Grief Into Awareness and Education


Military widows run to remember loved ones. More than 60 widows of members of the armed forces ran together at the Anchorage Big Wild run in memory of their loved ones and to raise awareness about an organization that offers support. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, each day, 22 veterans will commit suicide, leaving family members searching for answers.. It heals in a way that you don’t get in your everyday life and it makes you feel like you’re normal, like you have a safe place to share with other and experience the healing with them,” says a widow, whose husband committed suicide after serving in Iraq.


Grieving sister, whose 17 year old sibling died in a car accident after neglecting to wear her seat belt, turns her grief into a community awareness campaign and annual event highlighting the importance of wearing seatbelts.  “People need to be reminded about the importance of seat belts. I see people without them all the time while driving. They’re just asking for trouble.” “I’m finally able to see that it’s helping my family heal and turning a terrible experience into something positive.” …


Grieving parents, whose son and father of two young children was killed by flying runaway truck tire from a vehicle which was six weeks overdue for its mandatory inspection, use their grief and media attention to bring awareness to the need for greater truck safety and regulations. They have called for greater oversight and harsher penalties by the Department of Transportation against companies and drivers who do not abide by strict safety and truck maintenance standards. The grieving mom brought attention to the 40% failure rate of close to 200 trucks that were stopped during a police surprise safety inspection. An inspection in which 36 trucks were in such bad shape and constituted such a safety risk that their license plates were removed at the inspection. The grieving parents are urging industry to do more to keep these drivers and trucks from the road in effort to prevent others from facing future tragedies.


Grieving brother and Boy Scout, whose 12 year old brother committed suicide, turns his grief into a mission to bring awareness to the need to help prevent suicides so no one else has to go through the feeling he and his family had to go through. He is raising funds for an organization that helped his family during their hour of need, and to help children and youths dealing with death of loved ones.


After mom is slain at a hair salon, grieving children turn their grief into something positive by creating a domestic-violence-awareness organization called Their mother was an accidental bystander of a domestic violence dispute by the salon owner and her estranged boyfriend. The grieving daughter, who was with her mom having a mother-daughter day at the salon, survived the massacre and has thrown herself into this initiative to help others so her mom’s death will not be in vain: “I can accept that she passed but not way she passed.”,0,1499134.story


Grieving family, whose daughter took her own life, turns grief into a mission and memorial fund to raise awareness for causes of teenage suicide. She was not bullied and did not have a drug or alcohol problem. She was never the same after a friend took his own life two years earlier. “To this day, we still miss her and do not know and cannot imagine why she committed suicide and why would someone with all that going for her would think heaven would be better than life.” Through the fund’s educational efforts, the family is reaching out to schools in the area and teach parents and students that suicide is not the answer, and that it can happen to anyone.


Grieving fiancée wants to drive home safe motoring message. She is turning her grief into safe driving awareness and education campaign and wants to open a chapter of Bikers, dealers and supporters created the non-profit organization to help responsible riders that have been hurt in an accident. volunteers meet with injured riders immediately after the accident to evaluate their needs. Financial support, care packages, and referral services are offered based on needs. “I don’t want to see anybody else have to go through this,’’ she says. “I always say, ‘I can never bring him back but I can stop it from happening to someone else.’’ …


Grieving father and taxi driver, whose 18 year old son was killed when he was knocked out of his motorcycle, channels his pain and grief into bringing awareness to drivers that they need to be more aware of bikers.  He hands out “Careless Drivers Kill Bikers” stickers to passengers, as well as his family and friends, asking them to display them in their own cars.  He is concerned at the number of bikers being killed on roads despite hard-hitting campaigns: “If it makes one person think more about bikers, it will have been worth it.”


Grieving Mom turned her grief into awareness through the creation of website devoted to educating and generating awareness among parents, professionals, and young people in the United Kingdom about the dangers of an activity known as the ‘fainting game’ or ‘choking game’. The fainting game is a misunderstood activity which causes death and suffering for thousands of families worldwide. It often begins with high-achieving teenagers literally strangling each other as a way to achieve a ‘high’ without the risk of getting caught with drugs or alcohol. It ends with many young people suffering permanent brain damage or death each year.


