Persephonee Norma Banks

$64,589 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 616 people in 54 months
Two absolutely wonderful people, Amee and Chris Banks, are dealing with a tragedy that no parents should ever have to incur. Their bright, exhuberant, loving little Persephonee has tragically passed at the youthful age of 5 1/2. Our hearts go out to them as we all shed many tears with each passing moment.

Tragedies such as this leave a lasting scar on everyones' emotions, and additional scars on the ones who cared for her the most. These additional scars are the ones we can help by showing our support for Amee and Chris by donating to cover their medical expenses and give Persephonee the tribute she deserves.

You can keep in touch with the family through a CaringBridge page:

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/persephoneebanks

I leave you with this heart-wrenching story from Chris.


On Friday night, what the date was doesn't matter, because Persephonee just knew Friday nights to be the begining of our fun weekends. On Friday night, P spent the night at Ya-Ya's. It always amazed me how much the girl wanted to share her time with whomever she could. She didn't know being too tired, too cynical, or bored, she wanted to spend time with her friends and family. They had an amazing night, ended a bit early as Per wasn't feeling great.

Saturday we spent at home playing, talking, relaxing, playing some more. We were all feeling a little under the weather and figured she had picked up the same bug. That night we played checkers (I talked her down from chess as I was tired) and we played with a few of her toys she had set up. She went to bed and was having some trouble breathing. She sat up with me and mom, I let her fall asleep sitting on my lap on the couch while Sprout played. When she fell asleep I dropped her gently into her bed and she was so happy she curled up under her covers immediately. I watched a stupid move and went to bed. All that night she was up with mom and she was having issues breathing. We brought her to the ER around 0500. We spent the say there. They did tests. We watched some of her favorite movies. She got to take a bed ride to the X-ray machine. She was especially excited about her first wheelchair ride! She napped in the bed while they monitored her and I slept as well while mom kept the peace. Family visited. She lauged and we played some of our favorite talking games; the Fruit and Vegitable game, Eye Spy, and her newest invention she called The Animal Game. (more on these later) We were discharged as the team thought it was probably Croup and she was breathing better. She didn't want to leave as she was having fun in her own room.

From there we went to target. I made her ride in the cart which she was fine with and we roamed the isles picking out goodies. Her mom and her picked out some chocolate chip cookies (her favorite), she picked out some Frozen ceral she'd never had and some rainbow tic tacs. (We both love orange so we thought these would be evern better) Her and her mom did some clothing shopping and we talked a little about what we'd get June for her upcoming birthday. I had to use the restroom and when we found each other she waved and smiled from the cart, the cutest wave and smile combo that has ever been invented.

That night we ate some pizza and watched the Oscars. her and mom commented on people's dresses. She invented the thumbs up, thumbs sideways, and thumbs down system for dresses. Of course I never saw once thumbs down, she didn't have it in her bones to dislike something like that. She asked to be put to bed. I held her a brought her outside for a few seconds hoping that would help her transistion to sleep. The sky was so clear and the stars so bright. I pointed out Orion and a tiny pink star I thought she would love. She was happy to see her "first constelation".  When we sat her down she said she was still having trouble breathing. So she sat up later like the night before. The doctors had told us she had a steroid in her system for 48 hours that would help and that if it got bad to bring her outside again. While we were sitting up we watched the Lego Movie Song on the Oscars and snuggled. Eventually she went over and snuggled with her mommy.

From here began our nightmare. My sweet, sweet princess. She was having trouble swallowing so I ran outside with her. While holding her I kept asking her to take small breaths. Amee ran inside to get her phone to dial 911. She passed out in my arms as I asked her to please stay with me. Once she was unconscious I began CPR while the 911 operator tried to help. The first responders were there in less then 4 minutes. They worked on my girl for the next 20 until finally getting back a pulse. I should have been there on the ground with her holding her hand. I should have, but there were so many police, fire, and paras I couldn't. I wastched on... I should have held her hand.

