Prayers for Ribby

UPDATE 8/3: 

Ribby would have been 2 this week.

August 1 was her birthday.

I planned all year on a cute little garden party. Cake and ice cream, a pile of garden-themed presents anxiously awaiting their enthusiastic entrance into her world. Getting out into the yard with shiny new tools, digging through the damp earth to plant the seeds of something beautiful yet to grow.

Now, that little patch of earth is a memorial garden. A gorgeous new tree. Some beautifully engraved stones that were gifted from family and friends.

But, gone is the pitter patter of her little feet. Her laughter. Her carefree chatter as she would engage all of her senses in exploring her world. New textures, new sounds, new smells. New words to describe them all. The joy of a toddler, full of life, fascinated, and in awe of her great, big world; surrounded by the love of her mommy, her daddy, and her beloved Diddy, Dah, and Lurtle Lurtle. (Yes, those were her names for her siblings. :)

We did still have a party.

We invited all her stuffed animals and dolls to join us. I baked a blue cake with yellow icing, sprinkled blue overalls, sparkling gray goggles, googly eyes, and a wide, mischievous grin.

It was no Pinterest-worthy attempt, but Ribby would have adored it. Her beloved Minions.

Her birthday was filled with smiles. And laughs. And tears. Gut-wrenching, ugly, pass out against the refrigerator, body trembling sobbing.

And dancing!

Oh, there was dancing!

At last count, over 52,000 moms and dads and grammas and grampas from all around the world grabbed their babies and joined us on our virtual dance floor in Ribby's memory.

Thank you, all, to those who joined us for Ribby's Dance Party.

Thank you, to each and every one of you that gave your babies the gift of love, and the gift of your time, on our special day.

Ribby would tell you herself there is nothing she would want more, than to know a child was loved.

It was a good day.

From here, though, the reality of the financial catastrophe has begun to set in.

We haven't even received all of the bills from the first 24 hours of her hospital stay, and already, the running total is over $255,000.

We were there 13 days.

This is terrifying.

I should be curled up in bed, mourning the loss of my baby. Or at the table scrapbooking her priceless mementos. Catching Pokemon with my 16 year old, dancing with my 12 year old, or watching my 8 year old level up on his favorite game.

It's difficult watching these bills rolling in, the family tension growing with every new addition to the pile. Arguing about a much needed trip to the grocery store, because you just don't know how you're going to get through what will likely end up being a 7 figure shadow hanging over us forever, blocking out the sun we so desperately need.

We DO have health insurance.

We ARE hoping for the best.

We are hoping that there won't be major issues beyond the deductibles and co-pays of our policy.

But, that's the problem with our system. You just don't know. You have such little control over in and out of network providers... Physicians, facilities, even labs... There always seems to be those expenses that just aren't covered.

So, you just don't know.

I had no intentions of sharing this GoFundMe account again. I'm just not comfortable hitting other people up for money.

We were absolutely fortunate to receive so many kind donations back in June and early July when we thought Ribby had a chance. The donations we received helped us with food and travel expenses. Without them, Ribby's dad wouldn't have been able to take a month off work to stay by her side, my side, and the sides of our other 3 kids. And then, of course, the costs at the funeral home fell in this time period.

I never even got a chance to properly thank those of you that donated. I still want to do that. I will.

I'm definitely not asking the same folks to donate again. But, it looks like the share button on here is a pretty powerful thing. We have picked up a lot of new folks that have been touched by Ribby's love. I would be honored if any of you would even be willing to share the post.

Even if no one else can donate, I just wanted to put out a story that might reach even more families. We want Ribby's legacy of love to be heard around the world.

But I have received an inbox full of love and support, from people asking if they can indeed help.

If you do feel moved to help, any and every dollar is greatly appreciated.

We will get through this.

We have to.

But the sense of community we have developed in Ribby's memory is a stunningly brilliant silver lining to our pain.

Thank you, all, for being a part of our Ribby's legacy.

Thank you, from the bottom of our aching hearts.

Each set of eyes that has read any of our words, has indeed been a set of arms that has helped carry us through our grief.

You are ALL appreciated.

Thank you.

#riversivanne #loveofmylife


We need prayers for Ribby!

I never thought I'd be the person to ask for help, but I also never thought I'd be losing my precious baby girl.

What started off as a fun family vacation into the Heartland of America, Kansas City, took a very tragic turn after dinner Saturday night (6/25) when my 22 month old daughter, River Sivanne, aka Ribby, followed her favorite feline friend outside and ended up falling into a swimming pool at the house where we were staying.

My 12 year old rescued her from the water, I did what I could to perform CPR to the best of my ability. While we waited for paramedics to arrive, we were fortunate enough that a neighbor who heard our panic was a fire chief of some sort and helped administer proper CPR and restore her heartbeat.

Since then, Ribby has been in a Children's Hospital in Kansas City fighting for her life.

Although she is NOT legally brain dead, she remains in a non-responsive coma.

She is still fighting hard, and continues to defy her odds, but her injuries are beyond catastrophic. We are just doing our best every day to buy more time, hoping our miracle might come.

We're in good hands here. The hospital treats us well. The staff is amazing. The Ronald McDonald House is helping meet the needs of my other 3 children by keeping them fed. And we've managed to scrounge up a few art activities to keep the kiddos busy while I'm back here with Ribby.

I also sustained significant injuries trying to save my baby, as I lost a great deal of skin from my legs and feet while giving her CPR on the concrete, and those injuries became infected and took away my ability to walk for most of the week.

I'm healing, and should be fine, but I just want to know that my precious Ribby has touched lives in her 22 months.

Despite the earth-shattering financial situation this creates for our family going forward, I created this campaign not to be about the financial donation, but to know that my baby girl mattered.

We'll focus on the finances later, but, for now, please...

Share, post a comment, install a pool alarm, or even just hug your kids until they think you've lost your mind...

Life is beautiful. But it goes by quickly.

Ribby lived and loved passionately.

In her 22 months, we wasted nothing.

Her life was full.

Thank you for your time.

Love, light, prayers, smiles...

Think of my precious Ribby, and make sure everyone that matters to you knows just how much they are loved.


Donations (0)

  • Brian Wegener 
    • $100 
    • 3 mos
  • Heather Gebbia 
    • $500 
    • 38 mos
  • Summer Ng 
    • $10 
    • 39 mos
  • Lisa Greene 
    • $50 
    • 39 mos
  • Ashley Curl 
    • $25 
    • 39 mos

Organizer and beneficiary

Gretchen Kristina 
Jamestown, TN
Alan Sunderman 
  • #1 fundraising platform

    People have raised more money on GoFundMe than anywhere else. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case that something isn’t right, we will refund your donation. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more