Grief Into Health And Medical Research


Grieving daughter from a family of doctors, whose mother had gone in for knee replacement surgery but died due to complications, turned her grief to a mission and foundation to help prevent the 200,000 yearly deaths from preventable medical error. They knew she had died because of preventable medical error. “That was the day I wasn’t a kid anymore. My mom was my best friend. I talked to her at least six or seven times a day. She took care of all of us, my brothers, my dad and me. She was the center of our whole family; our entire lives changed.” When she died, her devastated family decided to convert their grief into something positive. She soon found references to studies that showed that about 200,000 people die each year in the United States from preventable medical errors – the equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every day. They created a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping to prevent medical errors by educating patients and their families to promote a safe hospital experience. “We didn’t want other families to experience what we did,” health care professionals “speak a foreign language,” she says. “We’re not expected to know it.” They created the “Batz Guide for Patient Advocacy,” a publication that supplies patients and their families with logs, journals and important questions. …


Grieving Lieutenant Commander and father turned his tragic loss into a triumph in public health. After facing the unimaginable pain of finding his 15 year old son dead on the floor of his home from Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), he became determined to make sure that other children and families would not face their pain. His son was an outstanding high school athlete with no prior history of heart abnormalities. “It’s a pain that doesn’t go away,” but in his pain he found a way to start a foundation that today promotes and performs preventative cardiac screening of children with electro and echo cardiogram equipment, provides education to parents about the various conditions that can cause SCA, and encourages schools to become equipped with Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for use in emergency situations.


Biggest Tea. Turning grief into goodwill. Grieving 12 year old daughter, whose mother died on Easter Sunday, just 5 weeks after being diagnosed with bone cancer, gave her grief a purpose: to raise funds for research into bone cancer. With that singular mission in mind, she and her best friend approached the school principal, who suggested they help with the school’s Biggest Morning Tea, an annual fund-raiser for cancer research. The two grieving friends visited every class to talk about cancer and the importance of finding better cures.


Grieving Newtown mom and licensed marriage and family therapist joined legislators and other grieving Newtown families to announce a bill in the state Senate that focuses on preventing any more tragedies like the Sandy Hook killings through early intervention in mental health problems and engaging families in treatment. “This is a moment to turn tragedy into transformation,” she said. The bill would require public and private agencies that deal with children’s mental health issues and get state funding to adopt more early identification and intervention techniques; require schools, mental health care agencies and others to improve communication and coordination to quickly identify and refer children; and provide mental health services within the state’s developmental disabilities program.


Grieving parents, whose 18 month old died from a brain tumor, were consumed with overwhelming grief. Yet, they decided to turn their grief into something worthwhile that would keep their daughter’s memory alive and also help change the outcome for other children diagnosed with brain tumors. They organized the first “Sophie’s Angel Run,” and to date have raised more than $320,000 for pediatric brain tumor research at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.


Grieving parents turned grief over daughter’s sudden death into Wisconsin’s first center for grieving children.  Upon the sudden death of their daughter, Margaret Ann, the family found there were support services in place for them as parents but none available for their son. After discovering centers for grieving children across the nation, “Margaret Ann’s Place” was established in 1998, as the first center for grieving children in the state of Wisconsin.  At present, there are over 300 centers for grieving children in the United States and Canada.


Nearly 30 years ago, two mothers whose babies were born with fatal heart defects set up a Mid Sussex branch of the “British Heart Foundation.” They turned their grief into something positive to focus on despite their tremendous loss. This year after decades of selfless and largely unheralded work the group has reached a milestone of raising £1 million to help people with heart problems. The money has come from a huge range of activities, from small coffee mornings on sometimes blustery winter days, to sunny garden fetes, walks across the South Downs in all weathers and horse riding among the events. 


Denise lost her husband, a New York City firefighter, on 9/11.  As she looked for ways to heal after her loss, she discovered the benefits of yoga.  Making a change from being a registered nurse, she became a registered yoga instructor and the owner of “Strong and Soulful Yoga.”  Her new mission is to utilize yoga therapy to help service members struggling with PTSD {Post Traumatic Stress Disorder}.


