Trigger warning: infant loss
Julie Kaser and her family were able to spend only 29 precious days with their newborn son Oscar, yet his legacy shines on.
Kaser started a small business, Oscar’s Garage in honor of her second son, Oscar, who had Trisomy 13 and died in the NICU at Toledo Children’s Hospital in 2017.
Kaser said if Oscar had lived, she would have created custom items to make his life easier and more comfortable. “Since I don’t have that opportunity to use my talents for Oscar,” she explained, “I am using my gift to make handmade products for others.”
Kaser makes masks, lanyards and other products and sells them through her Facebook group, Oscar’s Garage & OscarStrong. The masks include fun children’s prints and characters from Peppa Pig, Frozen and Marvel. She started making the masks when the pandemic first started for healthcare workers. She recalls, “I saw a need and thought what a beautiful way to honor Oscar by making and donating masks in his memory. I posted on Facebook what I was planning to do and I began getting requests for masks from non-frontline workers, so I began making and selling masks [for anyone].”
Oscar was born five weeks early, and the Kaser family did not know if they would have minutes or hours. She said they were blessed to have 29 days with him.
“During his time on earth he was never left. Someone was always with him in the NICU, whether that was me, my husband, or one of his grandmas. He was tiny most of his life, under five pounds, but you wouldn’t believe the joy and hope that child brought to so many that didn’t even know him,” she confesses. “Through Oscar we learned that every life is precious, regardless of an individual’s ability, and that we will be reunited again someday with Oscar in heaven.”
Trisomy 13 is a genetic disorder in which the baby has three copies of chromosome 13, instead of the usual two copies in the cells of the body. It also includes a combination of birth defects.
Kaser would like to tell fellow parents who have gone through an infant or pregnancy loss that they’re not alone: “Your grief is real and you are allowed to grieve. I encourage you to eventually use your pain and sadness to help others. My husband and I are better people because of Oscar.”
Kaser takes mask request orders via email at email@example.com and hopes to have an Etsy shop up soon.