On the Tuesday, Dec. 31, the Unforgettables Foundation held its 20th annual Memorial Walk and Lights for Little Lives presentation.
A group of approximately 200 people gathered at the Ronald McDonald House in Loma Linda for the brief ceremony. The White Wing Ceremony Company, from Highland, provided doves for the families to release, during the ceremony.
After several honored guests were recognized, the group, comprised of families and friends of children that have passed in 2019, local dignitaries and other supporters wound their way up to the Campus Hill Church escorted by a fire truck from the Loma Linda Fire Department.
Huge portraits, framed pictures, favorite toys, T-shirts with photographs and mementos could be seen of the children who were being honored during the program.
The service in the church included the lighting of the candelabras, singing and recognition of doctors and individuals who have either devoted their time to the foundation or have helped save a child’s life.
The “reading of the names” took place near the end of the service with several individuals reading the names of those that were being remembered.
The recognition of lives event concluded with families coming to the altar, stating their child’s name and lighting a candle, in remembrance of their loved one.
During the ceremony, longtime supporter, co-chair and event organizer Linda Stratton was honored for her commitment and devotion to the Unforgettables and the children and families of the community.
Laurianne Serrano-Alvarado and her mother Dorothy Fierro were at the church waiting for the procession to arrive.
Serrano-Alvarado lost her 16-year-old son, Dennis Christian Alvarado Jr., on Aug. 22, 2019.
“My son passed away two weeks after his birthday,” Serrano-Alvarado said. “We had a party with him with the hospital staff and the family. That was the last time that we were all together.”
Serrano-Alvarado appreciates the Unforgettables and what they do.
“We are very dedicated to this event for my son and the other children that are no longer with us. We always will [be],” Serrano-Alvarado said. “The Unforgettables and the Children’s Fund helped with the mortuary costs. These children will not be forgotten.
“This service is a time for healing. It’s a positive thing. It lets people know that they are not alone.”
Henry Cruz carried a huge portrait of his granddaughter Ariana Villalobos who passed away in October at the age of 15.
“This service let’s people know that there are people that can relate to them,” said Nikki Villalobos, mother of Ariana Villalobos.
Ariana had stage 4 brain cancer commented her mother.
“This is a beautiful way to remember your child,” Villalobos said. “My daughter will never be forgotten. The Unforgettables helped us with her services. We are very grateful for their help.”
“This is our 20th year of having this memorial service,” said Tim Evans, founder of the Unforgettables. “Families come back here year after year keeping the name of their child alive.
“It’s a very important gift that we, as a community, give to these people that have been grieving. They are not just grieving now, but they will be grieving the rest of their lives.
“It is wonderful that all these people come out and surround these families that have lost children with love and caring.
“It let’s them know that their child will not be forgotten. After all, we are the Unforgettables.”