David Beckman-Gaynes is a facilitator for the Stillbirth and Early Infant Loss support groups. He is a husband and father of three boys, the second of whom, Solomon Wing, was stillborn on February 11th, 2017. David and his wife Jill were supported by Pockets of Light through their grief, recovery and subsequent pregnancy and healthy delivery of their third child. David has also contributed to the annual Getting Through the Holidays panel.
David is honored to help facilitate Pockets of Light groups and is a firm believer that grief is a journey through which humans can heal from trauma and make sense of unfathomable loss.
Jill Beckman-Gaynes is a facilitator for the Stillbirth and Early Infant Loss group, along with her husband, David. Together, they have three sons. Their middle son, Solomon, was stillborn at 36 weeks on February 11, 2017, due to a complete concealed placental abruption, the cause of which remains unknown. Jill suffered a massive hemorrhage and feels extremely grateful to the medical team that saved her life and her severely damaged womb.
Jill and David were fortunate to find Pockets of Light soon after their loss. The weekly support group became an essential part of their healing process where they created lifelong friendships. The work of Pockets of Light is so vital and Jill is honored to be a part of it.
In 2019, after meeting with several specialists, therapists, and fertility doctors, Jill and David were blessed with a perfectly healthy rainbow baby. They never would have been emotionally prepared for the journey if it hadn’t been for all of the love and support they received from their Pockets of Light Family.
Originally from the Chicago-land area, Jill has a background in theater and performing arts, having worked in the downtown NYC theater scene for many years. Currently, she is a full-time mom living in Montclair.
Jennifer is Vice-President of Pockets of Light.
After completing her BA in psychology from the State University of New York at the University of Buffalo, Jennifer continued her education at Long Island University, CW Post earning an MA in school counseling. During her work as a high school guidance counselor at the Solomon Schechter Hebrew Day School in New York, Jennifer focused on individual and group counseling for her students.
Jennifer and her husband have three children; their second daughter Zoe having died three days after birth in 2010 from a genetic disorder called Polycystic Kidney Disease. After their loss, Jennifer and her husband organized a fundraiser to raise money for the NICU at the hospital that took care of their daughter. They also created a team where they walk every year to raise money to fight PKD.
Jennifer recently completed the Stillbirthday Birth and Bereavement Doula Certification program which prepares her to provide support to families experiencing any birth outcome during any trimester. Jennifer completed perinatal bereavement training and currently facilitates support groups for Pockets of Light.
Christine is a facilitator for our Stillbirth and Early Infant Loss support group and our Pregnancy After Loss group. She has completed perinatal bereavement training.
After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in health education from Montclair State University in 2008, Christine returned to school at Mountainside Hospital School of Nursing to become a registered nurse. Since graduating from nursing school in 2010, Christine has worked as an Emergency Department nurse at Overlook Medical Center.
In 2013, Christine and her husband Jon found out they were expecting their first child, a baby girl, due to arrive in May of 2014. After an uncomplicated and healthy pregnancy, Christine and Jon were devastated to learn that their daughter Ava’s heart suddenly stopped beating at 38 weeks gestation. Ava was delivered stillborn on May 3, 2014.
Immediately after their loss, Christine used various types of grief support, including online support groups and weekly in-person therapy. Christine always felt that she wanted to help other parents and families suffering the loss of a baby and is so grateful that she has the opportunity to do just that through Pockets of Light.
Christine and Jon were extremely fortunate to bring home two children after Ava’s death. Ava has two little sisters, Emma and Olivia. While these rainbow girls bring so much joy and happiness into Christine and Jon’s lives, they will never forget their first daughter Ava and the lifetime that they lost with her.
Erin is the Executive Director of Pockets of Light.
After graduating with a marketing degree from James Madison University and working as a marketing coordinator for a couple of years, Erin decided to pursue her teaching degree and completed a secondary education program at George Mason University. She taught mathematics at the middle and high school level in Fairfax, VA and Charlotte, NC.
In 2008, Erin’s first child Hailey was stillborn a month shy of her due date. At the time, Erin and her husband were living in Charlotte, NC, and became involved with a non-profit called KinderMourn that offered support to grieving parents. Through participation in KinderMourn’s support group as well as speaking at grief workshops and the annual holiday memorial service, Erin’s interest in helping those who had lost a baby continued to grow.