Grieving family committed to fulfilling the 21 year old’s bucket list and raising as much money as possible so families who live with cystic fibrosis sufferers could be provided with respite care. “Nicole was always helping others, and helping other cystic fibrosis sufferers means a lot to us and gives every day some purpose in these hard times.”


Grieving family finds a way of turning their grief over the loss of their 8 day old son into making a difference. In the midst of their grief, they committed to making sure that the positives of those eight days were not going to be overshadowed by a devastating ending, and they wanted to do something to help other grieving families as they were helped themselves.  They created an invitational charity golf tournament with 100 % of the proceeds going to special funds at the local hospital.


Grieving parents, whose child was stillborn, launch campaign to raise funding for desperately needed stillbirth research so other families do not suffer the heartache they went through. The night before his birth, she fell asleep happy as she could feel him kicking, but the following morning she woke up screaming when the midwife kept telling her that her baby had no heartbeat. The doctors and nurses were baffled. Since that moment on, they decided to turn their tragedy into a positive. They made a lifelong commitment to raise funding for research.


Retired Teacher and grieving mom, who lost her 29 year old daughter in tragic circumstances, channels her energies and grief into promoting positive mental health. She created a charity with the mission “to implement health promotion as early as possible in school through training and education and thus reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues.” She has become a dedicated and tireless worker on behalf of positive mental health issues.


Grieving stepmom and father turned their tragic loss and grief into a life-saving mission. Their son collapsed during a high school football game from an undiagnosed heart condition. Until that point, the grieving mom and teacher had not realized that most area schools did not have defibrillators. So they took their painful loss as a mandate to help other children and families by launching fundraising efforts to ensure that every local school could get their own defibrillator. “We lost our child, but we don’t have to lose another one.”


A grieving mom, whose 3 month old daughter unexpectedly died from whooping cough, is making sure that other parents know the importance of vaccinations during pregnancy. Whooping cough is increasingly taking the lives of children under 3 months old, and many parents who think they have been vaccinated are not aware that the vaccine wears off over time, and a booster is needed for the mom and anyone who may come in contact with the baby during the initial 3 months. Grieving parents have started a foundation to educate others about infant pertussis and the importance of vaccination.


Grieving father, whose 15 year old died of an undetected heart problem, has been campaigning for a cardiac screening program for youngsters ever since. He is raising awareness to the fact that it happens to 12 young people every week and it is affecting their families.  He has also written a chapter for a booklet created by the charity “Cardiac Risk in the Young” (CRY) providing advice to other grieving fathers.


Grieving family, whose 36 year old father collapsed and died suddenly without any warnings, turn their grief into a gift of life for other families.  On the fifth anniversary of his death, the family started fundraising efforts for “SADS UK – Sudden Adult Death Trust,” and thanks to their efforts, they have been able to raise enough money to donate a defibrillator (used to restart the heart after a cardiac arrest) to a local school. Grieving wife remembers the day of his unexpected death: ”My whole world collapsed…It was Halloween and the kids were waiting for their dad to come home.”


Only five weeks after losing his wife to bowel cancer, grieving father of three channels his pain and grief into warning anyone with health concerns to act on them, get several medical opinions and get tested.  The difficult decision to publicize his family’s devastating loss was already having a positive impact on the community at large with the increased number of open health discussions that started to take place in several of the major social media platforms. His wife’s battle with cancer went undetected until the day after the birth of their daughter, despite several visits to her doctor who attributed her symptoms to pregnancy.


Grieving mothers, whose sons went to the same high school and each died in separate accidents, unite to turn their grief into something positive by helping others through a blood drive campaign. For these grieving moms, they remember their children by giving others the gift of life – blood donations bring to many families. “We feel that it’s necessary for our community to donate blood to the blood drive for all the families who have people in the hospital or any illness that might need blood.”


