At our tournament this year we will have a baby remembrance of babies that our foundation has helped, or that we have met along our journey of establishing and running the foundation. We believe it is important to share their stories and say their names.
We are remembering Toby today. I found Toby’s Mommy, Katie, through her writings about losing Toby. Through her words I was able to relate and validate my feelings after we lost Rhett. Katie and her husband have started a non-profit, The Little Fox Foundation. The Little Fox supports families by educating on Safe Sleep Practices, SIDS Awareness and donating Owlet Smart Sock monitors to families across the United States welcoming an infant. This is Toby’s story….
Tobias “Toby” Graham Stern
May 27, 2016 – August 24, 2016
“August 24 was a normal morning – we got up and got Luke and Toby ready for the babysitters and we got ready for our work day. I drove the boys to daycare; got Luke out of the car and carried Toby inside in his car seat. I kissed both boys and said “I love you both. Be good today. Dad will pick you up and I will see you at home.” That afternoon around 2pm Toby went down for his afternoon nap and he didn’t wake up. Dan and I got the calls while we were at work and Toby was transported to the hospital without us. Dan made it to the hospital before I did and watched as 20+ medical staff tried to revive Toby. When I got there it was nearly 5pm. Toby was pronounced dead at 4:12pm. On my drive to the hospital all I kept saying repeatedly was “Toby, I’m coming. God please help him.” The next time I held Toby, he was already gone. We sat with him until 10pm. Leaving him in the hospital room with people that didn’t even know him was one of the hardest moments, of that time in our life, I ever experienced.
We miss watching him grow; playing with his brothers; not hearing him laugh or take his first steps. We miss every moment of him not being here, down to the things that most people take for granted.
In our grief, we started a Foundation in Toby’s memory in 2017, almost a year after he died. Dan and I knew that Toby’s life and story had purpose and that his memory was meant to live on through us. Our Foundation donates Owlet Smart Socks to families welcoming an infant to provide “peace of mind” for the parents and caregivers and monitor the infant while they sleep.
Toby’s death has changed my husband and I and Toby’s older brother in many ways. Dan and I don’t feel like we will ever be the same people as we were before August 24, 2016. Emotionally, many things still make my heart break – watching siblings together; hearing Luke talk about Toby and knowing how much he misses him; certain times of year – holidays or birthdays. Financially we were blessed to have the support of our family, friends, and community after Toby passed away.
Any way that the Rhett Sullivan Foundation can help another family when a child dies, is support to them.”