Opened in 1999, the Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief has helped the Memphis community in immeasurable ways. On March 1st, Baptist Memorial Health Care announced that the Grief Center will be expanding to two new locations in 2017. This is to accommodate a high demand for grief support and offer their crucial services to residents in other locations.
The first new facility will open this summer in Midtown, Memphis, on the property of Idlewild Presbyterian Church. The second center, to be located within NEA Baptist in Jonesboro, AR, will begin serving the community this fall.
“We started our program in 1999 and it has grown and grown,” says Angela Hamblen Kelly, Director of the Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief. “The community has kept saying, ‘we need more, we need more’.”
The new Midtown location, called the Kemmons Wilson Family Center for Good Grief, Milla’s House, is named in memory of Milla Gieselmann, the 6-year-old daughter of Memphis couple Frazer and Dana Gieselmann. In November 2016, Milla died from Batten disease, an inherited neurodegenerative disorder that does not currently have a cure. The Gieselmanns’ 5-year-old daughter, Elle, also tested positive for Batten disease. The Gieselmanns and their extended family and friends have relied heavily on the Grief Center during their complicated journey.
The comprehensive Grief Center on the Collierville campus has seen people from throughout the Mid-South community, including Fayette County, Tipton County, and all parts of Mississippi. With the overwhelming demand for this unique service, it was clear that expansion was needed to meet those needs.
“We’ve had an extensive waiting list, and when you’re talking about grief and people trying to cope with a major life change, the death of a loved one, telling them they have to wait – that’s very hard,” says Kelly. “We wanted to be able to offer more services and have a variety of options so that transportation would be easy for people.”
While Camp Good Grief will be limited to Memphis for now, both new locations will offer individual grief counseling for children, teens, and adults; grief support groups; and grief workshops, all free of charge. To find out more about these services, visit the Grief Center’s website or call 901-861-5656.
“We couldn’t do this without the generosity of many donors in our community,” says Kelly. “They have rallied behind us to help support these programs since they are free of charge.”