeks later we went to the hospital to discover if there was any sort of fund we could donate to that would help others in our situation and they said nothing like that existed. So we created the fund and named it after our son.”
The fund is managed by Community Hospital Anderson’s foundation. It benefits families at Community who experience the loss of a child during delivery.
“This kind of death is so unexpected,” Suahil said. “This is the one thing you never plan for — a funeral for a baby. So the expense is in addition to the loss. During a time of grieving like that, any kind of financial assistance is so impactful. We know this from personal experience and thought it would be important to try to share with others.”
During the past three years Suahil has organized several fundraisers such as bake sales, vendor events at Anderson University and direct sales parties.
But she wanted to try something bigger and reach out to more in the community, not only raising money for the fund but also awareness of its existence.
Suahil is a Zumba “addict.”
She said she has lost 30 pounds in a year’s time participating in the group fitness-dance class. She thought a Zumbathon would be a fun, healthy way to raise money for the fund.
“It is a great way to kick off any health goals you have created for the new year and you will be benefiting an excellent cause,” Suahil said.
The Zumbathon, presented by East Side Zumba, will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday in the former Sears building at Mounds Mall.
There will be child care available from Big Time Bounce for $2 per child. The fee includes admission and a drink.
Keith Trent, vice president and chief foundation officer at Community Hospital Anderson, said it is “devastating” when a family, excitedly anticipating the arrival of a baby, instead is confronted with the death of that child.
“It is devastating enough but to be confronted with the expense when you never in a million years expected to be faced with it makes it even more difficult,” Trent said. “The help from the fund certainly doesn’t take away the pain. But I think in a small way it gives hope to these families that someone who has walked that painful path before them has established the fund.”
Trent said he is happy the hospital can administer the fund that honors the Housholder’s son and helps so many in the community.
Find Abbey Doyle on Facebook and @heraldbulletin on Twitter, or call 640-4805.