Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Erik's Rodeo

As I mentioned in Erik’s Story, Erik loved the rodeo and had dreams of becoming a professional bull rider. For the last year or so, I’ve been wanting to do something to keep Erik’s memory alive. I wracked my brain trying to come up with an idea of honoring my son and making sure nobody forgot him. I knew I needed a name for his cause and I knew it had to be something different. Finally around the first of 2012, it hit me like a brick. It wasn’t until recently that I really got the ball rolling on Erik’s Rodeo. I’m in the process of having shirts, car decals and bracelets made in hopes that the proceeds will fund all the ideas that have been coming to me.

The first thing I’d like to be able to do is provide comfort to other grieving families by presenting them with personal memory boxes. When Erik died, I was handed a very impersonal blue box that contained a handprint mold that wasn’t big enough for Erik’s hand, a generic baggie for (very little) of his hair to be put in, some brochures and pamphlets about child loss and a business card for a grief support group. I managed to personalize Erik’s box and make it more special, but 2+ years later, I still think about how generic that box is. Children die every single day. I understand that. Hospitals see death on a regular basis. I know that they can’t possibly provide the kind of attention that I think should be given, but I do think they should make each loss of a child unique and special to the family experiencing the loss. Walking into a supply closet and picking a blue or pink box just is NOT enough. Losing a child is the greatest loss imaginable. Being the mother, I walked out of the hospital with a part of my life gone. That generic box could’ve been so much more and that’s what I want to provide through Erik’s Rodeo.

The second thing I’d like to provide is money and/or school supplies to teachers at Erik’s school. Erik loved school the short time he was there and his teachers really made an impact on him and on me. Public schools are really struggling these days and I hear way too often of how teachers are forking out their own money to have what they need in their classrooms. We all know that teachers are highly underpaid and it is just not acceptable to me that they also don’t have the supplies they need to do their job. I’d like to do a “School Supply Rodeo” at the beginning of each school year. More details will definitely be on the way!

And lastly, I have the strong desire to set up a college scholarship for a student that is in Erik’s graduating class. I will never see Erik accept his high school diploma, but it would mean the world to me to be able to present a deserving student with money for a college education. I know that this will take a lot of money and a lot of planning. I’m determined though and I have until 2022 to make this dream a reality.

Now, my question for you is: How are you going to help me keep Erik’s memory alive? Would you like to order a shirt? A car decal? A bracelet? Or if you are so inclined, I have set up a “Donate” button on my home page. The money goes straight into a paypal account I have set up for Erik’s Rodeo. If you are unable to donate at this time, please share my blog and Erik’s Rodeo with everyone you know – his life was too precious to be forgotten about.
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