In loving memory of our children Jackson and Everly ...
While the name “Just Enduring” sums up how every parent has to face life from the moment their child passes away, the co-founders of this organization also wanted a name that remembers the children they’ve lost. That’s why behind the name of Just Enduring are Jackson and Everly. The first letters in Just Enduring are the first letters from each of their child’s names.
Jackson > Just
Everly > Enduring
Ben and Lara Gillham welcomed their first child, Jackson Thomas, into this world early in the morning of May 21, 2018, unexpectedly at home. Jackson was an easygoing baby who loved being with his parents. He was incredibly smart and hitting all of his milestones early. Although he was only 6 months old, he had already decided he had a favorite color- orange. He would grab every orange toy in sight before touching the others and was infatuated with all of the orange fall decorations around his house. He was the happiest baby who gave his parents countless smiles and wonderful memories they’ll forever cherish.
On the day he turned 6 months, they took Jackson to his pediatrician for typical cold symptoms and labored breathing, which ultimately led to a stay at the Pediatric ICU at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Going into his sixth day in the PICU, he became terribly restless and was unable to sleep for an extended period of time. As Lara held him in the dark morning hours, Jackson suddenly turned blue. After rounds of CPR and being placed on cardiac and respiratory life support, they learned that Jackson had a pulmonary artery sling, which caused tracheal stenosis (i.e., one of his heart arteries wrapped around his windpipe, inhibiting its growth). The slightest fluid build up from a cold led to his airway blockage. Although doctors created a plan to repair this extremely rare defect, the damage he suffered from being without oxygen led to the deterioration of his brain. Twelve days after taking him into his pediatrician, Lara held their baby boy tight in her arms and Ben put his arms around both of them as Jackson was removed from life support.
Everly was the second girl Nick and Martha welcomed into their home. She was born on April 23, 2018 happy and healthy. The next few months were spent adjusting to life as a family of four. While there were the expected ups and downs associated with life with a preschooler and an infant this time was relatively uneventful. Everly was a sweet and easy going baby that easily fit into the McGeehon family.
On August 14, 2018, Everly went down for her afternoon nap at daycare. Later that afternoon she was found unresponsive. She was rushed to the ER by ambulance where Nick and Martha met her. The paramedics and the emergency room team were unable to resuscitate her and Nick and Martha left the hospital without their daughter. They would later learn that she died in her sleep.