23 minutes is too long for a little girl to go without her brain getting what it needs. She had a cardiac arrest from lack of oxygen, but came back to us eventually. There was way too much damage done. Her body is strong, she is so strong. So strong. But, her mind, her perfect mind that always questioned, always wanted more, always learned, always knew so much damn more then me, it needed to rest.

The doctor's eventually informed us she had a strand a bacterial strep that doesn't usually show itself on a throat culture, Which she had earlier that day. At the hospital I knew it was bad. Eventually, the docotor told us the 8 words that ended all the joy in my life. "I believe your daughter is going to die."

My sweet, sweet girl. I wanted so much for you in this life. You were always so much a better person then me. You taught me as much about compassion and sharing as I ever did about reading and math. I will spend every second I have left on this earth using your lessons to lead a better life. A life where you put others first, share, ever your last piece of your favorite candy, and smile and laugh at the glories in life. Not the big, expensive trips, but the amazing joy you showed at playing every day, seeing me and your mom, or drinking an orange pop on a special occasion. You will be forever missed and loved.

Her little mind doesn't have any activity any more. We've chosen to share her with the world, the way she shared herself with everyone she met. After one more test they'll leagally be able to delare her brain dead. From there she will send many of her vital organs to other kids and people that need hope. She'll live on through them and through us. Thank you for letting me be your dad sweety. It is and will be the greatest thing I do. All our love. Good night, sleep tight, I'll see you in the morning light. -Daddy
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There have been lots of updates on the Banks family over at their CaringBridge page.

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/persephoneebanks
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For all those just coming here and because the purpose of this campaign is actually below the update, here's Chris and Amee's story:

On Friday night, what the date was doesn't matter, because Persephonee just knew Friday nights to be the begining of our fun weekends. On Friday night, P spent the night at Ya-Ya's. It always amazed me how much the girl wanted to share her time with whomever she could. She didn't know being too tired, too cynical, or bored, she wanted to spend time with her friends and family. They had an amazing night, ended a bit early as Per wasn't feeling great.

Saturday we spent at home playing, talking, relaxing, playing some more. We were all feeling a little under the weather and figured she had picked up the same bug. That night we played checkers (I talked her down from chess as I was tired) and we played with a few of her toys she had set up. She went to bed and was having some trouble breathing. She sat up with me and mom, I let her fall asleep sitting on my lap on the couch while Sprout played. When she fell asleep I dropped her gently into her bed and she was so happy she curled up under her covers immediately. I watched a stupid move and went to bed. All that night she was up with mom and she was having issues breathing. We brought her to the ER around 0500. We spent the say there. They did tests. We watched some of her favorite movies. She got to take a bed ride to the X-ray machine. She was especially excited about her first wheelchair ride! She napped in the bed while they monitored her and I slept as well while mom kept the peace. Family visited. She lauged and we played some of our favorite talking games; the Fruit and Vegitable game, Eye Spy, and her newest invention she called The Animal Game. (more on these later) We were discharged as the team thought it was probably Croup and she was breathing better. She didn't want to leave as she was having fun in her own room.

From there we went to target. I made her ride in the cart which she was fine with and we roamed the isles picking out goodies. Her mom and her picked out some chocolate chip cookies (her favorite), she picked out some Frozen ceral she'd never had and some rainbow tic tacs. (We both love orange so we thought these would be evern better) Her and her mom did some clothing shopping and we talked a little about what we'd get June for her upcoming birthday. I had to use the restroom and when we found each other she waved and smiled from the cart, the cutest wave and smile combo that has ever been invented.

That night we ate some pizza and watched the Oscars. her and mom commented on people's dresses. She invented the thumbs up, thumbs sideways, and thumbs down system for dresses. Of course I never saw once thumbs down, she didn't have it in her bones to dislike something like that. She asked to be put to bed. I held her a brought her outside for a few seconds hoping that would help her transistion to sleep. The sky was so clear and the stars so bright. I pointed out Orion and a tiny pink star I thought she would love. She was happy to see her "first constelation". When we sat her down she said she was still having trouble breathing. So she sat up later like the night before. The doctors had told us she had a steroid in her system for 48 hours that would help and that if it got bad to bring her outside again. While we were sitting up we watched the Lego Movie Song on the Oscars and snuggled. Eventually she went over and snuggled with her mommy.

