In the News
May 19, 2016
Families gather to remember children lost too young
DANVERS — When a child becomes terminally ill or dies, it sends shockwaves throughout a community, said Nate Lamkin, director of bereavement services at Care Dimensions.
"When a young child dies, it violates the natural order of the universe," he said. "It's not supposed to happen."
In addition to providing hospice care for terminally ill adults, Care Dimensions also cares for children who are in need of end-of-life services. Since the Danvers nonprofit, previously known as Hospice of the North Shore and Greater Boston, formed its pediatric hospice program in the fall of 2013, the organization has cared for 50 pediatric patients. Eight children are currently in the organization's care.
Lamkin said Care Dimensions also deals with grieving parents who want to talk about their children, but face resistance from others.
"What parents are saying is, 'Talk about my daughter,'" Lamkin said.
So, Care Dimensions came up with a program called "In Celebration of Our Children: A Gathering of Remembrance," at Glen Magna Farms, 29 Ingersoll Road, at 4 p.m. this Friday.
It's a gathering, not a memorial service, and instead allows parents to celebrate the life of their child, said Jean Sheehy of Marblehead, whose daughter, Megan, died at age 14 in August 2014 from a nearly yearlong battle with a type of bone cancer called osteosarcoma.
The Sheehys were one of the families involved with planning the gathering, and Jean insisted the event not be called "a service."
Megan Sheehy's death shook Marblehead. The Marblehead Community Charter School student was an active kid who loved drama, boating, singing and horseback riding. Care Dimensions provided care for her at home, Lamkin said.
When she was sick, residents of the close-knit seaside town and elsewhere wrapped poles or adorned buildings with blue ribbons. Shortly before Megan died, hundreds of residents lined Marblehead Neck and town streets as she took a limo ride with her friends, thanks to a Make-A-Wish Foundation party thrown for her that culminated at the Warwick Place theater.
Jean Sheehy said the outpouring of support has made it easier to talk about her daughter with others.
"I think so much of all what happened in the community," she said.
On Saturday, May 21, the second annual Megan Sheehy Memorial Regatta and Blood Drive will be held at the Pleon Yacht Club, 42 Foster St., on Marblehead Neck. The blood drive, which starts at 9 a.m., benefits Mass General's pediatric center.
For more information about "In Celebration of Our Children," call Lamkin at 978-750-9311 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.