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Happy Easter and Update!

Happy Easter!  With grief after child loss, or any loss for that matter, Easter is one of those holidays that just gets tough to work your way through.  The general theme of death and rebirth are an unwelcome reminder of those that aren’t miraculously reborn to celebrate with us.  Familial gatherings and family traditions such as Easter celebrations are always extremely difficult for us still, because Rhett should be running around chasing bunnies and collecting a bounty of eggs with his sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. 

However, there is comfort and hope around Easter, as well.  We get to gather with our closest support system in our family and friends to celebrate our faith and the ability to rise out of the lowest of lows.  While we may get down, we can recognize all the ways we are actually blessed, when at times, blessed seems to be the worst word to describe our state of being.  With this time of year comes Spring, baseball and golf, new growth and warmth, sunny days and new life.  Storm season is upon us, and even that has some kind of spiritual effect on us, when drawing parallels with waves of grief.  All storms pass, and make way for perfect, calm days on the other side.

Reach out and let us know how we may be able to help you, or those around you, get through their own depressing times.  We’re happy to put our time and effort into comforting others dealing with such loss.

We’ve got some big announcements to make this Spring! The Rhett Sullivan Foundation has started touching lives in our child loss community already, and we’re ready to do much more.  Over the last several weeks, we’ve been focused on outreach to the community and we’d like to THANK YOU for helping us expand our presence!

Latest News…

  • Picked up another 60 Facebook followers over the last two months!  Keep sharing updates with your network and invite friends to join!
  • Initiated a Monthly Newsletter and Email List to inform our contacts of latest news and events.  If you aren’t receiving the newsletter, please visit the Contact Us link on the website and fill out the form. 
  • Established 10 New Partnerships to facilitate identification and support for family beneficiaries of our mission!  Our new partners include:

Merit Memorial, Mulkey Mason Funeral Home, Flower Mound Funeral Home,
Texas Health Denton, Village Counseling, DeBerry Funeral Home, Medical City Lewisville, Roselawn Memorial Park, Mindful Counseling, Connections Wellness Group

New 2019 Fundraising Events Announced…

  • Restaurant Night – Benefitting the Rhett Sullivan Foundation – Sponsored by State Draft House and Craft Kitchen in Flower Mound, TX.  May 16th, 11AM to 10PM. Get all the latest information at our Facebook event page.
  • Inaugural Rhett Sullivan Golf Drive – Cowboys Golf Club, Grapevine, TX. September 9th.  Seeking all golfers, corporate sponsors, volunteers and dinner/reception attendees!  Family-friendly reception following the tournament.  More details to come!

On a personal note, we’re off to Vernon, TX this weekend to spend time with family and best of all, attend the dedication of a new playground donated and installed in memory of our son, Rhett, at the Boys and Girls Club of Vernon.  While this donation did not happen through the foundation, we want to share how Rhett’s legacy continues to make an impact.  While this weekend’s holiday is sure to bring sadness and grief, we’ll all be so proud of our son for making an impact in young children’s lives by bringing great joy each day through play in one of our hometowns.  A little excerpt from the recent press release –

Rhett’s legacy, and his memorable smile, that adorns the sign that overlooks the playground, will live on in our community for years to come. “We’re so thankful and proud to provide the children of my hometown community a moment of joy each day at the Boys and Girls Club.” Ryan states. “For our son’s sweet smile to adorn this playground for years to come, and for his name to be remembered, gives us our own small moment of joy, as well, knowing he is continuing to make an impact in other young lives all on his own.”

Much Love,

Rhett’s Mom and Dad

Rhett Sullivan Foundation is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

We’re Expanding Our Reach

Happy Belated Valentine’s Day to all of you!  While such a minor holiday on the calendar, Valentine’s Day has always been a fun tradition we share with the kids.  Ryan typically gets home to cook dinner for all his ladies, complete with dessert, treats and flowers, and the girls just love it.  We really enjoy outwardly sharing our love for each other on this day, and of course, wish we had our Rhett here to celebrate with us.  We know he’d do something extra special for his Mommy and big sisters every year.

