Whether you have children or not, you can appreciate this story. Lillian Ann Dunkerton was born April 2nd, 2011 and passed away April 6th, 2011. Two young, first-time parents, Jeff and Amber Dunkerton made the most difficult choice no parent should ever have to make, to choose between a short and painful life for their new daughter, or to remove life support so that she could pass peacefully.
Lily was born at Danbury Hospital but was rushed to the Connecticut Children's Medical Center where she was treated for her life-threatening condition. Though they had planned and excitedly waited for Lily's arrival, Jeff and Amber decided to trade the hopes and dreams they had created for their new little girl in order to lessen her pain. Lily held onto life for 4 days, giving Jeff and Amber moments which they would now never trade for anything.
In those 4 days, Jeff and Amber forwent sleep and many meals to spend every minute holding Lily. Inevitably, that is where she took her last breath, in the arms of her loving parents.
Jeff and Amber are two of my best friends and two of the strongest people I know. Though completely within their rights to be mad at the world and of little faith, I have never seen more positivity and inspiration for personal strength. Because the memory of Lily is so vibrantly alive for them, keeping her memory alive in others has been their personal quest. Amber once told me that she found comfort in knowing that although short, Lily's life was filled with nothing but love. That is what Lily's legacy is about.
Even in our darkest moments, we should strive to fill every one of those moments with love. Be kind to others, appreciate your family and friends, and take no moment for granted. And if good fortune befalls you, always pay it forward.
And if Jeff and Amber can find gratefulness, I'm sure you, too, have something for which to be grateful so I'm asking you to pay it forward today, for Lily's legacy. Please click DONTATE at the top-right of this page to give to the Connecticut Children's Medical Center.
Lily's Legacy is a movement which, together with Jeff and Amber, I am most proud to be a part. Each year, during Infant Loss Remembrance month, our ever-growing team has pledged to return to Hartford, CT and run the Hartford Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K in Lily's memory to benefit the Connecticut Children's Medical Center. This was Lily’s home and is still home to many children in need of hope, love, and strength.