After relocating to Montclair, NJ a few years ago, in an effort to continue to help bereaved parents, Erin became a community volunteer with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. After some research, she came to the realization that there was very little consistent support in the area for those who had lost a baby and became determined to change that.
Since the loss of Hailey, Erin and Tom were fortunate enough to bring home two healthy children. Sadly, in 2015, they experienced a miscarriage at 10 weeks.
Erin completed perinatal bereavement training and currently facilitates support groups for Pockets of Light.
Tom Truxillo is a facilitator for our Stillbirth and Early Infant Loss and Pregnancy After Loss support groups.
Tom and Erin suffered through years of infertility before conceiving their first child through IVF. Tragically, their daughter Hailey was stillborn a month shy of her due date. After the loss Tom and Erin participated in a KinderMourn support group for grieving parents. Tom will be eternally grateful for the support that KinderMourn provided and hopes that every bereaved parent is able to find help following a loss. While they still lived in Charlotte, Tom stayed involved with KinderMourn by speaking in grief workshops, serving as a mentor for newly bereaved parents, and participating in fundraising events.
Tom is a Portfolio Manager for AIG’s Public Fixed Income group. After graduating with a B.S in Business Administration from Carnegie Mellon University, he began his career working for an Aerospace and Defense consulting firm in Bethesda, MD. After a few years, he decided to pursue his MBA and change his career path. His more than 10 year career in Investment Banking and Asset Management began after he received his M.B.A from the University of Maryland and started working for an investment bank in Charlotte, NC.
Becky is a manager for a small Japanese not for profit in Manhattan. She lived in Japan for 3 years following her undergrad at Lehigh University. After living in Japan she spent a year in Australia on a working holiday visa. Upon returning to the US she wanted to maintain her connection with Japan and contribute to the US-Japan partnership, thus her current position.
She and her husband, Jesse, knew they wanted children after getting married. However, they had trouble conceiving and sought out fertility treatments. Their first round of IVF sadly ended in a miscarriage. In 2019, they were delighted to get pregnant again on their third round and had a picture perfect pregnancy. At 22 weeks, Becky went into preterm labor and their daughter, Turnip, was stillborn. They joined Pockets of Light’s fall 2019 group and were so grateful for the support and friendships they found.
Since losing Turnip, they underwent many more rounds of IVF and had 3 more miscarriages, before bringing home their living son, Luca, in December of 2021.
Jesse and his wife struggled with infertility for many years, and went through numerous rounds of IUI and IVF in order to try and start a family. In 2019, he and his wife lost their daughter, Turnip, to a 22 week stillbirth due to cervical insufficiency. They joined a Pockets of Light support group and received the support they needed. In late 2021, Jesse and Becky welcomed their living son, Luca, into the world. Jesse is happy to be able to give back to Pockets of Light, and any future couples who have gone through this terrible loss.
Jesse lives in Scotch Plains, NJ with his wife, Becky. He has worked in the construction industry his entire life, and is currently a Project Manager for a new home contractor.
In January 2019, at 30 weeks pregnant, Brooke and Scott's son Preston was stillborn. Despite extensive testing, they were given no cause of why they lost him. Brooke and Scott joined the Pockets of Light Stillbirth and Early Infant Loss group and it was a tremendous source of compassion, hope and understanding for them.
They learned that grief, joy and hope can co-exist. After 2 subsequent miscarriages at 9 weeks and 6 weeks, Brooke and Scott welcomed their rainbow baby Dean in December 2020.
Brooke graduated from Gettysburg College and worked in advertising sales in magazine publishing for 12 years. She now works at March of Dimes on Corporate Partnerships. She resides in Westfield, NJ. Brooke and Scott will forever miss their babies that ran ahead and want to provide hope, love and strength to others on their journey. Brooke Vladyka is a facilitator for the Stillbirth and Early Infant Loss group, along with her husband Scott Vladyka.
Scott and Brooke's son Preston was stillborn at 30 weeks in January of 2019. Shortly after experiencing their loss, they joined the Stillbirth and Early Infant Loss group. They found Pockets of Light to be a tremendous resource for them throughout their grief journey and subsequent pregnancies that lead to the healthy delivery of their son Dean in December of 2020.
Scott graduated from Gettysburg College and currently works as a Technical Recruiter for Google. He lives in Westfield NJ. Brooke and Scott hope to deliver the same compassion and hope that Pockets of Light provided to them. Scott is a facilitator for the Stillbirth and Early Infant Loss group along with his wife Brooke Vladyka.