A blog post written by Thirty Seven West:
"From time to time, we hear of shocking, tragic events, the kind of events that change lives forever. In these cases, we often struggle to imagine how those involved are able to go on in the wake of such heartbreak.
And yet, there are times when despair can inspire extraordinary beauty, when those involved are able to pick up the pieces and mold them into something powerful.
At Thirty Seven West, we are sometimes privileged to be a part of such efforts. As you may know, we make custom woven labels for designers, crafters, and others, so that they can proudly put their mark on their creations. Those marks, or logos, always have a story behind them.
Today we’d like to share one of those stories.
When maternity leave was nearing its end, Kathryn and Ashley Martin did what most parents these days do, found a nice, safe little daycare center to care for their daughter Kellie Rynn.
After finding a facility that came highly recommended, and listed on the state’s approved website, they left her in the hands of the facility’s caregivers.
Kellie Rynn Martin was a healthy, bubbly baby, with big blue eyes and an easy laugh. Her parents Kathryn and Ashley were overjoyed to have their first child, who was also the first grandchild and great-grandchild in their family.
She was only 3 ½ months old when she died from suffocation at her daycare. She had been put down for a nap, face-down in the crib.
Her parents were devastated. Distraught. How could something like this happen? They had done everything right: They only considered facilities on the state’s list of approved childcare providers. They asked friends and family for recommendations. They toured facilities to see what they were like.
And yet, they lost their precious baby.
After months of searching for answers, they were horrified to learn that this childcare facility was not what it appeared to be.
They were shocked to find that nearly two-dozen children were in the facility every day, when state law only allows 6 to a registered day care. . When prospective parents toured the facility, most of the children were ushered into the basement and kept hidden until the visitors left. None of the staff was trained in CPR. No one had enough basic childcare experience to know that infants should never be placed face down, because they have not yet developed the muscles to turn themselves over.
This sweet, beautiful life was lost due to simple, stupid negligence.
Since Kellie Rynn’s death, her parents Kathryn and Ashley have spoken to the South Carolina Senate and House of Representatives, and continue to campaign for stricter laws governing daycare facilities, as well as harsher penalties for childcare centers that do not comply.
They have made it their mission to prevent other families from experiencing the same heartbreak.
Friends and family have also come together to build the Kellie Rynn Academy, a “lab school” dedicated to teaching daycare professionals the highest standards of safety and child care.
Kellie Rynn’s maternal grandmother, Kitzi Craig, is donating her artistic talents to help fund the academy. Kitzi had always been artistic, but after Kellie Rynn’s death, she turned to her art to help her heal.
Kitzi found herself inspired by the cardinals that suddenly seemed to have invaded the trees in her yard. She began painting the cute, chubby ruby-red birds. When she shared her new passion with a close friend, she learned that cardinals are believed to be representatives of loved ones who have passed away. When you see a cardinal, it is a visit from the person you lost. They tend to show up when you need them the most and they remind us that even though we may have lost someone dear, that person remains with you.
Comforted by that thought, Kitzi was inspired to keep painting the cardinals. Then she began selling them to help raise money for the Kellie Rynn Academy.
But she wanted to add something to her creations to explain the significance of the cardinals. Kitzi found Thirty Seven West online and had custom labels created for her products. Now every item displays a label explaining the messages of the cardinals. All of the money generated by the sales of the cardinals goes directly to the academy.
“I know that the story of the cardinal is just as important as the painting itself, so now every customer can see the inspiration behind the design,” says Kitzi. A cardinal has even become the logo of the Kellie Rynn Academy.
Kitzi lets customers choose the pattern they like the most. Each pillow is quite unique, hand painted with ink. A number of the pillows have been purchased as memorial gifts to be given to others who have lost someone close.
So, in an effort to support this worthy cause—and the brave choice to create beauty out of heartbreak—we invite you to help. If you would like to order one of the cardinal pillows for yourself or as a gift for someone else, you can order directly from Kitzi at this link: http://www.kellierynnacademy.com/kra-pillows/ "
Thank you Thirty Seven West for your constant support. We greatly appreciate it.