An Open Letter to My Friends:
On September 10, 2009 a young life was taken too soon. It was a beautiful late summer day, the perfect day for having fun. The perfect day to drop your backpack at the door, grab a quick afterschool snack and run outside for some adventure. The perfect day for an ATV ride through the family apple orchard…..but as fate would have it, this perfect day would turn tragic. For on this day, Kaeden Brown a seven year old full of life, adventure and free spirit would have his life ended in the orchard that he loved to farm with his dad. Kaeden was killed when the ATV he was riding flipped over and pinned him underneath. It is now as if time has stood still, and a life full of so much promise has ended far too soon.
Kaeden, or “the wild man” as I lovingly referred to him was a boy through and through. He was always getting into mischief, no adventure was too risky, no wall too high to try to climb. Kaeden was never far from his dad Darren’s side. Whether they were riding in the tractor, packing apples, fishing….they were always together. Kaeden proudly told anyone who would ask that when he grew up he wanted to be a farmer…just like his dad! Kaeden was not afraid to get dirty. There was no chore on the farm that he refused to help with. He loved any outdoor adventure. All you have to do is look at pictures and you will see him with a fishing pole in his hand, swimming at the lake, boating, four wheeling, riding his bike….this was not a boy content to sit inside the house watching television.
Kaeden had a love of hockey. He would push himself to skate faster, work on his stick handling and if you got in his way look out…we called him the wild man for a reason!
Kaeden had a lot of friends. Of course many were his own age…his class mates, his team mates. Kaeden was special though, for he had a knack for making friends of all ages. Since he was always by his dads side…it was natural that his dads good friends would become close to Kaeden too. It was like he had this immense circle of people who loved him as their own son….Oh what we all would have done to be with him on that fateful day, when his ATV adventure went terribly wrong.
When I found out that there had been a terrible accident and that Kaeden had passed away. The grief that tore through my heart was greater than any words could ever describe. How does something like this happen? How can a boy so full of life be taken so soon?? This confusion turned to anger. Anger at the world, anger at the ATV, anger at the loss of so many things. There was one thing I always knew about Kaeden Brown. He was going to make a difference in this world. This boy so full of energy, who was never afraid to keep trying…who wouldn’t let anything get in his way. He was going to grow up and truly make a difference. But suddenly he was gone. All that was left was the memory of all that he accomplished in his short 7 years on earth. I was so saddened by the loss of what would never be. What we would never experience of Kaeden in the future.
My anger then turned to an insistent mission. A mission that I would not and could not let Kaeden’s life be in vain. What could I do…that would help keep Kaeden”s memory live?? What could I do, to make sure that the “spirit” of Kaeden Brown, does not die with him under that four wheeler. Kaeden had his whole life ahead of him and I knew that Kaeden would want to be remembered. Kaeden would love to be an inspiration for other kids like him. Kids that love the outdoors, love adventure and who take the road less travelled never letting anyone or anything stand in their way.
I am now in the development process of creating the Kaeden Brown Foundation. My vision is to fund a scholarship so that every year a graduating high school student from North Lambton Secondary School (the school Kaeden would have attended), will be awarded an opportunity, an opportunity that Kaeden didn’t receive. The candidate that will be selected for this scholarship will have similar philosophies of life as Kaeden. We will be looking for a student that may not have had the highest marks in the class, but was a hard worker, someone that had an edge, someone that is a friend a friend would want to have, someone with a love of the outdoors. Someone planning on going to post-secondary education in a field like Fish and Wildlife or something focused on Agriculture. A scholarship designed for someone with a zest for life, with a can-do attitude and a team player. Someone that may not have ever earned a “traditional” scholarship based on academics….someone whose family may not be able to help them fund their education. In this way, Kaeden Brown will live on in the future of every person who is given a helping hand with this scholarship. Kaeden will live on to be apart of their lives and their future. I will never forget Kaeden. I love him. He was like the son I never had. If I can play a small part in helping him live on and not be forgotten… I will feel as though I have helped in some way.
I am sending you this letter to ask you for your support. I need your support to get this foundation off the ground. I would appreciate any financial contributions you could make or any time you could donate to this very worthwhile cause. I only remember one thing the minister said at my mom’s funeral… ..”The Lord plucketh the nicest flowers” ……so if that is the case, the Lord just plucked a flower that will live forever. His memory will live on through this foundation and every child it will subsequently support.
I appreciate you taking the time to read this letter. Your friendship and support means the world to me.