"When I was five, my dad went out to play racquetball with his friends, but he never came home. While playing he had a massive heart attack and passed away.
Tragedy struck again when I was ten. My little sister, Bridget, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer. She fought the disease with courage and determination for a year and a half, but the cancer was too aggressive and we lost her too.
The aftermath following these losses was the darkest and most difficult period of my life; for a long time there was only sadness and pain. All of that changed after my family found Willow House. They showed us a way to climb out of the darkness of grief by remembering the love and the good memories in place of the pain.
At Willow House I learned that I wasn't alone, that there were others coping with loss. I was able to surround myself with people who understood how I was feeling; kids who were struggling with the same issues. It felt like family, a place where you were not different, not pitied or where people were uncomfortable in you talking about your loss. This was a place I could talk about my great Dad and my sweet sister without making people feel awkward.
The difference Willow House made in our family was tremendous. The wonderful staff and volunteers really changed our lives. My experiences at Willow House have shaped what I want to do with my life. I have had the opportunity to volunteer at Willow House as a counselor; I’ve given speeches at local high schools about my family's experience and even spoke at the annual fundraiser a couple of years ago. This summer I had the awesome experience of interning at Willow House. It was an eye opening experience. When you are on the receiving end of learning to work through your grief, you have no idea how much time, effort and, well, work go into making Willow House possible.
I know I speak for my family and many other families in saying that Willow House is a special place. I am sure we would have survived had we not found Willow House, but I know our journey would have been much harder and I know we would never have found the support, the love and the family that we found at Willow House. "
Tim, Willow House Family Member & Volunteer
Tim shared his story in support of Willow House for #GivingTuesday. Help us support more grieving children, teens, families, and communities by making a donation to Willow House or by sharing this story on social media. No effort is too small!
Because of YOU, Willow House will be able to continue providing support to grieving families, just like Tim's.