Delia Garcia-Stokes and her husband Kelly Stokes, were visiting the Cliffs of Moher from Phoenix, Arizona in 2010 when she prematurely went into labor and her son Nicholas died. Last weekend they visited the new first aid clinic at the visitor center called 'Nicholas' Room' and paid tribute to the Irish people for remembering their son.
Delia pointed out "There are more than 1 million visitors every year to the Cliffs of Moher, and clearly, things can happen." She knows only too well.
Last summer, having received clearance from her doctors, Delia and her husband travelled to Ireland for a vacation. At 25 weeks she went into labor. Their son was born and lived just one hour. The named him Nicholas.
Delia told the Arizona Republic he was born "Late enough that Nicholas was a real person, but too early for him to survive."
The couple were devastated and far from home on the west coast of Ireland.
"Our initial reaction was: we just wanted to get home as quickly as possible to our family and friends," Garcia said. However, the Irish nurses, doctors and total strangers slowed the couple. After mulling it over the couple decided that their son should be buried in Ennis, County Clare.
She said "We were at peace with the decision, and we knew we would be back. We knew immediately that we wanted to do something…Everyone took such good care of us during this very difficult time. Words cannot express our gratitude for how they treated us, but in some small measure, this does."
Having returned to Arizona the couple set to raising fund for the medical centre.
Speaking at a National Tourism Conference Banquet in 2006 Garcia said "We have been overwhelmed by the support and assistance given to us by the people of Ireland following the tragic events which occurred on our first visit to the Cliffs of Moher. We wish to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to the staff at the Cliffs of Moher, the nurses and staff at the Regional Maternity Hospital in Limerick City and everybody who showed such kindness to us in the immediate period after the death of our son, Nicholas."
Garcia spoke about how the Irish people and her tragedy in Ireland has deeply linked the couple to the country. She said "It's a part of us now. We have family there now. Nicholas is Irish." Nicholas' grave continues to be tended by local Ennis people who visit his grave.
Last weekend as the couple visited "Nicholas' Room" Katherine Webster the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience Director said that the couple wanted to mark Nicholas' life and pay tribute to the people of Ennis and Clare.
She said "They feel they have a relationship with the area and that is underpinned by the twinning of Phoenix (in Arizona, where the couple live) and Ennis. They have been supported by the sister cities project which also sees the exchange of young students from Phoenix to Clare and vice versa, and the exchange of ideas between the two places. "
She continued "I feel inspired by Delia and Kelly and how they have turned their personal tragedy into something that benefits and helps so many people every year."
Speaking last Sunday Delia said "It warms our heart to see how many people have benefited from having Nicholas’ Room on site at such a highly visited spot as the Cliffs of Moher. To know that it is here is so important to us and our family and friends and the community that support us in our fundraising in Phoenix."