‘They matter’: Following anniversary of son’s death, Spokane family donates to those in need

“You matter. You are loved, special and important.”

That’s what hundreds of people were told in Spokane this weekend, as one family set out to honor their son on the anniversary of his death.

Ten years ago, eight-year-old Parker Brown lost his battle with cancer. Every year and every day since, his mother Sarah Jane, brother Dakota, and the rest of his family have looked for ways to spread Parker’s love to others.

“This whole time, he was wanting to leave something behind for his brothers at eight years,” she said. “He always was one of giving and serving and loving.”

So that’s exactly what Sarah Jane and Dakota did Sunday, because they know Parker would’ve done the same if he were still here.

“Our family had to receive for so many years because our son was sick, and so we were always on the receiving end of services and everything,” Sarah Jane said. “That was really hard and now [Dakota] gets to be on the other side of serving and giving and as a mom, that’s what you hope for.”

This weekend, they encouraged others to donate hats and gloves so they could give to those in need. Every gift came with an important reminder.

“In memory of Parker, we put the little photo of Parker on there and let them know that they’re loved, special and important. Let them know that they have worth, that they matter,” Sarah Jane said. “It has been one of the most beautiful experiences that I’ve ever had, since my son passed.”

The Browns live for Parker in every way they can. Sarah Jane serves as executive director of American Childhood Cancer Organization Inland Northwest. Parker’s family also honors him every summer by hosting a camp for families who have also experienced the pain that comes with losing a child. To learn more about Parker’s Place, click here.