Issue 17-117 — January 7, 2017
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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Sarah’s Legacy Reminds Us to Dream Without Fear (January 6) – Sarah Burke was a freestyle skier from Canada. She helped pioneer the superpipe event, won four gold medals in the Winter X Games and was the 2005 World Champion of the halfpipe event. Sarah successfully lobbied the International Olympic Committee to add the event to the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and she was considered a favorite to win. But then, tragedy struck. In January 2012, Sarah landed on her head as she was practicing a routine trick on the slopes in Park City, Utah. She suffered catastrophic injuries and died nine days later. She was 29 years old. Shortly after her death, Sarah’s family helped start the Sarah Burke Foundation to “act as a Scholarship Foundation for athletes, while also donating to organizations Sarah would choose to support to continue her legacy.”
She said: ‘I Want to Be with Carrie’ (December 29) – Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children – it goes against the natural order of life, and it’s why people often say that there’s nothing harder than surviving the death of a son or daughter. Carrie Fisher died on Tuesday. Her grief-stricken mother, Debbie Reynolds, passed away the next day. From the Associated Press: “She's now with Carrie and we’re all heartbroken,” [Todd] Fisher said from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where his mother was taken by ambulance earlier Wednesday. He said the stress of his sister’s death on Tuesday “was too much” for Reynolds. Carrie Fisher, who was 60, had been hospitalized since Friday. “She said, ‘I want to be with Carrie,’” her son said. “And then she was gone.” There’s nothing like the bond between a parent and a child.
We’re in This Life Together Now (December 30) – Janece Risty describes her 16-year-old son, Tyler Liebl, as an extremely healthy, straight-A student who loved snowboarding and ballroom dancing. “Tyler was the most kind, selfless person,” Janece says. “He was one of those kids stood up for others being bullied,” she says. “He’d give you the shirt off his back if you needed it.” In July 2014, after having a headache that lead to seizures, Tyler suffered a massive brain bleed. Although doctors did everything they could, Tyler passed away on July 30th. His organs helped 23 people, one of whom was 19-year-old Lance Frye who received Tyler’s heart. When Tyler’s mom got to meet Lance for the first time earlier this year, the pair bonded instantly. The two families just spent Christmas together, and Lance got to learn more about the boy who saved his life.
One Bright Star for Heaven’s Little Souls (December 27) – One Bright Star was founded in 1998 by four bereaved mothers: Jan Backlund, who lost her 10-year-old daughter, Khia, after a long battle with Leukemia in November 1990; Linda Janavaras, who lost her 15-year-old son, John, after he contracted meningitis in February 1995; Vicki Meyer, who lost her 17-year-old son, Brandon, in a car crash in May 1995; and Barb Rischmiller, who lost her 18-year-old son, Brandon, after a pole vaulting accident in February 1991. In its nearly 20 years, the organization has done many things in pursuit of its mission to support families that are grieving the loss of a child, including helping parents build their child’s legacy.
Jennifer Ashleigh Children’s Charity: When Love is Not Enough (January 3) – The Jennifer Ashleigh Children’s Charity is a non-profit organization that supports seriously ill children and their families in Ontario, Canada. The organization’s main goal is to “help parents stay close to their sick child during trying times and ease their financial burdens so they can focus on their child.” But as its leaders and volunteers know well, their important work was “born out of a personal journey and struggle of living a nightmare no family should endure.” Jennifer Ashleigh Clements was born in 1989 and passed away from an inherited degenerative muscular disease when she was 6 months old. Two years later, the Clements family also lost their second daughter, Danica, to the same illness. Shortly after Jennifer’s death, her grandfather founded the organization that bears her name.
Aiden’s Elephants: Always Loved, Never Forgotten (January 5) – After a normal pregnancy, Helen and Gurjit Chhokar welcomed their firstborn child into the world on March 6, 2012. They named him Aidan because it means “fiery little star.” Although Aidan appeared healthy, the midwife noticed a small abnormality — tests revealed that Aidan had very high ammonia levels caused by a urea cycle disorder called OTC deficiency. The high ammonia levels left Aidan’s brain severely damaged, and he died in his mother’s arms when he was just two days old. His parents started Aidan’s Elephants in honor of their son — his life has inspired them to reach out to other parents who are grieving the loss of an infant. Their organization gives bereaved parents handmade Memory Boxes to hold their baby’s clothes, photos, and other important things.
Joe’s Life Inspires His Mom to Lead from the Front (January 4) – Betsy Reed Schultz says she’s always found inspiration in her son’s example, in “his courage, his leadership and his deep belief in serving others.” Her son, Captain Joseph William Schultz, served two tours of duty in Iraq before he was killed in Afghanistan over Memorial Day weekend in 2011. “Out on patrol, Joe always rode in the first HUMVEE, because of his core belief in ‘leading from the front,’” Betsy says. After her son’s death, Betsy wanted to follow her son’s example and “lead from the front,” so she founded the Captain Joseph House Foundation – both as a living memorial to her son and to carry on his mission of serving others. The organization gives Gold Star Veteran Families a place where they can gather for respite and personal healing.
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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 © 2017 Starshine Galaxy Foundation, All rights reserved.

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