From here began our nightmare. My sweet, sweet princess. She was having trouble swallowing so I ran outside with her. While holding her I kept asking her to take small breaths. Amee ran inside to get her phone to dial 911. She passed out in my arms as I asked her to please stay with me. Once she was unconscious I began CPR while the 911 operator tried to help. The first responders were there in less then 4 minutes. They worked on my girl for the next 20 until finally getting back a pulse. I should have been there on the ground with her holding her hand. I should have, but there were so many police, fire, and paras I couldn't. I wastched on... I should have held her hand.

23 minutes is too long for a little girl to go without her brain getting what it needs. She had a cardiac arrest from lack of oxygen, but came back to us eventually. There was way too much damage done. Her body is strong, she is so strong. So strong. But, her mind, her perfect mind that always questioned, always wanted more, always learned, always knew so much damn more then me, it needed to rest.

The doctor's eventually informed us she had a strand a bacterial strep that doesn't usually show itself on a throat culture, Which she had earlier that day. At the hospital I knew it was bad. Eventually, the docotor told us the 8 words that ended all the joy in my life. "I believe your daughter is going to die."

My sweet, sweet girl. I wanted so much for you in this life. You were always so much a better person then me. You taught me as much about compassion and sharing as I ever did about reading and math. I will spend every second I have left on this earth using your lessons to lead a better life. A life where you put others first, share, ever your last piece of your favorite candy, and smile and laugh at the glories in life. Not the big, expensive trips, but the amazing joy you showed at playing every day, seeing me and your mom, or drinking an orange pop on a special occasion. You will be forever missed and loved.

Her little mind doesn't have any activity any more. We've chosen to share her with the world, the way she shared herself with everyone she met. After one more test they'll leagally be able to delare her brain dead. From there she will send many of her vital organs to other kids and people that need hope. She'll live on through them and through us. Thank you for letting me be your dad sweety. It is and will be the greatest thing I do. All our love. Good night, sleep tight, I'll see you in the morning light. -Daddy
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I'd like to tell you a story about a little gamer girl whose life was tragically taken away.

This story begins 24 years ago when little me was now in the 7th grade and old friends were becoming a thing of the past, only to be replaced by new ones. One of those new friends was a boy named Christopher Banks​, a kid who loved life and was the greatest of friends. Chris and I got along incredibly well and even got together once or twice outside of school at a friend's house (which happened to be Derek Klatt​).

Life was good and there were few cares in the world. As we grew older and our school years continued, Chris and I kept our friendship strong no matter what was happening with our lives. In 1995, we even hopped into my 1988 Hyundai Excel and drove out to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to attend Gen Con. It was the greatest weekend escape ever and I very fond memories of those days.

Time continued on and my circle of friends changed dramatically, but Chris was always there to be a friend in need. After high school, life got a little crazy, and I finally got around to calling Chris to see how he was. I was thrown into an immediate depression after hearing he had joined the marines and already left the state. At that point, I wasn't sure if I'd ever see Chris again.

Fast forward many years later, and along comes this wonderful little website called Facebook. Everybody and their mom (literally) joined up, and low and behold, there was my old friend Chris stomping some of the same grounds as I. One day I worked up some time and sent him a message to meet-up for lunch.

Our lunch plans fell through, but nothing from that point on did. I was able to reconnect with Chris and was soon invited to join the best group of friends as part of the Tuesday night group.

It was in my very first trip to Chris's house that I met this cute little girl that was oddly reminiscent of my own little girl. That was the night I met Persephonee Banks.

It took a little time for Chris's wife Amee Nefzger Banks​ to warm up to my presence (I was a stranger to her coming into her house for the first time) and a little bit longer for Persephonee to as well. But that didn't really matter, because I absolutely adored when that sweet little voice would show up at the downstairs door calling out "Daddy!" right before she made her way inside our gaming room to make herself comfortable.

One thing you should know is that Persephonee is only 1 month older than my own Harper. But the thing is, Chris's Persephonee and my Harper are so alike in so many ways that every time I saw her, I could see a little piece of Harper there and she always had a way of making me smile.

