For the love of a grandchild
No family should have to endure the pain and grief that Lynnette Lowrimore's family has. In March 2012, Lowrimore's beautiful grandson Barrett Tallman died from suspected Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) at just six-and-a-half months old.
"Our sweet brown-eyed little guy was only on earth for 195 days, but his legacy—finding an end to this heartbreaking tragedy—has become our cause to champion," Lowrimore notes on the donation page she created in Barrett's memory.
The page is part of Lowrimore's efforts to honor Barrett with a fundraising and awareness campaign to help save other families from the devastation of SIDS.
Lowrimore, who lives in Springfield, Va., spent countless hours following Barrett's death trying to understand SIDS better and identify people working to end it. She discovered the work of Dr. Hannah Kinney and her team at Boston Children's Hospital, who are leading the way in detecting the underlying cause of SIDS. After meeting Kinney at a conference and touring the researcher's lab, she committed herself to making a difference.
A powerful, ongoing memorial
Just as Lowrimore's sense of loss is constant, so is her dedication to her cause. She's made fundraising a part of her everyday life, sending in donations to mark birthdays and special occasions and even as a unique way to say thanks. All money raised by the Barrett's Legacy fund is specifically earmarked for the SIDS research of Kinney and her team.
"When I started Barrett's Legacy, I thought, 'I have so many things. I don't need anything, but a donation would matter to me as opposed to a gift card.'" she explains. "I wanted to model that behavior, so I made donations in lieu of gifts for Mother's and Father's Day, birthdays, friends who've had children, graduations, when someone did something exceptionally nice. It's a very personal and heartfelt thank-you."
In a moving letter Lowrimore included in her Christmas cards one year, she wrote, "SIDS doesn't have the legions of supporters as other more public health causes, but it doesn't mean that people aren't suffering as a result of its reach. The only hope our family and other SIDS families have lies with research."
Gifts to support that research are adding up. Lowrimore has raised nearly $100,000 to date and shows no signs of slowing down.
"I hope SIDS will no longer exist, and to the extent I'm able, I want to move that bar forward," Lowrimore says. "That's a challenge I've given myself. It's a form of therapy for me to handle the difficult situation of losing a grandchild and watching the devastation it's caused my daughter and son-in-law.
"We can't bring back Barrett; we can't take away [his parents'] pain. But we don't want others to have to go through it."