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Families Mourning Children Travel to Nashville for July Compassionate Friends National Conference
Date:7/1/2008

The Compassionate Friends self-help support organization for families going through the natural grieving process following the death of a child is hosting its 31st national conference July 18-20 in Nashville, Tennessee. More than 1300 parents, siblings, and grandparents, as well as professionals who provide support, are expected to attend the conference. Highlights include well-known speakers, more than 100 workshops covering most aspects of grief following the death, a pre-conference Professional Outreach Day, and the Walk to Remember Sunday July 20 at 8 a.m. This conference is annually the largest in the United States aimed specifically for those left behind following the death of a child.

Oak Brook, IL (PRWEB) July 1, 2008 -- More than 1300 bereaved parents, siblings, and grandparents, as well as professionals who provide them support, are preparing to attend The Compassionate Friends 31st National Conference July 18-20 in Nashville, Tennessee, the largest bereavement conference held annually in the U.S. specifically for families where a child has died.

"This conference was designed from the beginning, to be a healing experience," says TCF Executive Director Patricia Loder, a bereaved parent and sibling herself. "The many who come will find friendship, understanding, and hope to assist them as they work their way through the natural, but difficult, grieving process after the death of a child."

The Compassionate Friends is the world's largest self-help bereavement organization and TCF/USA has more than 600 chapters in the United States providing support on the local level for many who are simply trying to survive the weeks, months, and years after a child in their family has died.

The conference will feature more than 100 workshops covering a multitude of areas of interest to bereaved parents, siblings, grandparents, and others in some type of parental or support role. Keynote speakers at the Friday and Saturday banquets are: Bruce Murakami, who bonded and teamed, in the name of safety and saving lives, with the drag racing teen who ended the life of his wife and daughter. His inspirational story was made into the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie "Crossroads: A Story of Forgiveness"; and Darrell Scott whose daughter was the first to be killed at Columbine. Out of her death-and her life-was born "Rachel's Challenge," a program that has been presented at more than a thousand high schools to inspire students to pass along kindness and compassion. Darrell has spoken about the program to more than 5 million people in live settings.

Entertainment includes two-time Grammy Award winning Nashville Bluegrass Band and Grammy nominee Beth Nielsen Chapman.

A major highlight of the conference is the Ninth Annual Walk to Remember at 8 a.m. Sunday, starting at the host Sheraton Music City Hotel. As many as 1500 are expected to walk in memory of their children, siblings, grandchildren and all other children who have died. Last year more than 10,000 names were estimated to have been carried during the Walk. Registration is suggested.

Other conference highlights include a silent auction, memory boards, hospitality suites, Reflection Room and a fully stocked bookstore. Thursday, a pre-conference Professional Outreach Day is open to professionals who provide support to families after the death of a child. The general public may also register.

While pre-registration has closed, there will be onsite registration at the Sheraton Music City Hotel starting Thursday, July 17. Visit www.compassionatefriends.org for details on the conference or call toll-free 877-969-0010 for conference information and local chapter referral.

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