As the years went on, I went from a once-a-month gamer, to a twice-a-month gamer, to a weekly gamer. If we weren't playing at Chris's house, it was because we had something pulled us elsewhere. But we would always end up at Chris's house once those something's were done.

Every Tuesday we would get together to play our games and every Tuesday Persephonee would come visit. Sometimes she would sit down and color; sometimes she would play with our dice and miniatures. Sometimes she would just come down to be silly and hide from her mother. But no matter what she was doing, she was always right there next to Chris, feeding off his aura of joy and learning the ways of being a gamer.

Persephonee never actually played the games with us, but I've seen many times where she new geek lingo and loves to play other games with Chris or Amee.

Fast forward many, many months and I became an integral part of these wonderful friends, which led to get-together invitations for Christmas and May Day. During these get-togethers, I would bring my children along, including my little Harper. Well, as you can guess, Persephonee and Harper (and June) became instant friends and I swear they formed this amazing little bond that can only come from two children who really understand each other. Every time I would tell Harper about an upcoming get-together, all she could do was talk about seeing her friends again (i.e. Persephonee, June, and Evan). It became obvious that Persephonee had grabbed the spot as Harper's very first friend.

Today I witnessed the saddest thing I can ever imagine. My wonderful friends Chris and Amee were blindsided by things completely out of their control and had to bring their little Persephonee to the hospital. Although the doctors tried to do everything they could, they couldn't save Persephonee, and this beautiful little girl's gamer soul has become ready to leave Earth and travel to world of spirits.

As my wife Kristen Huss​ and I arrived at the hospital, around 7:45 PM, I don't think I was properly prepared for what we were about to see. We received our badges and the note said "PICU", so we traveled up the elevator to the 5th floor where the PICU was and there was my best friend Chris standing not far from the elevators.

I walked straight up to Chris and we hugged for several minutes. Our eyes were filled with emotion and I can hardly type this thinking about it again. My wife hugged Chris and we exchange some words before heading back to the elevator.

We took the elevator down to the 3rd floor and entered the Ronald McDonald House. There in front of me was the greatest friends a person can ask for. They were there and we all greeted each other with sadness. There is very little that has made me as heart broken as today did, and seeing our friends there made it a lot better.

After a while of allowing others to visit the room, Chris took Kristen and I up to the PICU and into Persephonees room. At that moment, I struggled to hold myself together. There on the bed lied that sweet little gamer girl that pulled my parenting heart strings every Tuesday night. Her body was lifeless, and I do believe her spirit was preparing to leave.

During the, I don't know how long, but the minutes Kristen and I stood in that room, I thought about what Persephonee's spirit would do next. Then the answer became obvious; that little gamer girl's spirit will spend the next decades at her parent's side, holding their hand, and hugging them tight. She'll be there to protect them during the worst of times and she'll be there to love them during the best of times. She'll be there every Tuesday night, rolling the dice and coloring on the battlemat. She'll be there when Chris goes to a Twins game. She'll be there when they sit down and watch a movie together. She'll be there to keep their home safe.

I am no longer a religious person, but I do believe in spirits and the souls that live within our human bodies. You may not, but I do. I believe in psychic mediums and I believe in spirits that become trapped on Earth. I believe in the spirits of children whose lives were ripped away too early and remain to protect their parents. I believe that spirits are everywhere and often protect our hearth and home. And I believe that this little gamer girl will always be there for Chris and Amee, through all times good and bad.

I believe deep in my heart that Chris and Amee will forever have a guardian angel in their lives in the form of their lost daughter, Persephonee Banks. And I know that the next time we play games in that gaming room on a Tuesday night that I will close my eyes and see that sweet little face and hear her say "Daddy" before saying good night.

Persephonee is 5 1/2 years old. Chris is my freelancer, my game master, and my best friend. I will always be there for him and Amee and I will always see a piece of Persephonee in the innocence of my own children.