Grieving family and friends of brave and well-known 13 year old teen make-up artist who was diagnosed with aggressive cancer at the age of 7 put their grief to work by honoring her as she wanted to be honored – by strongly supporting a community-wide campaign to bring awareness to the needs of local blood centers.


Grieving heartbroken parents, whose 11 month old baby died in a bath time accident, used their pain to launch a relentless campaign to prevent other families from facing their tragedy. They created a Facebook site called “Karson’s Story” to raise awareness of bath time dangers, and it already has had thousands of people visiting it. Their singular objective is to raise awareness to a danger that many do not even know exists. Their strong belief is that if they save one baby’s life with their awareness efforts, then it is all worth it.


Grieving parents, whose 25 year old son was electrocuted while on an installation, turned their grief into a 45 month campaign to raise awareness on the need for better trade safety.  They are keen on making sure this does not happen to other families. Their son was inadequately trained when he was electrocuted while on a project. They have gotten behind recommendations for an education campaign on electrical safety to be enacted throughout the country.


On what would have been her daughter’s 21st birthday, grieving mom uses opportunity to appeal to drivers nationwide to be careful and specially to watch out for children.  Her innocent daughter was killed in a pedestrian crossing by a driver who was under the influence of alcohol. Her hope in bringing attention to greater driver safety and the consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol is to prevent others from the horrible type of pain she still fells today over the tragic loss of her child.


Sixty-three year old grieving father, whose 24 year old son took his life after a 13 year old battle with body dysmorphic disorder, walks 525 miles from Philadelphia to Boston to raise awareness. He looks to bring attention to brain disorders, especially OCD and BDD, far and wide and to raise funds for the International OCD Foundation so research and programs can help other sufferers, their families and their friends. Along the walk, he is raising his own awareness about himself. He is learning about his place and purpose in the world.


Still very raw from the death of her beloved husband, the 72 year old widow and grandmother turned her grief into a positive by promoting and raising community awareness on the need for organ donors. She honors his memory by getting others to register as donors.  She takes comfort in the thought that he is not dead because “Someone else is living because of him.”


Grieving father, whose teenager son jumped from their home’s balcony to this death after taking a synthetic drug, funnels his pain and grief to use the media attention for bringing awareness to these drugs and to call for a government ban of synthetic drugs. He wants to prevent other similar tragedies and for families to know that these drugs are bought on the internet and this gives them a false sense of legality and safety – which they are not.  He wants parents to know that the police told him how many of the kids using these drugs are not your stereotypical drug users – they have never been in trouble with the law. His son was a smart kid that had never taken drugs and wanted to be a doctor.


Grieving father, whose 16 year old who was not wearing his seat belt and was killed in a drunk driving crash, takes his grief on the road to help other teens and families avoid the fate of his son.  He wants to bring to light the very real consequences of drunk driving and not wearing a seat belt.  His son died on a regular night. It was not his prom or a holiday, and he wants the kids, their parents and the community to know that deaths from drunk driving and not wearing seat belts can happen any day of the year. He wants kids to feel comfortable in calling the parents for a ride if they have been drinking or the driver of the car they are in has been drinking.–a-grieving-father-speaks-of-his-son-to-tiverton-students


Grieving mom, who gave birth to a stillborn daughter, was herself saved by two blood transfusions. Now she is putting her grief over her daughter’s death and her gratitude over the blood transfusions into raising awareness on the need for blood transfusion donors. She is supporting a national campaign that stresses the critical need for more blood and transfusion donors.


Grieving husband, whose wife died in motorcycle accident, is hoping his pain and grief over the senseless loss of the love of his life can help to get the message out to drivers that they need to be cautious.  By telling his story, he is highlighting importance of motorists and motorcycle riders to show mutual respect and caution.


Grieving mom, whose 13 year old drowned while swimming with friends, is using her grief to raise awareness of the dangers of open water swimming to families and children.  She is still grieving her son, but she hopes that in sharing her pain, she may help to save other children. She does not want other parents to go through what she has been through. She tells parents how her son did not set out that day to die; in fact, he was a very fit and healthy young man, but he was no match for the outside waters.


