KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Four years ago Monday, Kelly and Daniel Bishop’s daughter Reagan was born at Indian Path Community Hospital.
She lived for one hour.
“We got to hold her, talk to her, sing to her,” Daniel Bishop told News Channel 11. “All the family got to be there. We had 30 people crushed in a little hospital room at Indian Path, and it was the hardest thing we had ever gone through in our life. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”
When gyms closed during the COVID-19 pandemic a few months later, Bishop started running the trails at Bays Mountain to cope with his grief.
“It was on one of those trail runs, I called my brother and said, ‘I have a crazy thought: we should run a marathon,'” Bishop said.
At that time, Bishop said, he’d only run three miles, but his brother had a perfect goal for them to work towards together.
The route for the Richmond Marathon is near his brother’s house and always falls on the mid-November weekend close to Reagan’s birthday.
The pair agreed to train for the 2021 marathon.
In the interim, the Bishop family experienced a second tragedy: the loss of a second child, Ian, this time at 19 weeks gestation, in 2020.
Once again, Bishop’s runs helped him cope and sparked an idea of how to move forward.
“I call my wife afterward, and I’d been thinking. I had been processing things and I said, ‘I want to help other people,'” Bishop said.
The pair decided to found the Regan and Ian Foundation with the goal of helping others through the experience of losing a child.
“You feel like you’re alone when you’re going through something like this, and we wanted to do something that could impact others, that our children’s stories wouldn’t be forgotten,” Bishop said.
The couple is working to get their non-profit off the ground and using Bishop’s marathon experiences to generate interest in their work.
Bishop completed the Richmond Marathon again on Saturday.
“I wear my Reagan Foundation shirt, I do news interviews, I try to get the word out as much as possible,” Bishop said. “It’s a way to share and to get the word out, to hopefully reach families with it.”
In 2023, Bishop said the foundation’s work has gotten underway. The foundation connects with local photographers who are willing to specialize in “loss photography,” to take delivery room portraits and work to get grief boxes placed in birthing centers across the area.
Though the foundation cannot yet accept monetary donations, they welcome crafts like baby blankets or bracelets to provide to grieving families, Bishop said.
“Funeral gowns, I know that’s a hard thing to think about, but we were given a funeral gown for our daughter, and it was a huge blessing,” Bishop said.
Bishop also encourages grieving parents or those who know a grieving parent to reach out; his goal is to ensure families know they aren’t alone.
“There is hope and there’s others that have gone through it,” Bishop said.