Kindness For Kaden, Inc. is a non-profit organization 501 (c)(3) that we started in memory of our amazing son who left this Earth way too soon. Kaden Michael Diehl was 10 ½ years old when he passed away unexpectedly on July 5, 2014. Kaden was a healthy boy who loved riding his bike, fishing, reading, playing baseball, collecting antiques (license plates, lanterns, and anything that he said would “eventually become old”), and helping others without wanting recognition. Kaden had flu like symptoms that started on the night of July 3rd and within 31 hours he left this Earth and became an angel. For no apparent reason, God had a plan for our son that day that we will never understand. After many long weeks of not knowing the real cause of his death, we were finally given a diagnosis. Kaden died from viral myocarditis. Myocarditis is a disease marked by inflammation and damage of the heart muscle. It usually attacks otherwise healthy people and it is believed that 5 to 20% of all cases of sudden death in young adults are due to this disease. In Kaden’s situation, he presented with flu like symptoms. For no apparent reason the virus went into his blood stream and attacked his heart. It can be difficult for medical professionals to detect and is usually misdiagnosed as the symptoms that an individual presents with widely vary. (visit myocarditisfoundation.org for more information)
Our lives have been forever changed. We went from a household of four to suddenly just three of us. Our daughter Cameron, who was 7 years old at the time, lost her brother, her playmate, and the sparkle in her beautiful blue eyes. She went from sharing the upstairs of our home to being alone upstairs. She went from playing with cars, trucks, and Legos with her brother to not wanting to play or do the things that they used to do. Not only were our hearts broken from the loss of our son, but our hearts were broken for our daughter. She was hurting at such a young age and forced to deal with what many don’t encounter ever in their lifetime.
Kaden has a half sister, Jessica, who was 16 years old at the time. She was greatly impacted by this huge loss as well. Visits were no longer the three kids hanging out with Kaden and Cameron fighting for Jessica's attention. It became "just the girls" with only the memory of what Kaden would be doing and how he would be interacting. Jessica has grown up quickly and continues to do so by being a part of the Kindness For Kaden, Inc. journey.
Josh and I are focusing on discovering the positive within this tragic situation. We have remained strong for Cameron and Jessica and strive to make sure they are grieving properly and that Cameron has regained that sparkle in her eyes. Cameron's smile and positive attitude keeps us going every day. We keep putting one foot in front of another and have developed a new appreciation for many things in life. Most of all…the fact that tomorrow is never promised. “Every. Single. Day.” we count our blessings and search for the positive. Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t think of our son and miss him like crazy.
The community, school, friends, and family have blessed our family with amazing support at our worst times from the very beginning. The outpouring of comfort we immediately received from people that we have never met was simply amazing. We are continually blessed along this journey of grieving the loss of Kaden and deeply appreciate the support that comes from so many people and places. It is this support that keeps us going and moving forward on a daily basis.
For the last seven years we have had a birthday party without a smiling boy to blow out the candles. We decided to still celebrate this day and we will continue to celebrate Kaden’s birthday by having a party with his close friends. The smiles spread across the faces of Kaden’s friends are priceless. Seeing them having fun and spending time together while spending time with Josh, Cameron, and I brings such bittersweet happiness to our family. It helps to fill that void we have in our hearts and our home.
It has now been 8 years since Kaden left us to be safe in the arms of God. Our family has decided that we are finally ready to share what we have learned. We no longer want to keep that celebration and happiness of his beautiful life to one specific day. We are ready to do more. We are ready to share our pain and happiness. We want to give back to the community that has helped us through the unthinkable.
The other major support in our life, especially for our daughter Cameron, has been a local organization called, Kyle’s Korner. Kyle's Korner, located in Wauwatosa, is dedicated to helping grieving children, teens, and their families who are coping with the death of a loved one. They offer peer support groups that provide the opportunity to draw strength from others who have had similar experiences and share similar feelings. They offer a place to retreat and focus on building hope for the future, while journeying through the healing process in a safe and supportive environment. Their support groups are free and they are funded solely by donations of individuals, businesses, foundations, and other groups. They do not receive state or federal funding or third party reimbursement (kyleskorner.org). This is a group that I never thought we would be a part of and I never want anyone to have to join. To those that need it, it is an absolutely amazing place. We cannot thank Kyle’s Korner enough for what they have done for us and our daughter and therefore want to include them and give back to them for all of their support they have given us.
Kindness For Kaden, Inc. seeks to work with others to give back to the community through
service projects and acts of kindness.
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