Who we are
Learn more about our PAIL Network Team
Michelle La Fontaine
Michelle La Fontaine is the Program Manager of Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) Network. Michelle benefitted from peer support provided by PAIL Network to her and her family after the loss of their twins in 2005. Michelle is devoted to helping families get the support and resources they need to learn how to incorporate the loss of a baby into their lives in order to find hope. She was instrumental in the development and advocacy around the passing of Bill 141: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, Research and Care Act, 2015 and is forever grateful to Mike Colle for this legislation.
Michelle enjoys any opportunities to spend time with family, friends, and a good book.
Amy Muhr is the Volunteer Resource and Support Coordinator for PAIL Network. Amy brings more than 13 years of experience working with volunteers in various capacities to her current role of coordinating over 100 peer support volunteers across Ontario. She is devoted to fostering a supportive program for all volunteers who share their heart and time with families who are grieving the loss of their pregnancy or the death of their baby. Amy enjoys a rural life on a lake and painting.
Stacy Radford is the Referrals Coordinator for PAIL Network. In this role, Stacy introduces families who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss to the PAIL Network’s Family Support Program, and helps to get families connected with peer support offered by PAIL Network’s trained volunteers.
Stacy has experience working in municipal government in the social services sector which has allowed her to connect with vulnerable people in a way that is respectful and collaborative, in order to best understand how the program can meet their needs.
As the Special Projects Coordinator, Suzie oversees a wide range of initiatives, including PAIL Network’s commemorative events, volunteer onboarding and engagement events, and Compassionate Care Workshops. She also works behind the scenes to develop internal processes and database training for staff and peer-volunteers.
Before joining PAIL Network in 2017, Suzie spent over 12 years working as a teacher and program coordinator in the not-for-profit sector supporting children living with serious illness and their families. She has had the privilege to teach in Toronto, and internationally in Jamaica, South Korea, and Australia. She has recently completed her Certificate in Children’s Grief and Bereavement at the SickKids Centre for Community Mental Health, and is passionate about building inclusive spaces and providing opportunities for people to grieve and be supported by community.
When she isn’t working, Suzie can likely be found exploring ravines and forests with her family, cooking traditional Lebanese food, or painting in her garden.
Kresstine is an MD graduate with many years of clinical experience in both Canada and the US. She is an advocate for women’s health and has a keen interest in perinatal support and care. She is excited to be a part of the team at PAIL Network to assist all the families in any way she can. Her passions include reading everything she can get her hands on, writing, stargazing, and spending time with her family.
Megan Fockler works as the Education Coordinator for PAIL Network where she leads the team that provides workshops to professionals around Ontario about the provision of skilled and compassionate care to families who experience the loss of a pregnancy or death of their baby. She also supports the development of resources for families and professionals and conducts research aimed to understand and improve the care experience of families when they interact with the healthcare system. Her interest in working with bereaved families began on the Labour and Delivery floor where she worked as a nurse with families around the time of their babies’ deaths. It was with these families and babies that she learned how professionals can make a positive difference with the care they provide, and she carries these lessons with her when she teaches workshops. Always honoured to listen to families’ ideas for improving bereavement care, Megan is committed to supporting these conversations and supporting professionals to provide skilled and compassionate care.
When not in the Education Coordinator role, Megan works as an Advanced Practice Nurse in the DAN Women and Babies Program at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She is also an Adjunct Lecturer at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto and a Practice-Based Researcher at the Sunnybrook Research Institute. Megan holds a HBSc and BScN from the University of Toronto and a MPH from the University of Waterloo.
When not at work, you can find Megan spending time with family, working to perfect her baking skills, and avoiding being the person needed to BBQ anything.
Joanna Diindiisikwe Simmons (Burt)
Joanna is an Ojibwe artist from Lindsay Ontario. Joanna is a professional opera singer and is a graduate of the Glenn Gould School of Music (Glenn Gould) of the Royal Conservatory. Joanna is keeping her ties to the theatre by remaining actively involved in the Indigenous community by teaching theatre lessons with the youth at the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nations.
As the Special Projects Coordinator, she is leading the creation of programs alongside the PAIL Network team to provide pregnancy and infant loss support to Indigenous peoples both urban and rural across Ontario, education to health care professionals, and will support awareness and advocacy through events that will include traditional approaches to grief, bereavement, and finding hope.
Joanna looks forward to contributing to a better future for Indigenous peoples and is excited for the evolution and advancement of Indigenous engagement within the arts in Canada.
Ela Pagacz is joining the Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) Network as a Special Projects Coordinator for a year, filling in for Suzie O’Reagan’s maternity leave. Ela’s main roles are to coordinate Compassionate Care Workshops for health care professional training, PAIL Network’s commemorative events, and volunteer engagement events.
Ela comes to PAIL Network with a Masters in Public Administration and with 10 years of experience working for the Federal and Ontario governments in public health policy. Ela is also an entrepreneur with a passion for maternity and newborn photography. In 2014, Ela and her partner experienced a pregnancy loss that resulted in complications and a multi-day hospital stay. Ela’s favourite pastimes include creating fine art, exploring nature, and spending time with her family.