Grieving mom, whose talented 15 year old daughter died from a deadly strain of meningitis, is leading a 345 mile walk in memory of her daughter to raise funds to help find a cure for the disease she branded “silent and sly.” She credits her family, including her 7 year old daughter, the school and Meningitis UK for having rallied around her to give her the strength and a determination to raise awareness of pneumococcal meningitis in her daughter’s name.


Grieving family, whose 31 year old daughter and science teacher died after being hit by a car while cycling, turn their pain into raising money for the air ambulance and a hospital which fought to save their daughter’s life.  In their grief, they also wanted to save other lives, and donated their daughter’s organs for those waiting for transplants.


Central New York widow, whose husband died of lung cancer only 11 months after their marriage, turns grief into a mission to help others during one of the hardest periods of their lives.  She shared: “You think you’re going to be with someone for the rest of your life and you’re not, things change so quickly.” After his death, she credits the Hospice of Central New York with helping her heal and learn to live without him. From the kindness and support they showed her, came her decision to make it her life’s mission to give back to others through hospice care.


One local family found a new purpose while in the midst of pain and grief. Grieving parents, whose 28 year old son took his own life, have turned their grief into a mission to help others battling depression and raise community awareness about severe depression and suicide. In honor of their son, they have started the to raise funds for the psychiatric unit that treated and helped their son. The psych unit patients would also make purposeful artwork like this painting created by six patients there.  Grieving mom still cherishes a bracelet her son made while at the unit. They hope to use funds to buy art supplies, transportation to/from and other needs of the patients.


Grieving parents, whose 18 years old daughter died from meningococcal C, turned their grief into raising urgency and awareness for other parents so they do not have to face the pain they face today.  Their daughter had been vaccinated at school, but the grieving parents did not know that the vaccine did not cover meningococcal C.  They have thrown their support behind the launch of the “2013 Immunization Health Report,” which aims to raise awareness of immunization-preventable diseases. They are urging other parents to be aware of what vaccines are available. They remind others that “this happened to us, don’t let it happen to you.”


Grieving parents, whose autistic daughter died in a school bus accident, turned their grief into passion, and passion turned into work. When their daughter was ready for kindergarten, they were told that there were no schools in their community that could accommodate autistic kids, so she would have to bus her to another school:  “We were very uncomfortable about sending her on the bus every day. Just a month into the school year, she was killed in a bus accident on the way home.”  They turned their anger and grief into a personal effort to try to help other kids and families that were dealing with autism.  They donated all the money given to them after Lauren’s death to her preschool in Monticello and the kindergarten in Logansport to improve services for disabled children. Then they organized fundraisers for the Indiana Resource Center for Autism. For the grieving parents:  “Anything I can do to help them help kids like mine, I’ll do.”–exchange-living-with-autism.html


Grieving parents, whose 14 years old daughter died in a ski accident, turned their numbness, disbelief and grief into a campaign to increase organ donation awareness. Grieving mom shared:  “You are numb, you are in shock, breathing is difficult. I felt like I was wearing a cement cape.” The accident happen while they were on ski holidays, and what was up to then one of the best family vacations turned into the worst nightmare. Their daughter lost control and hit a tree that left her brain dead.  In their unimaginable pain, the family found strength in knowing that her organs helped the lives of 5 other people and their families. They used that strength to launch the nonprofit “Taylor’s Gift” to promote organ donation, helping to add some 2 million names to the donor registry in Texas. The foundation also provides scholarships to college for kids who are leaders in their communities, as Taylor was.,,20689528,00.html


Grieving moms and lifelong friends, whose sons both died before the age of 5 from cancer, turn their grief into a mission to raise funding for fighting childhood cancer. “Nobody understands it unless you’ve gone through it like we have.” While still in the midst of their grief, they partnered with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation, an organization named for Alexandra Scott, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma before her first birthday and died in 2004 at age 8. Since Alex set up the first stand, the foundation has evolved into a national fundraising movement in large part because of grassroots efforts. “The idea for the lemonade stand was started by a cancer patient. What better way to honor our kids than to help an organization like that?”