This month, Tyler has made the leap to focus on the Rhett Sullivan Foundation full-time, leaving a productive career behind to spend more time with our own family and do all we can to improve the lives of other grieving families around us through this non-profit.  The additional time spent in building this organization is already noticeable, and we’re thankful we are blessed to be able to make that transition.

A few quick housekeeping updates for all those that have supported us so far…

  • We’ve got only 335 followers on Facebook, which is our primary outlet for news. Please engage with us in our promotion efforts and ask you friends to join in.  Share our social media posts and send our updates to all those you think would have interest in supporting us or simply staying in-tune with our progress.  Every bit helps, and we’re extremely focused on expanding our reach over the next several months.
  • Thanks again for all your donations in last year’s fundraising campaign! Thank you letters will be going out soon, we apologize for the delay.  Please know your donation is greatly valued! If you did not receive a letter for tax purposes when you donated, please reach out.
  • We’re excited to announce that we are officially set-up on AmazonSmile! Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice.  Choose to support the Rhett Sullivan Foundation by starting your shopping at amazon.com. To continue to support every time you order, you have to order from the AmazonSmile site each time.
  • We would like to have everyone join our mailing list to receive newsletters and other updates via email. Please visit the Contact Us link on the website and fill out the form.  This will also help us maintain contact information for all of our supporters in the event we need to reach you directly for donation receipts, fundraising and volunteer opportunities.  We’d love to have you forward these updates along to friends, family and coworkers to spread our message.

Finally, we’d like to extend a big THANK YOU to Sable Gonyea & Rebekah Mitchell and the rest of the DFW Pregnancy & Infant Loss Comfort ConnectionTyler was invited to participate in their most recent meeting in January, in Irving, TX, where several non-profits supporting bereaved families experiencing child loss meet regularly to collaborate and share in their own experiences and successes.  Last month, Hope Mommies Dallas presented to the group.  We would ask that you all check-out their cause, as they were a major source of support for us in our worst moments.  Also in attendance were M.E.N.D., A Memory Grows, Village Counseling and Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep…all worthy organizations on the mission to helping bereaved families

We look forward to future meetings and the opportunity to present our cause with the group, and impact to the community.

Spring is on its way here, and that means time to get outside and play with those kiddos as much as you can.  We are beginning to make plans for 2019 fundraising events, so let us know if you would like to participate, have any fundraising ideas or would like to volunteer.  As always, we encourage you all to introduce us to families in need of our assistance, and to continue to make connections between us and counseling services, funeral directors, cemeteries and healthcare social workers who can connect us to those families in need.  Most importantly, please help us expand our reach to the community through social media, email, phone calls, etc.  We’re here and able to help!

Much Love,

Rhett’s Mom and Dad

Rhett Sullivan Foundation is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Happy New Year! – 2018 Fundraising Recap

Dear Rhett Sullivan Foundation Supporters,

We made it through our second round of fall/winter holidays without our boy, Rhett.  While this effort has given us something to focus on and keep Rhett’s memory very much alive, there is always that missing seat at the table, empty stocking hanging on the mantle or lack of presents around the tree that remind us of how much greater this time of year could be.  Please continue to pray for those families missing their babies over the holidays.  We know we’re part of a small community that feels that certain empty feeling more often during November and December, and hope you all can reach out to those you may know suffering the same and remind them you remember their child.  Call the child by name.  It means so much.

Thank you so much for making our 2018 fundraising drive a major success!  The foundation received over 150 individual donations over the last 6 weeks!  We blew right past our $25,000 goal by the end of November, and have substantially added to that through the holidays and year-end.  As promised, our family has personally matched $12,000 in donations, in addition to the $12,000 we received from friends and family in 2017.  Because of your generosity and willingness to support Rhett’s cause, we are able to immediately begin providing financial support to local families who experience child loss in 2019.

