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Issue 16-108 — September 3, 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 starmaster@starshinegalaxy.org.

HIGHLIGHTS:
(click on title to link to the original post)

GRIEF EDUCATION & SUPPORT –
“This is Drew Michael Taylor, a Child of God” (August 24) – While vacationing along the outer banks of North Carolina, Randy and Marcie Taylor were heading to the beach with their two children, when a logging truck crashed into their van. After being airlifted to a trauma center and undergoing emergency surgery, their 3-year-old son, Drew, succumbed to his catastrophic injuries. To honor his life and make a positive difference in the lives of others, Drew’s parents created the Drew Michael Taylor Foundation. The Pennsylvania-based organization offers free grief and loss support year-round. Its signature program – Drew’s Hope – takes place twice a year and is facilitated by counseling students and professors from Shippensburg University.
 
SIBLING PERSPECTIVE –
“I Miss My Brother” (August 25) – In addition to creating the Drew Michael Taylor Foundation to provide free grief support and counseling to children, teens, and adults who have experienced a loss, the Taylor family has done many other things to honor Drew’s life and keep him close. For example, they’ve made a list of “Drew-isms,” or funny things that Drew once said. They have also published a book called “I Miss My Brother.” This book was written by Drew’s father, Randy, and his sister, Lauren, inspired by fond memories of Drew and thoughts about Drew’s new life in heaven.
A GARDEN OF LOVE –
Nora’s Garden is a Living, Breathing Memorial (August 29) – Nora was stillborn at 40 weeks after a perfectly normal pregnancy. Nora’s mom and dad, Lindsey and Nick Henke, have done much over the years to honor Nora and keep her present as they continue on life’s journey without her. One of their most beautiful tributes is Nora’s Garden – a peaceful, happy place created along with close friends and family. Nora’s grandmother invited everyone involved in its creation to bring something from their own yard to transplant into Nora’s Garden – “a little bit of love from those that love her,” she says.
 
RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS –
We Can’t Celebrate with Him, But We Can Celebrate for Him (September 1) – To the people who knew him best – his family, his friends, and his teachers – Alex was an intelligent, free-thinking, creative child who wasn’t afraid to speak up for others when he saw the need. He was just 12 years old when he died suddenly from an accident at home. This year, Alex would have turned 16 in August. Alex’s mom, Kristina Lancaster, says that although their family can’t celebrate the milestone birthday with him, they “can celebrate for him.” She’s asked family and friends to take part in honoring Alex’s life by performing random acts of kindness in his memory.
 
DEDICATED RESTAURANT OPENING –
Reaching the Next Level – For Hadiya (September 2) – On January 20, 2013, a group of high schoolers from Chicago traveled to Washington D.C. to perform at President Obama’s second inauguration. Among the group was 15-year-old honor student Hadiya Pendleton. Nine days later, back in Chicago, Hadiya was killed in the crossfire of rival gangs. In 2016, three years after her death, Hadiya’s parents wanted the tragic anniversary – January 29th – to shift, to represent something positive. So they chose to make it the opening night of their re
staurant, which they’ve named “The Next Level.” Hadiya’s dad, who is a chef, says that the restaurant is for his daughter. On their opening night, they served dinner to families that have lost loved ones to gun violence.

UNSECURED FIREARM –
Brooklynn’s Mom Wants You to Ask the Question (August 22) – On June 4th, 2013, Jacob and Darchel Mohler’s lives changed in the blink of an eye, when their 13-year-old daughter, Brooklynn, was accidentally shot and killed at a friend’s house. The gun belonged to the friend’s father and was left unsecured in a kitchen cabinet. Today, Brooklynn’s family runs the Brooklynn Mae Mohler Foundation, an organization dedicated to protecting children from firearms. Brooklynn’s mom encourages all parents to go ahead and “Ask the Question” about whether or not there are unsecured firearms in the homes their children visit

FOCUS ON PEDIATRIC CANCER –
Bryce’s Courageous, Joyous Spirit Lives On (August 31) – Bryce Anderson was 10-months old when he was diagnosed with leukemia. Then he spent the next 17 months fighting for his life. After spending nearly 500 consecutive days in five different hospitals, Bryce passed away. He was 2 years old. Bryce’s parents established The Bryce Foundation in 2006, just a few months after their son’s passing. In addition to raising funds to find a cure for pediatric cancer, The Bryce Foundation provides support for families of pediatric cancer patients. Each year, the organization gives its Extra Mile Nursing Award to four oncology nurses who provide outstanding, compassionate care for their young patients.
SQUEEZING LIFE’S LEMONS –
This Means Never Give Up (August 30) – Jordan Smelski was 11 years old when lost his life to an infection from an amoeba that lives in fresh water and enters a person’s brain through the nose. He had been swimming in hot springs while vacating in Florida. Jordan’s parents have since worked hard to raise awareness of the disease among doctors, as well as families, and to advocate for hospitals to keep a particular life-saving drug in stock so it’s available when needed. Their organization, the Jordan Cole Smelski Foundation for Amoeba Awareness, was created in honor of their son, who once said, “When life gives you lemons, you squeeze them back into life’s eyes. This means never give up.”
 
LOSS DURING PREGNANCY & AT BIRTH –
Searching for Joy in the Midst of Heartbreak (August 23) – Losing a child during pregnancy or at birth is more frequent than many realize. In the United States, about 1 in 5 pregnancies end in miscarriage, and thousands of babies are stillborn every year. Against this background, Sherokee Ilse has dedicated most of her adult life to supporting bereaved parents who have lost a baby. For Sherokee, helping families grieve their loss and honor the lives of their babies is a “passionate mission” rooted in personal tragedy – Sherokee herself lost three of her five children at birth. Through her outreach, she hopes to change our culture’s relationship to infant death, while encouraging parents to mourn their loss, grieve fully, and remember their child with joy.
DO YOU HAVE TRIBUTE INFORMATION TO SHARE?
Post it here:
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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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