Learn more about our PAIL Educators
Meghan Donohue has been a facilitator for PAIL since 2013. She is also currently a Clinical Educator in the Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. She moved into this role in 2011 after spending 10 years as a bedside nurse caring for sick and premature infants. Meghan obtained her BScN from Queen’s University in 2000, her CNeoN(c) in 2018 and her MN from Athabasca University in 2020. Her key areas of clinical interest are resuscitation and care of the acutely ill neonate as well as perinatal palliative care and bereavement.
Lokki Ma is a Peer Support Volunteer and Educator with PAIL Network. In 2016, Lokki found support with PAIL’s in-person group after losing her son, August. Since 2019 she has provided one-on-one phone support and subsequent pregnancy support and continues to facilitate group support for bereaved parents. Recently, Lokki has joined PAIL as an Educator. She is looking forward to co-facilitating compassionate care workshops for healthcare professionals across Ontario.
Lokki is passionate about providing a safe space for bereaved parents to tell their stories. Hoping to turn her passion into a second career, Lokki has returned to school to pursue an education in social work.
Lokki can be found running around West Toronto trails when she is not doing schoolwork or building props for theatre.
Tracy is an Educator with the PAIL Network and has a wealth of experience working with young children and their families. As an Early Childhood Educator, Tracy taught newcomers to Canada within the Peel region. There, she had the honor of supporting families from a multitude of diverse cultures.
Tracy became connected with Sunnybrook during her first two losses and credits the staff of the DAN Women and Babies team for helping her navigate these experiences. Back then, she did not imagine herself in this position, but it is clear that through her lived experience, a passion blossomed for working with bereaved families. Tracy naturally provides a warm and welcoming environment for communication, true connection and learning.
When not working, Tracy enjoys baking with her son Zaiah, crafting and spending quality time with her family.
Liliana came alone to Canada from Colombia in 2001. After learning English as a second language and many years of hard work, commitment, and dedication, she completed her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Ryerson University in 2010 and immediately started working in the Emergency department of Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. A couple of years later, she returned to college to further her education and pursue her dream job as a Labour & Delivery nurse. Liliana has been working in the Birthing Unit in the Dan Women and Babies Program with passion for the past 8 years.
Liliana’s compassionate personality and strong desire for self and professional development motivated her to join PAIL Network as an Educator. She is delighted to share her knowledge and experiences with other health professionals across Ontario.
Liliana lives in Whitby, Ontario with her husband and 2 kittens. In addition to her job she loves being outdoors and practicing aquatic activities such as kayaking and kite surfing
Learn more about our Regional Representatives
My connection with PAIL Network began in 2013 when I joined the community as a bereaved parent. I used the services for two years before going through facilitator training to lead our Hamilton Circle Of Support Group. I proudly watched PAIL grow from the ‘little organization that could’ back in those days transform into the larger network of support as we know it to be today. In that transition, I was given the opportunity to take on a Regional Representative Role where I am honoured to support our Volunteers who truly are the cornerstone of our organization.
I joined the PAIL Network in 2015. After completing my training, I started facilitating my local circle of support and providing phone support. In 2018, I jointed the PAIL Network staff as the South Eastern Regional Representative. I enjoy supporting bereaved families as a way to honour my daughter, Angel and to help ensure families feel supported during a very isolating time. When I’m not supporting families, I love going on adventures with my husband and 2 living kids.
Lisa has been volunteering with PAIL Network since 2014, facilitating the Circles of Support group in Peterborough as well as providing phone and on-line support. In 2019, Lisa became a Regional Representative and mentors the PAIL volunteers living in Northern Ontario and Sioux Lookout. With the goal of furthering support for bereaved individuals in her community, Lisa formed an organization titled It Takes Grace and hosts two commemorative events yearly. Lisa finds strength in helping others and has a passion for breaking stigmas. She has a Bachelor’s of Education and has spent her teaching career supporting students with exceptionalities. Lisa works at Fleming College in Peterborough, as the Accessible Education Services Facilitator.
Jeannie van den Enden
Jeannie van den Enden is a Regional Representative for South Western Ontario and the Online Loss Specific Support Group co-ordinator with PAIL Network. Jeannie is a certified birth and bereavement doula who supports birth in any trimester with any outcome. Jeannie is passionate about serving bereaved families understanding the unique challenges of grief through her own personal lived experiences of pregnancy loss. In her off time, you will find her enjoying her family, the outdoors and exercise.
Kim has been involved with PAIL since August of 2016. Initially, Kim came for support in July 2016 after the loss of her son Joseph. Prior to losing Joseph, between 2006 – 2010 Kim suffered 3 miscarriages and leaned heavily on her family and friends to survive. While she had incredible support, she wished she had found PAIL sooner, as the support from someone who had a similar lived experience was a welcomed comfort. Kim had learned that so many assume the loss of her son was much harder than her miscarriages, and it wasn’t. To Kim, the losses were different, but equally hard, and support really helped in healing.