In addition to funding the organization in 2018, we established a significant online presence with our website and social presence with over 1,000 unique website visits, over 5,000 people reached with our first blog announcement/letter and engagement from 350+ followers on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  We hope to keep the momentum rolling into a productive year.  Please do your best to spread the word and our message on social media platforms to gain more traction there.

This year is a big one for our Foundation, so please continue to track our activities and lend support as you can.  We are constantly reaching out to local funeral directors, hospital social services/chaplains and other social service care providers to identify those families who could use our support.  Additionally, personal outreach is important, so if you would like to refer a family our way, please feel free to do so.  Since making our kick-off announcement, we have been informed of three early child loss cases in our immediate region in November alone and hope to provide assistance to those families.  Since Rhett’s passing, we have identified another 5 cases in Denton County who could have benefitted from our efforts in ’17 and ’18.

We are currently making plans for fundraising events in 2019, and will be asking for volunteers to provide much needed assistance when the time comes.  More to come on that front, but until then, please help us keep expanding our outreach to the community.

Happy New Year!

Rhett’s Mom and Dad

Rhett Sullivan Foundation is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Announcement – Rhett’s Mission is Underway!

Family, Friends and Colleagues –

We’re so excited to announce the Rhett Sullivan Foundation, an organization formed to support families experiencing unexpected early child loss, in an effort to enable them to find a way to their new normal.  Infant loss occurs in 5-6 of every 1,000 births in Texas alone.  That’s over 2,200 tragic deaths each year across our state which are completely unexpected and devastating to those families.  The impact of early child loss to our community is impossible to overcome, as these tragedies have a lasting negative impact to families in our region, both financially, and worse, emotionally.

We lost our only son, Rhett Matthew Sullivan, after spending 82 wonderful days as a family of five.  Rhett is still our pride and joy.  We always dreamed of having a boy and once he joined us, our family felt complete.  His sisters, Hudson and Emory, just adored him and treated him as their real life baby doll.  They are such great big sisters and we all still talk about the impact Rhett has had on all of us.  Once all of that was taken away from us, for no good reason at all, we were absolutely shocked and staggered.  It wasn’t until well after the memorial service and burial, that we realized there seemed to be nowhere to turn for support.  In fact, turning anywhere for support is about the last thing on your mind.

Our family is very blessed with our support system through family, friends and work.  Financially, we were able to withstand the burden of never-ending hospital bills and funeral expenses, and quickly focus on our emotional well-being.  We are eternally grateful for the several family members, friends and colleagues who raised funds or donated funds directly to assist us financially, and in the end, over $12,000 was given to help cover the unexpected expenses associated with Rhett’s death.  We have decided to apply those funds directly to this initiative, to allow for Rhett to have an impact on many others, for years to come.

With the holidays upon us, we ask everyone to consider others who may be less fortunate, and do what you can to assist the community of families who are struggling with early child loss.  This week brings #GivingTuesday, a day we’d like to kick-off our fundraising drive through year-end 2018.  You may have heard Facebook and Paypal are matching $7M in donations that day.  Our family will personally match all donations received through the end of the year, up to the $12,000 amount we received in our immediate time of loss.  Please help us meet our goal of $25,000 raised by year-end.  This amount will cover all start-up costs of the organization, and allow us to immediately begin to assist local families who experience loss in 2019.  Donations can be made on our website at the link here Make a Donation.

Going forward, we will work directly with funeral directors, funeral homes, hospital networks, social workers, grief counselors and other grief support nonprofits to identify and assist family beneficiaries, both locally and regionally.  Please feel free to reach out via our website’s “Contact Us” link with any recommendations or feedback.  As we get rolling, we would appreciate any introductions, feedback or volunteer support you are able to offer.

In addition to monetary donations, we would be very appreciative of your thoughts and prayers as we begin this new journey.  Founding this organization is part of our grief journey.  We are very encouraged about the road ahead and proud of the impact Rhett will have on this world, as he watches us from above.

Much love,

Rhett’s Mom and Dad

Rhett Sullivan Foundation is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.