Issue 16-112 — October 29, 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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She Had an Extra-Ordinary Ability to Teach Others How to Shine (October 28) – When Emma Mebane died in her sleep in July 2011 at the age of 19, she was on the threshold of her dreams. She had a flourishing network of family and friends who remember her fun-loving nature, her unfettered spirit, and her compassion, creativity, and radiance. She is known for having an extra-ordinary ability for teaching others how to shine. On Saturday, October 29, the Park District of Geneva, Illinois is hosting a dedication ceremony for a statue inspired by Emma’s spirit. Prairie Girl – a life-size bronze statue of a lightly wind-swept girl in plain dress, holding a cardinal – is the work of sculptor Lawrence K. Johnson. She stands in the center of the Sensory Gardens at Peck Farm Park. The statue is intended as a tribute to children, especially those who are no longer with us.
Remembering the Lost Children of Aberfan (October 21) – Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Aberfan catastrophe, an epic tragedy which claimed the lives of nearly an entire generation of children from one Welsh village. At 9:15 in the morning on October 21, 1966, a build-up of water beneath rock and piles of waste materials from local coal mines caused a tremendous rock slide that engulfed Pantglas Junior School, which had just gotten the school day underway. In just five minutes, 116 children and 28 adults were killed. Across Wales, people paused to observe a moment of silence to remember those who lost their lives in the disaster. Wreaths were laid at Aberfan Cemetery at 9:15 in the morning.
Lee’s Place: Rediscovering the Warmth of the Sun (October 21) – “Lee was a wonderful kid – a little blue-eyed blond cherub, who developed bone cancer … and he died when he was 14,” says Dr. Brenda Rabalais, Lee’s mom. Five years after her son’s death, Brenda, who is a therapist, opened Lee’s Place, a grief and loss counseling and support center in Tallahassee. The non-profit organization, named in honor of her beloved son, is a warm, nurturing place that provides quality therapeutic services on a sliding fee scale, because Brenda believes that financial circumstances should never be a barrier to receiving help and support in a time of tragedy. Lee’s place has made – and continues to make – an enormous impact in the lives of many.
In People’s Park, the Ribbon Tree is a Living Memorial (October 24) – In the UK, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on October 15 is always set to fall within Baby Loss Awareness Week. For the people of Banbury in Oxfordshire, it was the right time to remember the babies who didn’t get the chance to live their lives – those who died during pregnancy, at birth, or shortly thereafter. Charitable organizations – including Oxfordshire Sands, a stillbirth and neonatal death non-profit – banded together to plant a silver birch tree in People’s Park. Parents and other relatives who are grieving the loss of a baby are encouraged to hang a ribbon from the tree in remembrance of their child.
Sharing Carter’s Story May Help Save Another Child’s Life (October 27) – This week, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released updated safe-sleep guidelines for infants. In addition it gives parents and caregivers precise recommendations on how to prevent accidental suffocation and SIDS. Erica Hamilton wants reinforce the importance of the new guidelines by adding her voice to the conversation – her son, Carter Rogers, was 5 months old when he suffocated in his sleep after he rolled over into the bumper pads on his crib. Carter would have turned five this October 25, the day after AAP put forth its new guidelines. Erica hopes that sharing Carter’s story may help save another child’s life. She says, “I’m the crazy lady at Babies ‘R’ Us who will go up to people and say ‘you don't need to use that crib bumper.’”
That’s My Job Now: To Be Her Legacy Maker (October 26) – As flu season gets underway, so does the campaign to promote flu vaccinations. For Pegy Lowery, encouraging people to get their flu shot is a personal mission – on January 16 of this year, Pegy lost her 12-year-old daughter, Piper, to complications of the H1N1 flu virus. Piper had come down with a high fever on January 12 and, in the four days before her death, her mom took her to the doctor three times. When at last she vomited up blood, her mom rushed her to the emergency room, where Piper collapsed in her mother’s arms. Doctors were unable to save Piper, and Pegy had to say goodbye to her daughter forever. Now, Pegy wants to share her daughter’s story and encourage others to do something simple that she and her family didn’t do last winter – get a flu shot. “I want my daughter’s legacy to live on forever,” Pegy says. “That’s my job now – to be her legacy maker.”
Say Something Week: Teaching Kids to Be Upstanders, Not Bystanders (October 25) – The second annual Say Something Call-to-Action Week – which runs from October 24 through October 28 – is a national education program created by Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit organization founded by a group of parents who lost their children in the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Nicole Hockley, who lost her 6-year-old son, Dylan, is one of the organization’s co-founders. “It’s too late to save Dylan,” Nicole says, “but if the lessons that we have learned can help someone else save a life, then we are going to keep doing what we can to make that happen.”
Our Girls Can See That, Even in the Darkness, We Send Light to Them (October 20) – Susan Dieter-Robinson and her husband, Tom, lost their daughters – 6-year-old Anna and 11-year-old Abby – three years ago today, in a tragic accident. We’ve shared their story before: Susan started the Love Rocks movement to celebrate her daughters’ lives – “Sharing love and joy, one rock at a time, in honor of Anna & Abby… who teach us all how to live a love drenched life.” As today marks Anna’s and Abby’s third Heaven Day, Susan and Tom have asked friends, family and members of the Love Rocks community to join them in honoring their daughters by lighting two candles at home. “Ever since the girls went to Heaven we have received so many messages of how their love story has brought light to so many. I can’t help but smile at what a sight it will be for them, in Heaven, to see so many candles lit in their honor.”
Our Daughter Meant the World to Our Family (October 18) – AnneMarie’s Law was signed by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner in 2015. The law, which requires schools to implement protocols aimed at raising awareness and preventing youth suicide, was created in honor of 11-year-old AnnMarie Blaha, who took her own life in 2013. To her family and friends, AnnMarie was a “loving and caring, bright and beautiful young girl who had a passion for helping others.” Her parents – mom, Sue, and dad, Mike – say that AnnMarie’s passion for helping others came naturally to her. When they looked at their daughter, they saw a well-loved, energetic, seemingly happy girl. In the wake of their devastating loss, the Blahas started the AnnMarie Foundation.
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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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