Kim started speaking at Compassionate Care Workshops and then in 2018 she completed the PAIL Peer Support Volunteer training to be a facilitator for a Circles of Support group. It was her way to honour her angel babies and support other parents on a difficult journey through a loss at any stage. Kim looks forward to supporting PAIL Network volunteers and continuing to support families.
Learn more about our Advisory Committee
Meena Merali is a results driven healthcare leader with a track record of building strong relationships and partnerships at the local, national, and global scale. She is a Professional Engineer with a Bachelor of Applied Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Waterloo and a Master of Business Administration from Ivey Business School.
Meena has proven expertise in leading and executing complex implementation projects involving stakeholders across the health system. She has led sustainable and culturally congruent international programs to build capacity, improve access to cancer care, and advocate for global cancer control. Meena has lived experiences with loss and has a personal interest in Maternal and Child Health, specifically in under served communities and populations.
Jason Lam is a father to three living daughters (youngest was born at 25 weeks gestation at Sunnybrook) and a son who died due to SIDS at age 4 months. As a bereaved father with a lived loss, he would like to assist in normalizing the expression of grief in fathers in response to loss. He has co-delivered PAIL compassionate care workshops and currently serves on the PAIL advisory committee. He is a full-time secondary school teacher working with at-risk students in the Student Success program who are struggling with socio-emotional issues. He is a 2nd generation Chinese-Canadian born and raised in Toronto. He is an avid runner, kickboxer, and photographer.
Shawna Clouthier reached out to PBSO after the loss of her niece, Ryann in 2010. She began as a volunteer, spearheading a bill for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in 2011.
Shawna joined the Board of Directors in 2011 and served for as Treasurer, Vice Chair and Chair over the following three years. During this time, Shawna also filled a number of volunteer roles including education facilitator, intake coordinator and then, peer support facilitator, following her own pregnancy loss in 2013.
Shawna continues to work with PAIL Network, as an Educator, and is very passionate about learning and sharing best practices with health care providers around the province.
Shawna lives in Peterborough, Ontario with her husband and their three daughters.
Learn more about our volunteers: Meet Edie
PAIL Network Volunteer Edie’s story: Discovering a hidden grief community
Edie Edwards learned she was pregnant in 2013. Despite wanting a child, she felt something different from the feelings most women experience. “It was an equal mixture of happiness and terror,” says Edie. “Happiness as we had longed for a child for so long, and terror as my previous pregnancy loss at 39 weeks still gripped me with pain.”
Edie’s first pregnancy was healthy and uneventful, until her regular weekly checkup at 39 weeks. During the ultrasound, no heartbeat was found in Edie’s son. It was determined he had his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. She and her husband Dave named their baby Caden, a name they had been waiting to reveal to family and friends until after the birth.
“You are absolutely devastated,” says Edie. “You hear about miscarriage, late pregnancy loss and stillbirth. But until it happens to you, you have no idea,” explains Edie, who describes the care she had a Northern Ontario hospital as very compassionate. But once she returned home, Edie realized there were very few resources in smaller communities for women experiencing a loss.
Six months after the loss, Edie learned she was pregnant again. “I didn’t feel like the pregnancy was going to stick around,” she says. “The pregnancy itself was physically fine, but the emotional stuff was intense. Friends and colleagues who were also pregnant would say, ‘Oh, you’ll be on mat leave with me’. But I couldn’t go there, couldn’t let myself think of delivering a baby and having it all be okay. Look what happened the first time…”
Edie coped by doing everything different from her first pregnancy. With the first, her mother didn’t have a visit arranged until after her induction date. Now, a flight was booked for her to visit from British Columbia well before the due date. With the first, the baby’s name was kept a secret. This time, Edie and her husband announced their baby’s name, Dylan, in her first trimester. Edie delivered Dylan, a healthy little boy, on January 16, 2014.
When Dylan was about one year old, her husband’s friend started a PAIL Network support group in their community. Edie wondered if she really needed to attend the support group; she had her son, who was healthy and she was busy looking after. On a whim, she went to a support group. It didn’t take long to realize that despite having a healthy child now, she was still grieving the loss of Caden.
“There’s a hidden grief community of women not receiving the support they need,” says Edie. “My advice to women who have had a loss, and to their friends and families, is to do research to find out more about the types of supports. Fill out our PAIL Network request for support form online, talk to your healthcare providers, talk to friends and family. Accept help and be kind to yourself. You have just lost a family member, you have every right to grieve, and grieve in your own way.”
In the groups, Edie found a safe and warm space where women shared their stories, fears and more often than not, their guilt. Doubts about lifestyle, everything from guilt about what they ate, or a flight they had taken before losing the pregnancy. “I always reassure families firmly, “It is not your fault.”
A few months later, Edie began to run her own PAIL Network support group. Now she’s on the PAIL Network Advisory Committee and assists with one-on-one telephone support for families who have experienced a loss.
“When you have a pregnancy loss, you feel alone, like you’re the first person this has ever happened to. Like there is something wrong with you,” adds Edie. “There is nothing wrong with you. Get support, it is out there.”