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Dublin: 18°C Saturday 13 August 2022

Couple whose baby died at Cliffs of Moher return to pay tribute

American husband and wife make new donation to first aid centre at cliffs where their baby son was born prematurely and passed away in 2006.

Kelly Stokes and Delia Garcia-Stokes at the Cliffs of Moher where their son was born prematurely
Kelly Stokes and Delia Garcia-Stokes at the Cliffs of Moher where their son was born prematurely

AN AMERICAN COUPLE whose baby son was born prematurely at the Cliffs of Moher and lived for just an hour made a return trip to Clare on Sunday.

Delia Garcia-Stokes and her husband Kelly Stokes visited the first aid facility at the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre at the weekend. The facility is called Nicholas’ Room after their late baby son. The Stokes presented a cheque for $25,000 to the Mayor of Clare, Cllr Christy Curtin, as part of their ongoing commitment to the treatment room at the tourist attraction. The facility was opened in February 2007, part-funded by an initial donation from the Stokes. It was also the last time the couple had visited the cliffs before last Sunday.

Delia and Kelly had been part of a tour group visiting the Cliffs of Moher in July 2006 when Delia went into premature labour. She had been just 25 weeks’ pregnant with the couple’s first child. Staff at the tourist site helped her into a room where she gave birth. Sadly, baby Nicholas did not live beyond the first hour and died before the family reached a hospital.

Director of the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, Katherine Webster, told that the couple had wanted to commemorate their son and pay tribute to the kindness shown by Clare people to them during and after the tragedy. Webster said:

They feel they have a relationship with the area and that is underpinned by the twinning of Phoenix (in Arizona, where the couple live) and Ennis. They have been supported by the sister cities project which also sees the exchange of young students from Phoenix to Clare and vice versa, and the exchange of ideas between the two places.

Although Kelly has a daughter from a previous relationship, and she accompanied the couple on Sunday, Delia and Kelly have not yet had a child together. Nicholas was to be their first child. He is now buried in a graveyard in Clare and Webster says the couple take great comfort in knowing that local people visit and tend the grave regularly.

Delia told her local paper, The Arizona Republic, that Clare is “part of us now”. She said:

We have family there now. Nicholas is Irish.

Last year alone, 124 people received treatment in Nicholas’s Room. Katherine Webster said that while most were for minor ailments and injuries, they had people in with heart attacks and suffering concussion and even, on a few occasions, with broken limbs. She added:

I feel inspired by Delia and Kelly and how they have turned their personal tragedy into something that benefits and helps so many people every year.

Speaking in Clare on Sunday, Delia said:

It warms our heart to see how many people have benefited from having Nicholas’ Room on site at such a highly visited spot as the Cliffs of Moher. To know that it is here is so important to us and our family and friends and the community that support us in our fundraising in Phoenix.

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