As 2014 neared completion, our life was very challenging. We were preparing for the arrival, and expected death, of our daughter, Catherine. We were also planning Catherine’s funeral and buying our family burial plot while trying to keep our spirits for our toddler, Madeline. On the positive side, we came up with the idea of Catherine Cares, filed the necessary paperwork with local and federal governments, and built the initial website. We went public with Catherine Cares on 12/20/14, not knowing Catherine would arrive seven weeks early just 10 days later on 12/30/14.
The immediate support for Catherine Cares was profound, but it was also somewhat shocking as we heard from many friends who suddenly felt empowered to share their own stories. We naively had no idea so many people chose to keep things private.
A few months after we launched, in early 2015, we were given numerous learning opportunities. While support for Catherine Cares continued to grow, some harsh realities were also presented. Specifically, the need to separate our role as Catherine’s parents from running Catherine Cares. This separation was very difficult for the first couple of months after laying Catherine to rest. Has this realization not occurred, our growth and support would’ve stalled and we would’ve never made it to today. Thanks to those who assisted us with this realization.
Families soon began receiving our services through our hospital partnerships within the St. Louis area. Hospitals and families saw value in our services and we quickly spread throughout the midwest. This led us to begin designing and creating new services to assist families. The core of which was our heartbeat bears service.
We delivered our first heartbeat bears to hospitals in early February 2017. Many of our generous St. Louis business supporters such as Ryan Kelley and some of the insideSTL team were there for the initial delivery at various St. Louis hospitals. It was a special day.
Explosive growth followed as hospitals and families throughout the United States and Europe saw the value and impact of our heartbeat bears. This growth required us to focus our energy on being able to maintain and support our current hospital partnerships as well as the numerous new partnerships forming. We pivoted to create numerous programs such as Bucks for Bears as a result, but the growth also meant our existing website design started to no longer fit our needs.
Later that year, on 11/17/17, our family welcomed our third daughter, Hannah, to the world. By now, families from all over were reaching out because they felt empowered to share their stories. Stories of infertility, miscarriage, loss, or a life-threatening diagnoses. We knew they needed a platform to share their stories so we added the empowering families functionality.
While we kept adding to the website to accommodate the new services, programs, and functionality, the website didn’t speak to anyone. Families, restaurant owners, hospitals, businesses, and others would often visit our site, but it had become very disjointed. Our brand and reputation began to suffer from our poor web representation.
Which brings us to today as we launch our new re-designed website which includes additional functionality for website visitors and hospital partners. With the help of Spry Digital, a St. Louis based nationwide company who specializes in positioning companies for success in the digital world, Catherine Cares is now able to effectively speak to our audiences, add additional services, better align with our donors and show visitors the incredible impact we provide to hospitals and families.
We invite you to browse through the website and provide your feedback. If you choose to make a gift or reach out to sign-up for a program or event, we’d be very grateful. But, your feedback on the new site is of the utmost importance. We encourage and welcome all feedback.
Finally, we know we have much left to do. We’re just scratching the surface on the impact we make on families. We have every intention of continuing to do more. Thanks so much for your continued support.
P.S. Be on the lookout as we will soon announce additional ways Catherine Cares will be uplifting even more families!