The Dedication Of A Memorial Bench To Honor "HOTLINE" Holly Lucard
For her years of telephone nurturing and selfless dedication to the breastfeeding community
Holly Lucard was honored Saturday, the 18th of June 2011, with a memorial bench and plaque in the preschool section of Alverthorpe Park in Abington Township, PA by her friends and colleagues of Pro-LC. The dedication was attended by her family, and many lactation friends, who wishes to honor her continuing legacy. Mara Brand, Debi Ferrarello, and Colette Acker were instrumental in making the dream a reality. The day was warm and sunny, providing the perfect backdrop for celebrating a life that spread such caring to all Holly came in contact. Debi mentioned how much she loved her family, Holly’s first love, and how Holly had such a gift to listen with compassion and make the caller feel so valued and cared for. Nikki Lee read an interview in Holly's own words she had written for the Pro-LC newsletter several years ago. Her advice is still very pertinent and insightful today.
For fourteen years, "Hotline Holly" was the voice of the Nursing Mothers' Advisory Council. A volunteer counselor with Abington Nursing Mothers since the days when her own children, now adults, were infants, Holly constantly sought to increase her knowledge and skills to benefit mothers and infants. She took classes, obtained clinical hours, and sat through a grueling six hour examination to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), but her passion was always in volunteer counseling.
Breastfeeding is an important public health initiative as it provides significant health protection for ear infections, gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, and diabetes for children, as well as breast and ovarian cancer for women. Yet while virtually every major health organization including the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the America Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for a year or more, American women often meet barriers that threaten their breastfeeding success. For countless mothers, Holly Lucard was a source of encouragement, wisdom, advice, and sanity. From early in the morning until late into the night, Holly would listen to mothers' sense of desperation and help them gain perspective, answer a wide range of breastfeeding questions, and make referrals for additional assistance when needed.
Convinced that breastfeeding services needed to be accessible to all, Holly played a role in dreaming and developing the nonprofit Breastfeeding Resource Center of Abington. She envisioned a warm and welcome place where mothers of all incomes could receive professional assistance from an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant when more than telephone counseling and support groups was needed. The Breastfeeding Resource Center is just such a place and Colette Acker acknowledged Holly's support as she began her journey as director of the Resource Center.
Several mothers and grandmothers attending a birthday party at the pavilion next to the playground where the bench is located commented that they understood perfectly why our group chose to honor Holly’s contribution to breastfeeding. One grandmother stated that "breastfeeding was one of the most important things her & her daughters had ever done, and they both appreciated the support they had received from counselors like Holly."