“My wife Dina and I spend hours reading your messages. They are a lifeline during this horrible time period. We are moved to tears to know that we are not alone, both in our heartbreak and in our concern for safety around allergies in schools.
We also want to say that while we remain absolutely devastated over the loss of our sweet son Elijah, the outpouring of love from across the country has inspired us to ensure that his death did not happen in vain. As Elijah’s parents, we will use our voices to draw attention to *completely preventable* life-threatening allergic reactions in U.S. daycares and schools. These preventable tragedies must come to an end.
Every day since Elijah left us has been so painful. We come home to an apartment that has an eerie kind of emptiness. It is filled with his toys, his pictures on our walls, and the sounds of one child, the other missing.
Elijah’s brother Sebastian asked us how we could go see his baby brother in Heaven, “Can we ride a rocket ship to reach to him?” he asked, and our hearts broke all over again. The reality hits us, subsides, and then hits us again, and our hearts break each time. Your messages of love, support, and shared experiences are holding us up. We may be too overwhelmed to respond to everyone, but we want to thank you.
Focusing on advocacy for other children like Elijah gives us hope. You give us hope.
While we can no longer protect Elijah, hold him in our arms, or kiss his sweet little face, we can still fight for kids like him. And that’s exactly what we intend to do.
With Gratitude and Determination,
Elijah’s Parents, Dina & Thomas”
On November 3rd, 2017, our beloved Elijah was playing peacefully at his pre-k in Harlem, NYC, when he was given a grilled cheese sandwich by an adult at the pre-k, despite them knowing and having documented that he has a severe allergy to dairy. Elijah went into anaphylactic shock and was taken to the Pediatric ER at Harlem Hospital, where, tragically, they were unable to save him. Elijah leaves behind his heartbroken mother, Dina, father, Thomas, and his 5-year-old brother Sebastian, as well as dozens of friends and family members who all mourn the loss of his precious young life. Elijah was three years old.
Right now, our family is immersed in our grief, but we are also facing an overwhelming list of financial and practical matters, all related to Elijah’s untimely death. This GoFundMe page is organized by two of Thomas and Dina’s close family members. Its sole purpose is to alleviate the following costs:
--Cooked meals delivered to the family home so that Dina, Thomas and little Sebastian can rest and mourn and begin to heal without having to worry about shopping and cooking
--Financial support for time off of work
--Funeral & Memorial Expenses
--The cost of a second and independent autopsy. Here’s why we need it: at this moment, it is unclear where responsibility for Elijah’s death will fall between the pre-k and the hospital itself. There are protocols that both the hospital and preschool must follow. We want to find out exactly what caused Elijah’s death and that will mean sorting out exactly where, if any, breakdowns may have occurred at either the school or the hospital. Having a third party medical examination will ensure our ability to get a clear picture. We just want justice for Elijah.
Those matters aside, we would like to go on record as saying: Elijah’s death was completely preventable. 5.9 million children under the age of 18 suffer from food allergies in the United States. That’s 1 in 13 children, which works out to roughly two children with allergies inside of every U.S. classroom. WE CAN AND MUST DO MORE TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN FROM LIFE THREATENING ALLERGIC REACTIONS IN U.S. SCHOOLS.
Our family is only beginning the long and painful process of adjusting to a world that does not include Elijah in it. As we ease into this unthinkable reality and say goodbye to our sweet, joyful Elijah--and our hopes and dreams for all he would become--we thank you for your support. It is an unimaginable time for everyone who loved Elijah, in particular for his 5-year-old brother Sebastian, who struggles to understand that his brother is truly gone. We dread the upcoming holiday season without our little boy. We are lost. For everyone who has already reached out to us with a text, a phone call, or a hot plate of food, it is your expressed care that keeps us going. Even if we are too overwhelmed to respond directly right now, we read every message and we want you to know that it means the world.
For those who can help with this GoFundMe, thank you. All of it will go directly to the costs listed above. Trust that no amount is too small and all of it is deeply appreciated.
With Gratitude and Profound Sadness,
Elijah’s Heartbroken Family
DonationsSee top donations
- Derek Sine
- Lisa Jeli
- Kirsi Jarvinen-Seppo
- Lorelei Lew
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