When I was in high school I had the fortune of a very special woman coming into my life: Amy Haugen (now Beecher). She was the youth director at my church, and she let me spend most of my senior year of high school on her couch, in her kitchen, and lounging on her floor. She never sent me away when I showed up on her doorstep unannounced late at night. When I worked at a bible camp during the summer and was absolutely exhausted, she gave me a safe haven in her air conditioned room in the ARC (for visiting youth directors and pastors) so I could nap. She was an unbelievably good friend to me and, I would say, the most important person in my life.
She got married to Jason and though I liked him very much, I felt like I was losing a big sister...and I was. Our paths split--she went into married life and I went deeper into college and my own world. I went to visit them in the summer of 1999 in Colorado, and that's the last time I've seen them.
Amy and Jason have two children--Noah and Jess. This morning I woke up having dreamed about Amy. Random dream, we flew to France together, but what wasn't random was the incredible urge I felt to contact her. To reconnect. For whatever reason, I googled them rather than just shooting off an email. I met shocking news: Jess, their daughter, died last summer from complications due to epilepsy. I knew that she struggled with this illness, but I guess I just assumed that because the email updates stopped coming that Jess's seizures were under control and she was happily enjoying being a 4 year old kid. She died on June 18th, 2007.
In honor of her memory and to raise money for seizure related disorders such as Epilepsy and Tuberous Sclerosis, Jason is doing 'Journey for Jess,' where he will travel to 31 national parks taking pictures and collecting donations for their local chapters of the Epilepsy Foundation and TS Alliance.
Please consider donating to this extremely worthy cause. What Amy, Jason, and Noah have gone through is something that no one should have to. Taking this loss and turning it into a positive impact on others is exactly the type of thing that Amy and Jason would do. They are a kind, generous, caring couple. Donate whatever you can to help Jason and to help their family heal.