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Hope Lost, Hope Restored: Loss Brings a Family, Community Together

When their granddaughter Hope died unexpectedly in utero, the Dickens family was there for their daughter. Now, the community is there for the Dickenses.

Screenshot credit: GoFundMe user Tracey Lynn
Screenshot credit: GoFundMe user Tracey Lynn
Chesapeake Beach residents Bob and Karen Dickens were anxiously awaiting the birth of their 10th grandchild in January 2012. 

Their daughter and her partner had made all the preparations for a new baby: tiny clothes, tiny toys, infant car seat installed. However, when they arrived at the hospital for a scheduled Cesarean section, they received devastating news—the baby had no heartbeat.

"Hope Dickens Herdeman was taken by Our Lord before she had a chance to say hello. And her silence will be with the Dickens family until our own last days," wrote Tracey Lynn, sister to Hope's mom, in a GoFundMe page established to help Bob and Karen Dickens.

So, instead of welcoming their new grandchild, the Dickenses had to cope with grief and loss, as well as supporting their grieving daughter—emotionally and financially.

Funeral expenses are high, and Bob and Karen Dickens jumped in to offer financial support to their daughter so Hope could have the burial they all felt she deserved.

Now, Tracey Lynn wants to surprise her parents and ease their financial burden by raising money to pay for Hope's grave marker, and she's asking for community support. 

"We want to recoup some of their cost for this unfortunate life event. My father, a recent retiree after working at Penske for over 30 years, and my mother, a PG County school board employee for almost 25 years, live on a fixed income - like most of us. We are asking if you can donate $5, $20, $100 or whatever your heart can do - it will be extremely appreciated. I understand it's the holiday season and everyone's budget is tight so anything you can donate will be greatly appreciated!" wrote Tracey Lynn.

So far, the community has helped Tracey Lynn raise $2,655, just $345 short of the $3,000 goal. To learn more about the Dickens family, or to help fund Hope's funeral marker, visit the GoFundMe campaign website here

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