Grieving mom, whose son died from a heroin overdose when he was a high school senior, has turned her painful grief into advocacy. She is on a mission to help other teens before it’s too late, and prevent other mothers from having to face the pain she and her family have faced. Aside from heading right into local high schools and sharing hers and her son’s story, she has also embarked on the production of a documentary that she wants to distribute free to schools in her state. “I have no words to describe what it has felt like to lose my son. My life will never be the same. If I can help one person, one family, avoid going through this, then this whole documentary, this film we’re producing, if it helps one person, I feel like I’ve done my job.”


Grief-stricken father and husband, whose wife and daughter survived a small plane crash but were not found alive, is on a mission to change that.  His wife and daughter survived the crash but without a flight plan filed, they were not found for five days after the crash, even though they were only 11 miles from the airport they had taken off from.  His young daughter escaped the crash with bruises and scratches, but succumbed to hypothermia before she was found by rescuers. With no flight plan filed, and no contact with air traffic control, the search-and-rescue effort began with very little to go on. The grieving dad launched an online petition to raise awareness, and reached out to various online pilot groups. He is also urging pilots to file flight plans and take the time to brief passengers – even children – on how to use whatever devices are on board. “If we can make changes that would bring someone else’s little girl home…it would save another family from what I’m going through right now.”


Grieving family, whose 11 month old daughter died from the enterovirus 71, put their grief to work by bringing awareness to the need for importing the EV71 vaccine immediately so no more children have to die. Grieving grandfather’s message of urgency to public health officials “Get it out here now, save that next child so that the family doesn’t have to go through the grief we are.”


Grieving mom who does not like to speak in public has turned her grief over her son’s death into empowerment and activism.  She spoke to the House Judiciary Committee to support a new immigration bill that will strengthen laws for deporting those illegal immigrants who commit serious crimes. Her 20 year old son was killed in a collision when an undocumented immigrant (who was not licensed to drive and had one misdemeanor conviction of driving under the influence and facing a second DUI charge), made a left turn in front of her son’s motorcycle. The grief over her son’s death has helped her find her voice.


Family grieving the loss of their happy athletic 13 year old son uses the media attention to warn other families and teenagers about the deadly consequences of  the choking game that killed his son.  They are in a great deal of pain, but they want to make sure that others do not face the tragedy that they are facing from this game they had never heard of prior to his death. After their son’s death, they learned the choking game was popular at schools across the country, but most parents are unaware of it. The grieving family urges parents to talk directly to their children about it, and feel that if they had known all of what they know now – their son could still be alive.


Grieving mom and wife, who lost son and husband, throws first pitch at ballpark to raise awareness about the critical need for people to register as organ donors and for organ donations. It was only after her son’s death that she realize how her decision to donate his organ could positively impact so many other families.  Hers and the hopes of the other 400 grieving donor families at the ball park is that their efforts bring hope to the many families in desperate need nationwide.


After trying to have a child for 9 years, they lose their miracle baby after 21 months from what may have been undiagnosed diabetes.  But from the depth of their grief they take the time to make an urgent plea to other families with a family history of diabetes to have their newborns tested.  She wants others to know that most pediatricians do not regularly test for the disease unless there are symptoms. The symptoms include excessive drinking, urination and weight loss. She wants every parent to be alert for these.


Grieving Senator, whose bisexual 27 year old son died of an accidental drug overdose, uses the floor of the Senate to bring awareness to his support for the overdue same-sex marriage legislation on the senate floor. He wants others to know that his support is not just because of his son, but more importantly because he sees it as an extension of the country’s civil rights struggle.  In his speech to his colleagues, he shared “I do it because of equal rights and the fact that Gods says ‘Love you all.”


Grieving parents, whose 4 week old daughter died after whooping cough left her tiny lungs unable to breathe, turned their painful grief into bringing awareness against anti-vaccination. They broke their silence in the hope that other parents do not have to go through this added pain to an already very difficult time. They brought attention to the cyber bullying, the anonymous letters, the accusations that they were on the payroll of the drug companies, the accusations that their daughter’s cause of death was questionable, and the on-going cruelty of some members of the anti-vaccination movement. Grieving mom shared: “I don’t understand how people can be so cruel, but I believe the intent was to shut us up.”


