Utah parents Jason and Clarissa Osborn have experienced joy in the past year, but they have also experienced far more than their fair share of heartbreak.
Any parent can tell you that there is nothing more devastating than the loss of a child. Tragically, the Osborns have now lost five children.
What’s worse, tragedy struck the family repeatedly over the course of one year. They first laid to rest their little girl Shanna, and later her four young siblings, quadruplets Lexi, Kylie, Ellie, and Savannah.
But in between losses, the family experienced miraculous moments that they will cherish for a lifetime.
Jason and Clarissa, already loving parents to their son Carter, had always wanted to grow their family. But Clarissa was struck by brain tumors shortly after his birth. The radiation she received as a result meant that — much like the family that spent three years struggling to conceive — Clarissa had trouble getting pregnant again.
Brain tumors would be enough for any family to worry about, but for the Osborns, it was just the beginning.
[H/T: People Magazine]
For Clarissa and Jason Osborn, the journey started with a simple wish.
Already parents to their sweet little boy Carter, they wanted to grow their family and give Carter siblings to dote on.
But Clarissa struggled to conceive after receiving radiation therapy for brain tumors. Thanks to fertility treatments, however, she was finally able to get pregnant again.
Sadly, during Clarissa’s 20-week ultrasound, they learned that something was wrong.
The tiny baby growing inside had a heart defect caused by a rare chromosomal irregularity, called 22q11.
Shanna was born in April 2016. She had heart surgery immediately after birth, and then went home to her family.
However, just three months after arriving, Shanna passed away, leaving a hole in the Osborn family.
Then, the Osborns got their second miracle pregnancy: this time with quadruplets, all girls.
The family was ecstatic, and once again prepared for new additions to their family.
The community rallied around them; BYUtv’s Random Acts even through the Osborns a surprise baby shower.
However, the Osborn quadruplets came into this world too soon.
In June, just 22 weeks into her pregnancy, Clarissa went into labor, delivering four little girls who were each under 1 pound.
They named them Lexi, Kylie, Savannah, and Ellie.
Clarissa and Jason loved their little girls for every moment that they had them, but all four little ones passed away within three days.
The viability point for a single pregnancy is 21 weeks, and a multiple pregnancy is riskier. The little girls were simply too small.
Still, their brief time on Earth left a powerful impression.
It was incredibly painful for the Osborns to experience so much loss in such a short period of time.
They lost all five of their daughters over the course of just 11 months.
Jason tells People, “After already losing one daughter, to lose another four was heart-wrenching. I kept thinking, ‘Why all four? Couldn’t just one have made it?’ It was extremely difficult to realize that none of them were coming home.”
The Osborns laid their quadruplets to rest, but Clarissa couldn’t face the thought of going back home to a house full of cribs and onesies and diapers still in their wrapping.
Instead, they reached out to the charity Intermountain Healing Hearts, who arranged to have all their new baby gear distributed out to other families in the area.
As Clarissa explains in the same People interview, “It was important to us to pay it forward somehow.”
In fact, the family has fully embraced the idea of ‘paying it forward.’
They set up the Shanna Kay Osborn Foundation, a charitable foundation and scholarship in memory of their oldest daughter, in order to help families coping with some of the same struggles and pressures.
Specifically, the foundation hands out college scholarships to young adults living with 22q11, the same chromosomal condition Shanna had.
They have also partnered up with Intermountain Healing Hearts to continue giving baby supplies to families who are coping with infant heart surgery.
All of their acts of kindness help them to remember their daughters and the brief, beautiful impact all five little girls had on their lives.
To learn more about the Osborn family and their charitable work, check out the Shanna Kay Osborn Foundation and One in a Million- The Osborns.
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