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Losing a Child: Always Andy's Mom

As a pediatrician, married mom of three biological children and one foster son, my life was busy, rushing off to my office four days a week, seeing patients for three and working as a medical director of a local physician organization for one. I balanced this with rushing off to shuttle my kids to after sports and other after school activities. All of this changed one day in August of 2018 when my 14 year old son, Andy, was killed in a car accident. I felt like my life was over, and in some ways it was over, and a new life was forced to begin in its place. 

Grief is seldom discussed openly in our culture, and the death of a child makes people feel even more uncomfortable. On this blog and podcast, ‘Losing a Child: Always Andy’s Mom’, the topic is approached openly and honestly, speaking to people who have lost loved ones and experts who help care for them. Whether you are a parent experiencing loss or someone who wants to support another going through this tragedy, this blog and podcast strives to offer hope and help.

Jul 28, 2022

You can't judge what is going on the inside by what you see of the outside. From the outside, Dani looked like she had it all. She lived in a great place on Capitol Hill, drove an expensive car, had many designer purses, sunglasses and shoes, but on the inside, Dani struggled with her mental health. She was always quick to help others going through a hard time, but sometimes did so even when her own well was running dry.

Dani's parents shared that on that fateful day back in 2019, their daughter went from the highest of highs with the birth of her new niece to 15 hours later feeling like she could not see tomorrow. Dani ended her own life that night. Her parents, although completely devastated, were determined that their daughter's memory would not end that night. Her love for helping others would live on.

Soon after Dani's Death, her family created an amazing organization, 33 Forever, which strives to help people going through mental health crises. To learn more about their amazing work, visit their website, or follow them on social media. Currently they are partnering with Ohio State University, and have opened a mental health urgent care center to help transition patients until they find permanent care for their mental health needs.

One day just over a year ago, Dani's step-dad, Jeff, was talking to a local TV show in their home state of Ohio to do advertising for an upcoming event for 33 Forever. He mentioned that it might be 'cool' if there was a TV show completely dedicated to mental heath that discussed stories and resources for mental health. Within a week, the vice-president of the TV station announced that they would start producing the show and that Jeff and Donna would be the ones to host it. Since that day, they have produced over 50 episodes offering hope and healing to all those who struggle with mental illness as well as those affected by suicide. All episodes can be found on the 33 Forever website.

Through 33 Forever and the Sparking the Conversation TV show, Dani's life and story and touching thousands of people each and every day.