My Birthday Wish: Help Me Help My Friends
Tomorrow, May 3, 2010 I will have been on this earth exactly 43 years.Â My friend Cassidy Anne “Addy” Hurt barely made it 18 months.Â Though Cassidy and I never met, she’s a friend because her father, Tony, and mother, Raelynn, are friends.Â When I first met Raelynn she was pregnant with Cassidy.Â The next time Tony came over to my house, Raelynn and Cassidy stayed home.Â WheneverÂ we made plans to hang out together, so my wife and I could finally meet Cassidy, something always came up.Â We were never blessed with the opportunity to meet Cassidy and that’s a shame.
Regardless,Â Tony and Raelynn are grieving and need our help.Â So my birthday wish is for you to help me help my friends.
I received a call last week from a man named Joe Hurt.Â I couldn’t reach my phone in time to answer so I waited until it indicated that I had a voice mail.Â When I listened to Joe’s message, I was shocked and remember gasping.Â I must have been pretty distraught because my wife instinctively threw her arms around my waist even before the message ended.Â In fact, I didn’t wait for it to end; I pulled the phone number from my call log and immediately called Joe back.Â That’s when he filled me in on the details.Â Tony and Raelynn had put Cassidy down for the night and when they awoke the next morning, their baby girl was gone, a victim of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (commonly referred to among children older than 12 months as Sudden Unexpected Death Syndrome).
Needless to say, the entire family is distraught.Â Though Joe told me that Tony and Raelynn weren’t taking phone calls, I called anyway, if only to give them a friendly voice to hear when they finally got around to checking their messages.Â Today I texted, sending them both strength and love and hoping it would get them through the day or even to the next minute.Â But I realized I needed to do more.
My wife and I were at the funeral and it was the saddest thing we’ve ever experiencedâ€”a tiny pink casket surrounded by flowers and Cassidy’s toys, most notably a stuffed bear in a small rocking chair; a stirring video filled with photos and music; and finally, the removal of the casket by a small group of pallbearers that included Tony and Raelynn.
When they walked up to the casket, it was the first time I’d seen them since the tragedy.Â I’ve experienced pain beforeâ€”I lost my father to heart disease when I was only 20 and my sister to murder only four years agoâ€”but never have I seen grief like that I saw in Tony’s and Raelynn’s eyes.Â Tony is only 27 and Raelynn, 24; much too young to have to experience pain like that.
I realized then that it would take much more than phone calls, sympathy cards, and texts to get them through this.Â Knowing how I felt when I lost my father and later my sister, I know it’s going to be extremely difficult for them to try to be “normal” again.Â To take on the every day tasks that make up the fabric of our lives; to be able to function at something resembling full capacity without breaking down and curling up into a ball and wishing you could turn back time.
So please help me help my friends, Tony and Raelynn.Â An account has been set up in Cassidy’s name and I’d like to donate to that account.Â I’d also like for you to consider donating as well.Â No amount is too small, so if all you can afford is $1, that’s okay.Â If you can’t or don’t want to donate, then you can help by forwarding this message to as many people as you know.Â If you have a blog, please consider linking to this article.Â If you’re on television or radio or have a podcast, please consider mentioning this cause, if you’re able.Â If you have a relationship with God, please pray for Tony, Raelynn, and their family.
To donate, all you have to do is click on the “Make a Donation” button under the “Cassidy Anne Hurt Memorial Fund” heading on the right-hand sidebar.Â That will take you to the Seamheads.com PayPal account.Â All proceeds will go to Tony and Raelynn to help them get back on their feet.
If you have a child or children or have ever lost a child or children, then you know what these two are going through.Â I can’t think of anything I’d rather have on my birthday than to lend my support to my friends, and I’m hoping you can help me help them.
Rest in eternal peace, Cassidy.Â You will be missed, even by those of us who never had the pleasure of making your acquaintance.