Rest peacefully Persephonee, you are loved by many and will always be remembered.
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Read a Previous Update
Christine Lynn
40 months ago

I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for your daughters loss. my son recently experienced the same rare strand of strep and fought for his life. I was lucky that he pulled thru and was with the best Dr's at CCMC in CT. My heart and mind is still at wonder cause of what happened to him. I know what you are experiencing with the couple of weeks I went thru it with my son. I don't know the right words to say to you but at least she lived a healthy happy life up until the last few moments. God Bless you and your family....

+ Read More
Sherry Roth
52 months ago

Crying so much for you and your family. Your story is such a beautiful tribute to your beloved Persephonee. Every time I look up at the stars, I will think of her. Peace and blessings.....

+ Read More
Jennifer Dunlop Gierok
54 months ago

I just felt my own heart shatter for you. I dont believe i have eder cried so much for someone i did not know. I too have a 5 year old baby girl. Oh i am so so so so very sorry. Every child deserves to grow up. To have that chance. After reading this I went and woke my Zoëy up just to hug and kiss her. God bless her. God bless you.

+ Read More
Teri Sharp
54 months ago

My heart goes out to your family. It's such a tragic loss of a beautiful angel. This story gives me such a deep sadness in my heart I don't know the family but my heart is broken and the tears keep flowing for your Angel. Even to just say I'm sorry doesn't seem right alot of people say that in these times of sorrow but it doesn't help not even time will help the heart break from this. Thank you for sharing your Angel with the world your story is sad but has touched many hearts I wish your family the best and hope you find some peace somehow in this sad time.

+ Read More
Eric Muggenburg
54 months ago

Well that gets this father of a 4 year old pretty teary before bed. I think my daughter and Persephonee would have been great friends. My Bella loves stars and constellations too! Bella loves chocolate chip cookies and would insist that any memorial be adorned with people in pink or purple or rainbows. God bless you all and especially keep Persephonee in your care.

+ Read More
Jen Kerrick
54 months ago

I remember coming to draw blood on your precious little girl. She was so brave and sat super still even though it was painful for her. I remember asking if she was 5 and she made sure to tell me she was 5 and a half . The way she asked you guys questions about what would happen next, I could tell she was super smart. I'm so sorry for your lose and you and your family will be in my prayers.

+ Read More
Tina Jacobsen
54 months ago

I will pray for peace, calmness and guidance for Persephonee's family. This is such a traic story, she is a beautiful child! She is a true hero.

+ Read More
Nikki Hanson-Regan
54 months ago

My prayers for comfort to you all. Beautiful little lady who we watched dance away at Jer &Lindsey's wedding , keep dancing and smiling in heaven.

+ Read More
Katherine Maquade
54 months ago

I am currently pregnant with my first child. We are actually going to find out the baby's gender today. And even though I have yet to actually see my baby or hold him/her in my arms i still consider myself a mother. and as a mother, reading this beautiful yet tragic story broke my heart; for you, your wife, your family, and al those who knew your daughter. But I am also exceedingly grateful that you shared this...because by telling her story you are continuing to share the gifts your daughter gave this world and ensuring that her memory lives on. Please know that even though I never met your brave little girl, her life and your words have touched me so deeply. She was a very lucky little girl to be so loved and have such wonderful parents. Heaven has indeed gained an angel, and I know she will be with you all of your days until you are reunited in paradise.

+ Read More
Kaitlyn Halverson
54 months ago

Just hearing about this brings tears in my eyes! No parent should have to go through something as horrible as this! My church and I will be praying for you everyday!

+ Read More
Shemeka Bogan
54 months ago

This has me in tears but I think it's so amazing that you found the strength to share her & this story. You & your family will be in my prayers! Rest in Peace Beautiful Angel!

+ Read More

$64,589 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 616 people in 54 months
Created February 24, 2015
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CH
$25
Cyndy Hammett
51 months ago

Please use my donation for her getting her star at the Ronald McDonald house. Bless your sweet little girl and your family.

$25
Anonymous
51 months ago
$10
Anonymous
52 months ago (Monthly Donation)
TN
$25
Tuyen Nguyen
52 months ago
WS
$50
Wendy (Suhonen) Steinbrecher
53 months ago

You're in my thoughts.

