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I have three sons. Two of them are special needs children.

Danny, my first son (who was 3 1/2 years old) suddenly passed away twelve years ago due to an affliction from an unexpected rare, fast growing, cancerous tumor. He passed away within 24 hours after being diagnosed at the hospital; while on the operating table. It had affected his lungs, heart, and liver. The doctors said that it started approximately six weeks before that point with little or no symptoms.

It was such a shock. My husband and I were devastated.

We were able to get support from a wonderful support group called The Compassionate Friends (TCF) / Bergen/ Passaic Chapter. TCF is a bereavement group where one can get support for parents, grandparents, and siblings. It is here that they are able to vent. The TCF membership helps you heal at their meetings. We went there ten days after Danny died while we were still in a whirlwind of emotions and did not know if we were coming or going. I was so thankful for the group. Had it not been for them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. TCF helped me so much with my ongoing bereavement journey.

My second son was only thirteen months old and was not verbal when he was diagnosed with a severe neurological speech disorder called Apraxia.

It was through the TCF meeting circle that a member came from “a very dark place” and was able to live again in her daughter’s memory. This is the one night that inspired me enough to start a nonprofit support group for my second son as well as a support group for other parents in my area.

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