June 14, 2009 – October 29, 2011
Our beautiful baby girl, Autumn Lynn Danchanko was born on June 14, 2009. We don’t speak of the date she passed because it is just too painful. She is and always will be our “”baby cakes””, a bright beautiful 2 year-old girl; that now calls heaven her home. Commonly known as “OoutieScootie” she hugged, kissed and loved complete strangers. She inspired everyone she met. She had a love for all of god’s creatures; frogs, snakes, spiders, worms and especially caterpillars (even though she was allergic). Always touching and holding each of them with love.
Autumn adored her big brother, Daric, mimicking everything big “brodder” did, as Autumn called him. Daric was seven when he lost his sister, and her loss changed his life forever.
Father Eric and Mother Dana, never imagined they would be the ones that would lose one of their children. They have heard stories of similar loss but “that” would never happen to them.
It was a chilly late October day, heavy wet “snowman snow” covered the ground about six inches deep. To get ready for our beautiful snowy Halloween party Dana had Eric running all around the house setting up food, drinks and games. The last thing to do was blow up tubes for sled riding. Guests began to arrive while Eric remained in the basement inflating tubes. Dana was in the garage greeting people as they arrived. Uncle Chris pulled his truck closer to the garage to let out his uncle, who had recent knee surgery. He was unaware of the eighty-one foot (81) blindzone behind his 2009, Ford F-150 truck and did not see Autumn when she darted behind his vehicle. It was amidst all this fun and merriment the unthinkable did happen, Autumn was taken to heaven at the early age of two.
Everyone worked to save Autumn. The paramedics, the firemen, the ambulance workers, the hospital staff…. Their efforts were heroic but God needed her. The events of that day changed our family’s lives forever. In the days and weeks following the tragedy, we did not know how we could continue on without Autumn Lynn. Our family and Autumn’s 7-year-old brother, Daric, quickly found we were not alone. Very limited rearview visibility takes the life of two children per week; and injuries at least another forty-eight children. Our family works to raise awareness of the risks associated with rearview visibility with hopes our efforts could save the life of other children.
We as a family continue to preserve our daughter’s legacy, celebrate her spirit and give back to the community. We want others to know they are not alone in their struggle and laying a child to rest is the toughest thing anyone could ever do in their lifetime. Through faith in God, Autumn’s family started a nonprofit organization called “”Autumn’s Angels Foundation.””
The Mission of the foundation: Provide comfort, support and a place of tranquility for those who mourn the loss of a child and children who have lost an immediate family member; encourage faith in God to inspire the souls of the brokenhearted; revitalize play areas and create areas of beautification in memory of children who have passed; foster health, fitness and education for surviving family members.
The Vision of the foundation: The vision is to provide a common place where people can relieve their pain with unrestricted access – a place that’s always available to anyone mourning the loss of a child or to any children who have lost an immediate family member. Our current plans are to build playgrounds in the Ebensburg Pennsylvania and surrounding areas with hopes of eventually providing a common place that families can call their place of healing. We pray that our mission will eventually spread and become a nationwide organization.”