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UT project that helps grieving families after losing a child expands to Nashville, Las Vegas

Since 2012, the Precious Prints Project has given away more than 1,000 free fingerprint charms to families that have lost a child.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn — A program that began in East Tennessee Children's Hospital to help grieving families is now expanding to Nashville and Las Vegas. 

Since 2012, the Precious Prints Project at UT's College of Nursing has been offering free fingerprint charms to families that have lost a child. It's in partnership with jewelry company Precious Metal Prints.

UT students help fundraise to make sure the charms are free to families. More than 1,000 have been given away since the project started.

On May 15, Margaret Basehart gave birth to her daughter, Daisy. For 11 days, she spent every minute with her. On May 26, Daisy passed away. 

Basehart now clutches a small, tangible, priceless memory of her daughter that's all made possible by students. She's been wearing the necklace for almost seven months. 

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"Never did I think I would be a recipient or could be a recipient," she said. "She's with me every day. I felt for a minute when I opened it that I wasn't alone and someone took the time to do this."

The Precious Prints Project was created by Lynne Miller at UT's College of Nursing. "There isn't one kit that doesn't go out without a special wish or prayer," she said. 

Knoxville-area nurses offer the free service to moms like Basehart and families who lose a child.

"I know there's grief and really nothing we can do to fix that," said Miller. 

The project is almost all student-run. Eva Huff, a junior, has a personal connection that inspired her to help.

"My mom actually lost twins at 26 weeks,"  she said.

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She enjoys being able to give something to those that lost a child, something her mom never had.

"That's been something that's really impressed on me is how meaningful this project really is," said Basehart. "Sometimes you feel like, is anyone gonna remember my baby? Remember that they were here and remember everything we went through? The answer is they will. And they do."

It was a simple idea from Miller with help from students that has meant more to families than they ever expected. 

"To meet them and see they're working for parents to have a remembrance of their lost children is amazing. I don't think they even understand the impact that they have," said Basehart. 

Nursing students from Union University will help bring the project to Nashville at TriStar Centennial. Students from the University of Nevada Las Vegas will bring it to that area next year. 

More information about the project can be found here.

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