Issue 16-115 — December 10, 2016
Starshine Galaxy Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to help sustain the memories of children who have died. To this end, we support the Tributes to Lost Children Community Page on Facebook as a place to post, share, and comment on activities to honor our departed children and to celebrate their lives. This biweekly Tributes Digest presents highlights from this community page along with other items of interest. Please feel free to forward this on to others you know who might be interested, and direct any comments, questions, or concerns to

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Becca’s Dream is Now Her Legacy (December 1) – Becca was just 5 years old when her parents, Stuart and Francine Brottman, took her to the doctor because her leg hurt. As it turned out, Becca’s leg pain was caused by a rare type of bone cancer known as Ewing’s Sarcoma. “Her childhood, as she knew it, ended abruptly,” her parents say. “Never did we imagine that our little girl would be diagnosed with cancer.” At the age of seven, Becca died of complications following a stem cell transplant. In Becca’s honor, Stuart and Francine started Becca’s LEGacy, a non-profit organization that works hard to make a difference in the lives of children with cancer. That was Becca’s final dream, her parents sayhelping kids with cancer. Every Christmas, Becca’s LEGacy holds a toy drive for pediatric cancer patients in the Chicago area hospitals. This year’s toy drivethe organization’s ninthtakes place through December 26.
Every Day I Meet a New Child Who Inspires Me (December 7) – Barrett Krupa – affectionately known as Bear to those who knew and loved him – was nine years old when he died following a courageous five-year battle with Wilms tumor, a pediatric cancer. Just months before he died, Bear and his mom, Kathleen Casey, planned a foundation that would help meet the daily needs of pediatric cancer patients while funding cutting-edge research. The Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, which is named after Bear, has been helping kids with cancer for almost 24 years now. “Every day I meet a new child [who] inspires me,” Kathleen says. “Their will to live is amazing – and if you can’t use that as inspiration, I don't know what it would take.”
Josh’s Story Matters (December 5) – Josh Platzer hadn’t been himself for a while – he had given up sailing, which he loved, and he often missed classes, calling in sick to stay at home. Earlier in the year, Josh had been diagnosed with depression and possible bipolar disorder, and he was receiving professional help. In July 1999, Josh’s parents, Jude and Ben Platzer, were told that their son wasn’t in imminent danger of suicide. Just one month later, Josh took his own life. He was 15 years old. Fueled by grief and anger, the Platzers started a memorial fund in Josh’s name to promote suicide prevention. That memorial fund has since become a registered non-profit organization called the Josh Platzer Society, for which Jude is Executive Director. “Josh’s story matters,” Jude says, “because the work it has inspired may help another community to prevent a tragedy.”
This Work is Some Small Sliver of Something Important (December 8) – It was almost dinnertime on October 8, 2013, when 12-year-old Sammy Cohen Eckstein was killed by a delivery van just outside his home in New York City. In the wake of their tragic loss, Sammy’s parents, Amy Cohen and Gary Eckstein, founded Families for Safe Streets, a group that advocates for safe streets in NYC. Amy and Gary speak at public hearings, write letters to elected officials, and address legislative bodies. Amy says that their work is a tribute to Sammy, but that they also do this work so that other parents won’t have to. “It’s not uncommon that people in grief try to make meaning of their children’s death,” Amy says. “You have to try to make sense of how this happens and how some small sliver of something important comes from it.”
Even Though He is Gone from the Earth, He is with Us Every Moment (December 9) – We’ve shared the Lancaster family’s story before: Alex Lancaster, the firstborn child of Jude and Kristina Lancaster, big brother to Emma and Mason, died of an accident at home on December 12th, 2012, when he was 12 years old. As the fourth anniversary of Alex’s death approaches, along with the fourth Christmas his family will spend without him, we’re sharing an article that was published in the Chicago Tribune at about this time last year. Written by Heidi Stevens, a childhood friend of Alex’s mom, the article – titled “In Defense of Joy, When Grief Overwhelms Us”—details the various ways the Lancasters pay tribute to Alex and honor his memory during the Christmas season, a season he loved.
Losing Todd: A Mother’s Journey (November 29) – About a year after the September 11th attacks, 18-year-old Todd Weaver left college to join the Army. While deployed in Afghanistan several years later, Todd was killed in action. He was 26 years old. “Soon after Todd was killed, I told a journalist who came to the house for an interview that I needed to nurture Todd’s death in the same way I nurtured his life,” writes Todd’s mom, artist Jeanne Harris Weaver. “A few weeks after Todd was killed, our family sat in the living room discussing what we might do to create a legacy in memory of him. Many meaningful tributes honoring Todd’s life and service to our country came to fruition from that conversation. I remember saying, ‘What will I do?’ They answered in unison, ‘Mom, you will paint!’” And Jeanne did just that—she painted 21 canvases to honor the life of her son. The series, titled “Losing Todd: A Mother’s Journey,” has since been published in book form.
Paint the World Pink for Bayan (November 30) – When Bayan was 6 years old, she was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder known as Ataxia-Telangiectasia, or A-T. The progressive, degenerative disease affects most body systems – it gave Bayan weak muscles and made her more susceptible to infection; eventually, she had to use a wheelchair. Bayan died of Lymphoma when she was 12 years old. Bayan’s parents, Hesham and Reem Hassaballa, started the Bayan Hassaballa Foundation to “honor the memory of a beautiful child.” The organization is dedicated to supporting research into the cure for Ataxia-Telangiectasia, lymphoma, and other hematologic malignancies. It also strives to support families devastated by these diseases. “Bayan loved everything pink! If she could, she would have painted the world pink,” her parents say. The Foundation hopes to “Paint the World Pink for Bayan!”
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The complete netbook version of Tributes to Lost Children – a snapshot of how 147 families have honored their children who have passed away – is publicly available for FREE. Click on the cover image above to navigate to this powerful, heart-warming compilation of tribute stories.
Based on results of the Tributes Survey, three general motivations anchor bereaved families in their tribute activities. See the organizing Tributes Framework that serves as the backbone of the new book Tributes to Lost Children.
Copyright © 2016 Starshine Galaxy Foundation, All rights reserved.

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