A mom’s world came to a full stop the day her husband and 5 year old daughter were killed when an empty flatbed trailer unhitched from an oncoming pickup, crossed the centerline and plowed hitch-first through the windshield of her husband’s car.  In spite of her grief, she makes a plea for drivers to think of her husband and daughter when they hook up their trailers. “You need to educate yourself or ask someone who knows. Go online and look – ‘How do I hook this up correctly?’ – and do it every single time, because it was that one time that took my husband and daughter.”


Grieving parents, whose young daughter was fatally crushed by a hydraulic massage bed when she was 18 months old, are working through their grief by leveraging the media attention from this unspeakable tragedy to warn other unsuspecting families, and getting community support for the South Australian Deputy State Coroner’s report recommendations. Recommendations that include massage bed manufacturers develop and install guards around hydraulics, and that a national safety standard be drafted and that children be banned from massage rooms.


Grieving parents, whose 17 years old son died of a drug overdose of  narcotic painkillers called hydromorphone at a party, are grieving in an extraordinary way.  In the midst of the pain of losing their child, they are committed to getting a very vital and timely message out to others, so other families will not have to face these type of senseless deaths. They want their son’s friends to see the real picture and pain of what these narcotics can do to them and their families. They want other teens who might be tempted to experiment with drugs to learn from their son’s example. Grieving parents went public, and they shared their painful story with The Record newspaper and its readers. Their message is loud and clear: “Kids, this is real…This happens. It’s now happened to one of yours.”


Grieving parents, whose 23 year old died of a heroin overdose, put their grief in their window with a sign that warn others “Heroin is Killing our Children” at an alarming rate. They do not want families dealing with child drug addiction, doing so in secret and missing an opportunity to possibly save their child. “This has nothing to do with low family morals or values. This has everything to do with how this drug, once taken, you take it one time and you can become an addict for the rest of your life.” He has started a website,, which tells his daughter’s struggle, uncovers warning signs, and has connections to resources for help.  Another grieving dad, whose 21 years old son overdosed from heroin, has turned his grief into a nonstop letter campaign to the president and elected officials to change HIPAA laws. He recently testified in Washington before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations about the issue. “I feel like I was failed by the medical system. And by having a disorder such as my son did, he had OCD and he had ADHD as well as now an addiction.” His son had told doctors he was using heroin, but because of current regulations, the doctors did not have to disclose to his parents what ultimately killed their son.


A woman who lost her husband in a car accident at the age of 21, discovered the hard way what people in grief experience. Using old clichés or worse yet, telling her to move on, friends and family were not helping, only causing her to have to live a double life. The face she showed the world was smiles, although, in truth, she was dying on the inside. Starting with a small Facebook page for those who were also grieving, she has expanded her pages to include thousands of people. Just when things started to seem to be getting better, she lost her mother tragically in 2010. Again, grief reared its ugly head. She currently is working on a Grief Awareness Day. This day would not only serve to acknowledge grief, but also to educate people about grief. Education on how to comfort and support those people who are taking this very long and lonely walk. Many grievers live in silence. We want to bring grief awareness into our schools, mental health, work, and home.”


The heartbroken mother of a young ovarian cancer victim has spoken out in the hope she can save other women’s lives. A year ago today, the grieving mum was given the news no mother ever wants to receive, her 14 year old daughter, had cancer. While still in the depth of her grief, the grieving mom wants others to know: “You think of ovarian cancer as a disease that affects older people, It’s Not.” Grieving family hopes their daughter’s tragic and untimely death serves as a warning to all women that cancer can affect all ages and to seek medical attention promptly if you have any concerns.


Grieving student, whose 7th grade classmate took her own life, puts her grief and tears into action to bring awareness to the need to stop bullying. She engaged the support of other students to hold a rally against bullying. “She was bullied and didn’t deserve what she got.”  The grieving friend got classmates to talk about bullying and help put a stop to it.–206500661.html


Grieving family, whose 36 years old lesbian daughter was killed, turned their grief and media attention into bringing awareness to the freedoms and protection of gay and lesbian citizens in South Africa – freedom exists only on paper. This morning they buried their relative who was beaten to death, seemingly because she was a lesbian activist. Her grieving family and friends said they are now scared of living in South Africa due to increasing hate crimes reported in the East Rand area.


