Issue 17-120 — February 18, 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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Lyrics For Lucas: Envisioning a Better Future (February 13) – On February 12, 2016, Al and Maria DiGuilio put their vibrant, healthy 22-month-old twins, Kali and Lucas, to bed as they did every night. But their worst nightmare came true the next morning when they discovered that Lucas had passed away in his sleep. Because he was past his first birthday, Lucas’s death was ruled sudden unexplained death in childhood, or SUDC, which occurs when an apparently healthy child dies without cause. The DiGuilios established the Lyrics For Lucas Foundation to raise awareness of SUDC, support continuing research and “hopefully help develop a future in which SUDC no longer exists.” Lyrics For Lucas has already raised and donated $18,000 to the SUDC Foundation. The DiGuilios also started the “Lyrics For Lucas” college scholarship program to help performing arts students reach their academic goals, “while allowing Lucas’s fondness for music to live on.”
Jessie Spread Joy – And She Never, Ever Gave Up (February 17) – The mission of the Jessie Rees Foundation is simple – it’s dedicated to making sure that kids fighting cancer have the support they need to never, ever give up. Since its inception in March 2011, the organization has raised more than $5 million, partnered with more than 275 children’s hospitals and care centers, and reached out to over 80,000 “courageous kids” in all 50 states and 30 countries. Stacey and Erik Rees started the Jessie Rees Foundation in honor of their daughter, Jessica Joy Rees. Jessie was 12 years old when she passed away following a 10-month battle with brain cancer. Jessie’s motto was “Never Ever Give Up!” Whenever she visited with other children fighting cancer, she encouraged them to “NEGU!”
Martin Saw a World Where Anything Was Possible (February 16) – Bill and Denise Richard were standing with their three childrenHenry, Martin, and Janeat the finish line of the Boston Marathon on that unforgettable April day in 2013 when two homemade bombs were detonated. The explosions that injured hundreds of people devastated the Richard family – 6-year-old Jane lost one of her legs, and 8-year-old Martin lost his life. Bill and Denise established the Martin Richard Foundation to honor their son. The organization is dedicated to promoting peace by investing in education, athletics, and the community. “Martin… loved learning, sports, and the world around him,” his parents say. “[He] was a school peacemaker and recognized at a young age that, while we are all different, we are all the same.”
Amazing Annie: To the Moon and Back (February 9) – When 13-year-old Annie LeGere began feeling unwell at a sleepover, she called her mom to tell her that she had begun coughing and was having trouble breathing. Her symptoms soon worsened, and she was taken to the emergency room. Nine days later, after going into cardiac arrest and slipping into a coma, Annie passed away in the arms of her parents, Shelly and John LeGere. Her death was a result of anaphylactic shock following a severe, unknown allergic reaction. Less than a month after her daughter’s passing, Shelly started the Annie LeGere Foundation Inc., To The Moon And Back. “Our goal is to prevent this tragedy from happening to another family,” she says. “Had an EpiPen been more readily available, Annie may have survived.” Police were the first responders to arrive on the scene, but they weren’t equipped with an EpiPen. The foundation has since raised $40,000 to help put an EpiPen in every sheriff's squad car in their county.
The Molly Bish Foundation: If You Save One Life, You Save the World (February 15) – Nothing seemed out of the ordinary when Magi Bish dropped off her 16-year-old daughter, Molly, at her lifeguarding job on June 27, 2000. But that day turned out to be anything but ordinary – Molly disappeared shortly after she was dropped off, and her mother would become the last person to see her. The search for Molly came to a tragic end three years later, when her remains were found in a wooded area about five miles from her home. Molly had been murdered. To date, her perpetrator has never been found. John and Magi Bish created the Molly Bish Foundation in memory of their daughter. Its main goal is to protect children. When reflecting on the work they’ve accomplished in Molly’s name, Magi and John say that they simply “chose to fight with all of Molly’s love.” Their motto may say it best: “If you save one life, you save the world.”
The Jacob Hefter Foundation Has a Moving Message to Share (February 7) – On September 12, 2008, 18-year-old Jacob Hefter died when the Metrolink train he was on collided head-on with a freight train, killing 25 people and injuring 135 more. It happened because the Metrolink engineer missed a red-light signal while texting on his cell phone. Jacob’s parents, Alan and Angela, established the Jacob Hefter Foundation to honor their son and to educate teens, young adults and their families on the dangers of using a cell phone or texting while driving. The family invites members of their local community to make the pledge to not text and drive by signing a 1984 Chevy Blazer that Jacob once drove. “Jacob’s brothers decided to make that a moving message,” Angela says, “and [we] take it everywhere we can.”
On Behalf of Kevin Garcia: Thank You for Spreading Love (February 8) – In 2008, Kevin Garcia died in a car accident when he was 17 years old. In lieu of flowers, his parents asked mourners to bring toys to their son’s funeral. Kevin had a generous, loving spirit, and his family thought that a toy drive for seriously ill children – Kevin died just before Christmas – was the best way to celebrate his life. That toy drive turned out to be the first of many – soon after his untimely death, Kevin’s parents established the Kevin Garcia Foundation to continue doing good works in his name. The foundation’s main goal is to spread “the legend of Kevin’s love, hope and joy to as many people as possible” by having a positive impact on children’s lives. The organization’s annual toy drive benefits Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House; it also sponsors Amigos For Kids, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, International Kids Fund and other child-focused non-profits.

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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.
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