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    Our story starts out like most other families.  We were blessed with a beautiful, healthy baby boy on October 18, 2009.  Joey was everything and more than we could have wished for or dreamed of.  From early on, we knew we had an adventure-seeker on our hands.  He could find trouble wherever he looked, no matter how hard we tried to keep him out of it!  He was an independent soul who loved to explore and meet new people.  He could out-laugh, out-climb, out-wrestle, and out-boogie just about anybody.  When he smiled, his whole body smiled, as did anyone who was near him.  His luminous, happy soul was infectious and brought immense joy to anyone whose path he crossed. 

       On January 30, 2011, our world changed in the blink of an eye.  During a regular morning nap and without warning, Joey died after a sudden infection overtook his body, causing a cardiac arrest. He was 15 months and 12 days old. We are left to live  our days filled with unanswerable questions and infinite shock and emptiness as we struggle to survive in a world without our incredible little boy in it.  We still look for him in everything we do and everywhere we go.  We will never stop missing, never stop longing....and never, ever stop loving.   

On September 12, 2009 we gave birth to a perfect, precious little boy - Connor. At just 5 pounds, 1 ounce, he was instantly nicknamed Peanut.  Our Peanut.  And we had him for 500 magical days.  In life, Connor knew no strangers, gave hugs and grins with loving abandon, and spread joy through a simple look, smile, touch or laugh.  In death and beyond, Peanut continues to make everyone he touched a better person.  We have come to refer to this as The Peanut Effect.

On the morning of January 26, 2011, when he was exactly 16.5 months old, Connor died in his sleep without warning or explanation.  SUDC - Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood.  Our commitment to our amazing son, our Peanut, is to advocate on behalf of, and spread education and awareness about, SUDC.  And to remember Peanut with our hearts, minds and souls full of love and joy - to the moon and back.


Our mission is to create a gathering place in the Saint Louis area for families who have suffered the loss of a child. This place is not a cemetery, but an oasis from the outside world for people who find themselves walking through life without their children beside them. Our dream is to create a space for parents to inscribe the names of their lost loved ones, for their siblings to play on an exciting playground and for all to come and enjoy the natural beauty of a glorious garden.  In this place of beauty and remembrance, a community of bereaved families will come together and smile in celebration of the lives that changed the world, but were cut short too soon.

In its early imaginative stages, Project Pinwheel will eventually include the following amenities:

  1. A memorial statue/monument/wishing fountain dedicated to our children

  2. A year-round garden with walking path and serenity benches

  3. A playground for siblings and community children to enjoy the beauty of play

  4. Name plaques or bricks for parents and families to inscribe their child’s names and a short message

  5. Picnic shelter with tables and accommodations for birthday celebrations, family events, etc.

  6. A photo wall for families to display their prized images of their children

The beauty of this collaborative community-wide project is that the possibilities are endless and we are limited only by the scope of our wildest imaginations.  Please contact us if you have any ideas or suggestions to add to our vision and help our project be the best it can be and make this dream a reality. 

Our goal is to provide a physical space that belongs to parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, and community members who have suffered the loss of a child.  This includes pregnancy or infant loss, death in early childhood or adolescence, or death of an adult child.  No matter what the circumstances that led to our losses, living in this world without the children who should be beside us creates a common thread between us.  We share the same emptiness, we know the same anger, we live with the same pain.  We also feel the same endless, infinite love for our kids. 

We don’t have to do it alone. 

This will be our place.  This will be our place to remember and to celebrate the fact that they lived instead of focusing on their passing.  This will be our place that allows us to make sure the rest of the world remembers that their lasting mark will never be forgotten. 

Meet a few of Project Pinwheel’s founding families:

© Project Pinwheel 2011        www.projectpinwheel-stl.org    •    projectpinwheel@gmail.com