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Happy concert benefits sad cause

by: ELLEN SPITALERI Whispering Roses of Oak Grove will play at a Saturday benefit for Hayden's Helping Hands. Members are, left to right, sisters Krista, Sarah, Janna and Kathrina Bisceglia. On the right is Rebekka Hauskins, who formed the nonprofit to help parents who have a stillborn baby pay hospital expenses.

Before she gave birth to her stillborn daughter, Hayden, Rebekka Hauskins had not even heard the term 'stillborn' before.

But in July 2010, she and her husband, Randy, experienced this tragedy firsthand - and then the hospital bill arrived.

'When you have a live baby, you don't care about the medical bills, but when you meet your baby and she's dead, you know you earned the bill, but it is not something you look forward to paying,' she said.

But Hauskins, who describes herself as stubborn and determined, felt the need to 'do something good, to change something. To do something that affects the other families' who have had stillborn children.

She chose to start a nonprofit organization called Hayden's Helping Hands with the idea that all money raised would go directly to hospitals to help pay the bills of families who experienced the tragedy of stillbirth.

'I want everyone to know that all the donations go directly to the billing facility. No research is going to stop stillbirths or miscarriages, so the only thing we can control is the bill,' Hauskins said.

'For us, when Hayden died, we had friends who set up an account to help pay the bills, and we want to pay it forward. There is so much bad in the world, we wanted to be able to bring a shred of light to an ugly situation,' she added.

The name for the nonprofit came about because Hauskins said she can 'just see little Hayden and her little hands, wanting to help. She's not here, but she is still helping.'

Whispering Roses

Hauskins, who lives on Blanton Street in Oak Grove, wanted to stage a special event this summer, but the nonprofit was financially incapable of putting one on. But it just so happens that Hauskins lives across the street from the well-known, musically accomplished Bisceglia family, and the four sisters, known as the Whispering Roses, decided they would stage a concert.

After paying the facility rental, the sisters will donate the profits from the concert to Hayden's Helping Hands, and 100 percent of the money from the raffle and silent auction will go to the organization as well, Hauskins said. All of the donated items for the raffle come from local businesses such as Harmony Road Music and Stamp-A-Dee-Do-Da.

Although the concert will take place at Classic Pianos in Southeast Portland, the Bisceglia family is firmly rooted in Clackamas County.

'Our dad grew up in a house on Blanton Street, near where we live now, and we all grew up in Oregon City,' said Sarah Bisceglia. All the girls, plus brother Noah, 13, have been home-schooled, she noted.

The youngest sister, Kathrina, babysits for Hauskins' daughter, Madison, one day a week, so the two families were also connected that way, and the girls wanted to do something to help and support the nonprofit, Bisceglia added.

Whispering Roses is made up of Sarah, who plays the piano; Kathrina, who plays the violin; Krista, on tenor recorder; and Janna, a harpist. They are known for performing Celtic music, but for this concert will play an eclectic mix of ragtime, folk, classical and one special piece, John Denver's 'For Baby.'

'When we heard that Rebekka had started the organization, the thought came to me that we would be able to help - it is a blessing for us to be able to help,' Krista said.

'We love playing music, and we hope that people from the community will come to the concert and enjoy it. We want to support what Rebekka is doing - we are very moved by what she is doing,' Kathrina said.

Janna added, 'This is about establishing a common ground, to feel connected. When we talk to people who had stillbirths, we feel that emotional connection.'

'That connection is huge - stillbirth is not something people talk about. I've been extremely vocal about it. It is important to acknowledge that someone's child existed,' Hauskins said.

And, she noted, 'This is a sad cause, but the concert is a happy event. The girls are taking pleasure in putting it on. Being able to help people in the midst of a tragedy is personally fulfilling, and it changes the person you are helping. One mom said to me that whenever she thinks about her stillborn son, she thinks about Hayden's Helping Hands.'

Fast Facts

• What: Benefit Concert for Hayden's Helping Hands, a nonprofit organization founded to financially assist families with the delivery expenses of a stillborn baby.

• When: Aug. 20 at 7 p.m.

• Where: Classic Piano at 3003 S.E. Milwaukie Ave., Portland.

• Who: Featuring Whispering Roses, a Milwaukie-based group of four sisters who play Celtic and other kinds of music.

• Tickets: $14 for adults and $7 for children (pre-paid); $16 and $9 at the door. For tickets and more information about Whispering Roses, visit http://whisperingroses.net/.

• For more information about Hayden's Helping Hands, and/or to donate money to the organization, visit www.haydenshelpinghands.com.