We got together with Joel, a child specialist at Mott's Children's Hospital and created a turtle doll for the families of terminally ill children. Once a child dies, the family can take the turtle's shell and stuff it full of things to be buried with the child, and they keep the turtle body. That way the family always has a piece of their child.
“Our son, Mason Farmer, passed away from cancer January 16, 2014 at the age of 2 1/2. His older brother, Zach, (5) was by his side until his last breath. Just before he took his final breath Zach was given a turtle from the Child Life Department. The turtle had a removable shell that had a zipper pocket. Joel, the Child Life Specialist, told Zach that he could put things in the zipper pocket that he wanted to send with Mason. The turtle body was his to keep. Doing this would allow Zach and Mason to have a piece of the same turtle...a piece of each other. Zach chose small items and pictures to put in the shell pocket. He placed it with Mason in his casket and sent it with him to Heaven. Zach still has his turtle...he sleeps with it each night. When he misses Mason he holds it knowing that Mason has the other half.
This idea that Joel came up with has helped Zach cope with the loss of his brother. Knowing that families are being offered this same opportunity is heartwarming. We are honored knowing that our son, Mason, is being remembered through this wonderful idea.”