Saying Goodbye to a Child
Have you ever heard a story about something really tragic happening to someone but somehow that person finds a way to turn pain into love? I experienced it in real life this month when I interviewed Eric and Jana David who lost their 10-year-old son Dylan to brain cancer. The Los Angeles couple, who also has a 17-year-old son, Chandler, were super brave and appeared on KTLA this month to share their heartbreaking journey. I wanted to help them tell their story because these two individuals are not only helping to educate others about childhood cancer, they are also using their talents to comfort others who are experiencing similar situations.
Shortly after Dylan’s death, Jana started sewing quilts, but not just any quilt. These particular quilts are made from the t-shirts of children who have died from cancer. Through her non-profit www.surroundedbylovequilts.org Jana then shares those quilts with families who have lost a loved one. To date, she has made nearly 40 quilts. She admits she could always use volunteers and donations to help with materials, postage, and marketing.
Eric is a writer and documented Dylan’s entire six-year journey from diagnosis, to 3 brain surgeries to ultimately having to say goodbye. He tells the story that while Dylan was in the hospital, he looked at his Dad and said….”Please tell people, Remember just to love.” As you might expect, that is now the title of Eric’s manuscript.
Watching Eric and Jana as individuals and as a couple, inspired me and reminded me that we are all on a journey together. Our paths may be different, but the way we influence one another to react to the bumps in the road is the key. In the end, as Dylan continues to remind us, love conquers all.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As an Emmy and Genesis Award-winning journalist, Lu Parker has worked in the television news business as an anchor and reporter for more than two decades. She is also a former Miss USA, author and animal advocate. Lu has won four Emmys for her work in the television industry. She has also been honored with two Genesis Awards from the Humane Society United States for her outstanding reporting and creative portrayals of animal protection issues including investigations into Puppy Mills, Elephant Abuse, and Beagle Lab Testing. You can find her anchoring and reporting the news in Los Angeles, California on KTLA Channel 5. She currently anchors the 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. newscasts and reports on health and wellness. For more insight into health-related issues and Lu’s opinion on living a more happy and successful life, be sure to check out her BLOG. During her career, Lu has interviewed hundreds of celebrities including Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, Aretha Franklin, Matt Damon, Clint Eastwood, Robert Pattinson, Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Lawrence, & Kanye West. See her in action here. In 2016, she partnered with Maria Shriver and KTLA creating The Path with Lu Parker. The television segment showcases the paths of individuals who aspire to inspire as Lu interviews influential people and celebrities who are making real change in the world. In addition to her KTLA anchoring and reporting, Lu has appeared on television shows such as ABC’s Scandal, TNT’s Major Crimes, and NBC’s Days of our Lives. Prior to her career in broadcasting, Lu was a ninth-grade English Literature teacher. While teaching, in 1994, she captured both the Miss South Carolina USA, and Miss USA titles. In addition, as Miss USA, she placed 4th in the Miss Universe Pageant. After winning the Miss USA title, Lu moved to Los Angeles, California. For a year, she traveled the world making hundreds of appearances. You can read more about her pageant experiences and find valuable competition tips in her book titled “Catching the Crown” The Source for Pageant Competition which is available at Amazon.com. Lu is an avid traveler and has visited nearly 30 countries where she has had the opportunity to meet with dignitaries such Prince William and Kate Middleton The Duchess of Cambridge and Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. While on a trip to South Africa, Lu also had the opportunity to discuss human and animal rights during visits with Nelson Mandela and Animal Advocate Jane Goodall. Lu has an English degree from the College of Charleston where she was named Alumnus of the Year. She also holds a Master of Arts degree in Education from The Citadel. Lu has been presented with the Palmetto Award, the highest civilian honor given in the state of South Carolina, and has been recognized in the South Carolina Congressional Record twice as an outstanding South Carolinian. In her free time, Lu is an advocate for homeless animals. In 2010, she created Lu Parker Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping homeless animals and at-risk teenagers through community projects and education. She is an avid polo player, hiker, and writer. Lu has been a vegetarian for over 30 years and became vegan in 2014. She participates in dozens of charity events annually raising money for children, animals, and the needy. Lu lives in Los Angeles with her cat Boogie and dog Monkey. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.