$25
Anonymous
53 months ago
$30
Anonymous
53 months ago
MH
$20
Melissa Hare
53 months ago (Monthly Donation)
DB
$50
Danika Brinda
53 months ago (Monthly Donation)
VJ
$50
Val and Kyle Johnson
53 months ago (Monthly Donation)
Christine Lynn
40 months ago

I just wanted to say that I'm sorry for your daughters loss. my son recently experienced the same rare strand of strep and fought for his life. I was lucky that he pulled thru and was with the best Dr's at CCMC in CT. My heart and mind is still at wonder cause of what happened to him. I know what you are experiencing with the couple of weeks I went thru it with my son. I don't know the right words to say to you but at least she lived a healthy happy life up until the last few moments. God Bless you and your family....

+ Read More
Sherry Roth
52 months ago

Crying so much for you and your family. Your story is such a beautiful tribute to your beloved Persephonee. Every time I look up at the stars, I will think of her. Peace and blessings.....

+ Read More
Jennifer Dunlop Gierok
54 months ago

I just felt my own heart shatter for you. I dont believe i have eder cried so much for someone i did not know. I too have a 5 year old baby girl. Oh i am so so so so very sorry. Every child deserves to grow up. To have that chance. After reading this I went and woke my Zoëy up just to hug and kiss her. God bless her. God bless you.

+ Read More
Teri Sharp
54 months ago

My heart goes out to your family. It's such a tragic loss of a beautiful angel. This story gives me such a deep sadness in my heart I don't know the family but my heart is broken and the tears keep flowing for your Angel. Even to just say I'm sorry doesn't seem right alot of people say that in these times of sorrow but it doesn't help not even time will help the heart break from this. Thank you for sharing your Angel with the world your story is sad but has touched many hearts I wish your family the best and hope you find some peace somehow in this sad time.

+ Read More
Eric Muggenburg
54 months ago

Well that gets this father of a 4 year old pretty teary before bed. I think my daughter and Persephonee would have been great friends. My Bella loves stars and constellations too! Bella loves chocolate chip cookies and would insist that any memorial be adorned with people in pink or purple or rainbows. God bless you all and especially keep Persephonee in your care.

+ Read More
Jen Kerrick
54 months ago

I remember coming to draw blood on your precious little girl. She was so brave and sat super still even though it was painful for her. I remember asking if she was 5 and she made sure to tell me she was 5 and a half . The way she asked you guys questions about what would happen next, I could tell she was super smart. I'm so sorry for your lose and you and your family will be in my prayers.

+ Read More
Tina Jacobsen
54 months ago

I will pray for peace, calmness and guidance for Persephonee's family. This is such a traic story, she is a beautiful child! She is a true hero.

+ Read More
Nikki Hanson-Regan
54 months ago

My prayers for comfort to you all. Beautiful little lady who we watched dance away at Jer &Lindsey's wedding , keep dancing and smiling in heaven.

+ Read More
Katherine Maquade
54 months ago

I am currently pregnant with my first child. We are actually going to find out the baby's gender today. And even though I have yet to actually see my baby or hold him/her in my arms i still consider myself a mother. and as a mother, reading this beautiful yet tragic story broke my heart; for you, your wife, your family, and al those who knew your daughter. But I am also exceedingly grateful that you shared this...because by telling her story you are continuing to share the gifts your daughter gave this world and ensuring that her memory lives on. Please know that even though I never met your brave little girl, her life and your words have touched me so deeply. She was a very lucky little girl to be so loved and have such wonderful parents. Heaven has indeed gained an angel, and I know she will be with you all of your days until you are reunited in paradise.

+ Read More
Kaitlyn Halverson
54 months ago

Just hearing about this brings tears in my eyes! No parent should have to go through something as horrible as this! My church and I will be praying for you everyday!

+ Read More
Shemeka Bogan
54 months ago

This has me in tears but I think it's so amazing that you found the strength to share her & this story. You & your family will be in my prayers! Rest in Peace Beautiful Angel!

+ Read More
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