ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Organizers held “A Walk to Remember” on Sunday for the 33rd year.

It gave grieving families that have experienced an infant death a chance to remember and honor their children. Organizers said that about 150 people usually come out every year. Infant mortality is the death of an infant before their first birthday.

The rate in the U.S. was 5.4 deaths per 1,000 live births last year.

“I’m here because I lost Rylan, our daughter,” said Janesa Gravenstein. “She was two days old when she passed away.”

Gravenstein and her family showed up in matching shirts on Sunday to take a stroll along the Rock River for “A Walk to Remember.” The experience of losing a child was devastating for Gravenstein, and she said that she is not sure how her daughter passed away.

“We did not expect to lose Rylan,” Gravenstein said. “We went in the hospital knowing we were going to have a baby, and we came home with nothing. We came home with not having a baby.”

Fitzgerald Funeral Home is one of three sponsors for the event. Funeral Director Melinda Hagerman believes that this was a chance for families to get support no matter how much time has passed.

“We have families that come every year that say, ‘my baby was buried, there isn’t even a marker,'” Hagerman said. “Our society doesn’t do a real good job with infant death, we kind of tend to sweep it under the rug, so this is an opportunity for them to get together and share that, share those feelings.”

Gravenstein urged expecting mothers to be fully aware of what is going on with their pregnancy because it might make the difference in life or death. She said that it is an unfortunate thing to bond over, but it helps knowing that she is not alone.

“It feels good, we all share the same thing, we all share the same loss,” Gravenstein said. “We all share empty arms, we all share the same thing. We all share the same heart broken.”

The group walked for about a mile, ending near Auburn Street Bridge. Hagerman said that they have dedicated a couple of park benches, trees and now a brick walkway engraved with infant names so families have a place to go and remember.