St. Paul, Minnesota -- It’s a tired phrase but ask any parent who has lived it, and, it’s true.
It’s is the worst nightmare to lose your child.
Julia and Wade Burgess know that. They’ve known it for the last six months since their youngest daughter, Vivienne, died with one crummy explanation.
Sudden Unexplained Death In Children.
It is a catch-all, for lack of a better term, for kids older than 12 months who die for no apparent health reason – none found by EMTs and doctors, none found in the autopsy.
In 2015 SUDC claimed the lives of more than 300 children nationwide older than a year, and younger than 18.
But back to reality of it, after just a few months, a reason why doesn’t change a mother’s reality.
That Vivi is gone.
And one thing her family is reminded of daily is how much she loved to play in the park, because the park is right across the street from their St. Paul home.
“I remember at the beginning I didn’t know how could I look at this park, we see it looking through Vivi’s window and I thought, 'How can I look at this every day without her here?'”
But it was that thought that led Julia to the story of a family nearby. They used a park to heal.
And that made total sense to her.
Beginning next week, Julia and Wade will launch the very first project of the Vivienne's Joy Foundation.
It will be a brand new playground -- designed by kids, for kids – in that park across the street, Boyd Park.
Every cent of it will be paid for by the money they raise and every bit more of that money will go to get answers about SUDC.
“I don't want her life or our lives, for that matter, to be defined by her death, but more to be defined what we do with the time after she left us and memory she left us with,” Wade said.
She left her parents and this park.
With memories of play.
She loved this place.
And because she did, it will never ever die.
Because a parent's love never, ever dies.
More information about Vivienne's Joy is available on the foundation's website.
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