It is with a heavy heart that I share this story with you to start off the new year. My hope is that it will inspire each of you to rise up, this year, to take action in your own breastfeeding community and get involved by supporting breastfeeding mothers when and where you are needed. December 19th was the day that I was added to the Milk for Brixton Closed Facebook Group. Not having the time at that very moment to look into it further, I came back to it the following day only to discover that a breastfeeding baby, youngest sibling of 5 children, had recently lost his mother. I was floored with disbelief. I wanted to help. Since I am exclusively breastfeeding, I began to think of how horrible it must have been for the 5 month old, Brixton, to have to transition after this loss. However, there was such a beautiful rainbow in the midst of this storm. A tightly knit community of babywearing, breastfeeding mothers — bound together by this silenced mother-baby bond, decided something needed to be done to help young Brixton honor his mother’s goal to breastfeed for 1 year. Kristina Pulistar, Southern California babywearing and breastfeeding mother, founded the Milk for Brixton Project and found a way to streamline all of the efforts of mothers wanting to contribute breast milk, storage space, and transportation services for the grieving family. December 23, 2014, I had the opportunity to speak with Kristina Pulistar on the phone. I offered my condolences, thanked her for taking on such a time consuming task, and asked her to share Liz’s story with me. I couldn’t help but feel emotional about the whole thing. I didn’t have any milk to offer to donate since I wasn’t storing any, but that very day, I changed my diet and have continued to eat a diet focused around building a more efficient milk supply in an effort to join the moms who have generously donated their time and breast milk to help Brixton reach Liz’s goal of 1 year of breastfeeding. I have said it before and I’ll say it again if you pump exclusively to provide nourishment for your child, you are breastfeeding. Brixton is now being fed breast milk by proud mothers across Southern California! Together they are using this situation to normalize one the oldest methods used for infant feeding – donor milk! Kristina has created a clear plan to pump, store, drop off/pick up, and deliver large amounts of breast milk to Liz’s family, to honor her goal of breastfeeding Brixton until he is 1 year old.
The Unfortunate Story of Liz’s Passing
“Liz Marquez was a healthy 32 year old mom of 5. She suffered from cardiac arrest on December 7, 2014 and entered a coma. She had begun to show minor signs of improvement, but tragically, after 8 days in a coma An EGG test confirmed no activity in her brain. On day 9 (December 16, 2014) the family decided remove the life support and allow her to pass on.
Liz left behind her 5 children and a husband. The youngest, Brixton, born a 32 week preemie, was just 5 months old. He had only been home from the NICU a short while.”
“She saw how much the breast milk helped him through his many trials in the beginning of his life and his NICU stay. Liz was a huge part of our local babywearing community and has touched so many lives across the world through online Babywearing forums. She was kind, generous, and a real personality that quickly found lifetime friends within our groups.”
A Few Words about the Project from Liz’s Family & Friends:
“I know how important it was to my wife that our child be purely breast fed for at least 1 year, I feel it’s part of my commitment to carry that goal out for my wife.” -Brian M. (Husband)
“I love the breast milk donation program, my sisters only wish was to have her preemie baby taken care when she couldn’t. Breast feeding mommies rock!” -Stacey V. (Sister)
“When Brix was born at 32 weeks a preemie in the hospital. And Liz was barely producing enough milk I was feeding my 4 month old baby and pumping for brixton. My body couldn’t do it tho. I was unable to feed 2 babies. So Liz started getting donor milk. I would stumble across some every now and then to help out. I was always on the hunt in my mommy group. With my best friend gone I was worried about how I was going to get enough milk for Brixton. Then I seen an amazing person offering to drive all around to collect breast milk. I was amazed at the kind of friends my best friend had made in the baby wearing community. Kristina is a true angel to start this. this is amazing what she has started. And it’s even more amazing seeing all these mommas ready to jump in and help. People who have never met Liz or her babies are touched by her story and are willing to help. I am so happy to see this help for my best friend and Brixton.” -La Nina W. (Childhood Friend)
From Kristina Pulistar, Founder of the Milk for Brixton Project:
“Even in death, Liz was selfless. She was an organ donor who saved lives with her heart, kidneys, lungs, and liver.
Our community has rallied to help the transition for the children and to get Brixton to that 1 year goal in honor of his mama. Her babies were her world and we’ve all assumed the role of making sure they are ok.
To help Brixton get to his goal, I created the Milk For Brixton project. A milk drive to collect donated breastmilk from moms all over Southern California. So many generous moms have reached out to donate their time, space, and milk.”
“Milk for Brixton currently has 13 drop locations and has Collected over 1,500 ozs of milk in just 6 days. We have moms with deep freezers hosting the milk until the family needs to refill their own freezer. We also have moms doing pick ups and drop offs. Then we have our donating moms! Some are ongoing, some are one time donations, but every ounce is helping Brixton reach his goal!
The big story behind this is the rallying of the community for one of members. It’s such a beautiful, comforting feeling to know I am a part of a group of moms/dads that really look out for each other.”
How you can help!
The Milk For Brixton Project is in need of milk bags to replenish our donors, gas cards for our transporters who are driving all over Southern California, ice packs for transport coolers, and a few coolers for our runners. We are also in need a few more host spots and milk donors! For more information about how to become a host or donor or to help the project in other ways please contact Kristina.
For financial donations that will go directly to the children, we have set up a GoFundMe account. This collection is being sent to Liz’s Sister who has set up an account for the children.
For gifts, toys, food store gift cards, clothing donations, diapers, Please contact Kristina for a forwarding address.
My love and prayers go out to the Marquez family during this incredibly difficult time. I hope that when these children grow up they are filled with love and compassion because the response of the many families who stood with them to grieve the loss of their mama.
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Christmas Donations for the Marquez Children
Kristina Pulistar, Founder of the Milk for Brixton Project photo credit CBS Los Angeles
Husband to Liz and Brixton’s Dad photo credit CBS Los Angeles
Liz’s Sister, Stacey, feeding Brixton the donated breastmilk. Photo credit CBS Los Angeles
Money fundraise is used to purchase deep freezer to store the donated breast milk.
Follow Project on Twitter and Instagram @MilkforBrixton hashtag #MilkforBrixton
Logo by QuasiCo Creative Studio
Sister, Stacey Villanueva with Baby Brixton @ 6mo
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