Grieving couple, who lost their 27 year old son to suicide, turned their pain and grief into a call for urgency and action on the alarming sudden rise in indigenous suicides.  They run an Aboriginal Loss and Grief program, and have organized a “Crisis Summit over Suicides.”  They have invited government and community representatives to the meeting to address “Why is the death rate of our people through suicide remaining at the highest in the world…Mortality rates are 2x times higher and suicide rates are 3x times higher.”


Grieving mom, whose daughter was stabbed, killed and left to bleed to death in a park by her jealous boyfriend, puts her grief and tears into supporting battered women. She is doing what she can to shape the way her daughter’s life is remembered. She has started a Facebook page called Anna’s Hope to raise awareness on domestic violence. She spends hours sewing quilts for children affected by abuse and combs the Internet in search of advice for women in trouble. In the long term, she has set her sights on starting a shelter in Vernon, and continues to support local fundraising efforts to benefit the Dwelling Place, which provides transitional shelter to battered women in St. Paul, Minnesota. For the grieving mom, the only time she is not crying is when she is immersed in the work to help others. Her hope: “That people wake up and look around and know that they can help. This doesn’t have to happen.”


Grieving parents, whose daughter died in a fatal crash while posting messages on Facebook on her drive home from Utah State University, have turned their grief into advocacy and have appeared in media outlets like the “Today” show to share their painful story in the hope of preventing other tragedies. They have also been major advocates of texting ban legislation. They shared that the last message her daughter posted is at the top of “Taylor’s Corner”, the Facebook page created in her memory: “I can’t discuss this now. Driving and face booking is not safe!”


Grieving student, whose brother and best friend committed suicide, turns her pain and grief into a project to promote suicide awareness. She organizes Out of the Darkness Campus Walk  designed to raise awareness about suicide and bring in money for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention programs. The walk is also a way for people to meet other survivors, connect with them, share their experiences and know that they are not alone in their grief. She shared: “It’s important to help our students be aware of suicide. It’s not something we should be silent about.”


Grieving parents, whose 22 year old son was killed while texting and driving, turned their grief into an urgent public warning for all drivers. In the midst of their pain, they released their son’s last text, the one he was sending when he lost control of his car and lost his life.  He had his head down as he wrote “Sounds good my man, see ya soon, ill tw” before crashing. The grieving parents want drivers to know that no text is important enough to cost you or others their lives. The grieving mom, “In a split second you could ruin your future, injure or kill others, and tear a hole in the heart of everyone who loves you.”  While painful to release and have published the image of their son’s last text, she shares: “I can’t bear the thought of anyone else having to go through something like this.”


A mother’s grief. A Nova Scotia mother speaks about her 17 year old daughter’s suicide and bullying to make sure it doesn’t happen to others. She created a video of her daughter as a tribute and a warning to others.  Her daughter was tormented by a photograph taken during a drunken night over a year and half ago.  That night, four boys raped her and took pictures of the act that they then texted it to her classmates. Even after transferring schools to get away from the bullying, she still could not take the mental anguish caused by the bullying. The grieving mom hopes that by sharing this very personal and painful story, she can help others and help to increase awareness about the very deadly consequences of bullying in schools.


Grieving sister, whose 16 year old brother died after losing his battle with leukemia, is channeling her grief into a mission to fix schools’ approach to grieving students. When she returned to school after her brother’s death, she was bullied by other pupils and believes her teachers could have done more to help. Grieving 17 year old shared: “He was my best friend and the happiest and bravest person I know…I went back to school about a month later. You don’t want to be wrapped in cotton wool but you don’t want to be just expected to be normal as soon as you go back.” She is working with Fixers, a national movement of young people fixing issues they feel strongly about.


Grief leads to awareness.  Grieving parents, whose 21 year old daughter died of Crohn’s disease, turn their grief into an awareness campaign to educate the public on this invisible disease. There is no cure. “It almost seems like an invisible disease. Few people want to talk about going-to-the-bathroom problems, and it’s something you don’t see (like) a disability.” While still in shock and disbelief over her death, the family is trying to make something positive out of their grief and are supporting and participating in awareness and fundraising events for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. They hope the public will learn to take symptoms of an IBD seriously and realize that Crohn’s can strike at any age.