LOCAL


Group helps parents who've lost children cope, recover


By sharing his story, a father from Boulder County is looking to help other parents who have lost children.


Author: Kevin Torres and KUSA , KUSA

Published: 5:47 PM MST November 7, 2014

Updated: 5:47 PM MST November 7, 2014


BOULDER – By sharing his story, a father from Boulder County is looking to help other parents who have lost children.

John Vogels' 3-year-old son Bladyn died in a drowning accident in 2011 after Bladyn ran into a neighbor's yard and slipped into their pond. Bladyn's mother, as well as rescuers, weren't able to pull the boy out of the pond in time.

"Losing a child is the worst thing I've ever experienced," said Vogels. "Struggling with the loss has been the hardest thing for us to do".

According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, each year more than 50,000 children die in the United States.

Losing a child can have long-term effects on the life of a parent. A study conducted by the National Institute of Health looked at parents who had lost kids between the ages of newborn to 34. The study discovered 18 years after the death of the child, parents grew more depressed, took less care of themselves and had additional health issues.

Not only did they lose their son, but at times the Vogels lost hope. Fortunately they found support.

"My wife and I had this enormous group of support and we're so grateful for it," Vogels said.

It was that support that saved them and also inspired them to help others.

"I want them [parents who have lost children] to know we're here to help them and support them," Vogels said.

Vogels and a few others created an organization called the Martyred Angels. It's a nonprofit group aimed at helping families who have lost children. Its goal is to help with funeral and service costs, as well as counseling. All the money they raise goes directly to families in need.

"Our main goal is to not only help families monetarily, of course, with the funeral costs and services, but we also have Calvary Church in Boulder that wants to offer food donations," he said.

When you lose a child, Vogel says the worst thing you can do is turn away help.

"It's been a difficult course but we stay together. We stay together as a family. We support each other," Vogels added.

All the money 'Martyred Angels' receives goes directly to those who need it most. If you're interested in donating or receiving assistance, visit: www.martyredangelsmc.com

Additional information: Study on parents who have lost children: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC284101...

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