Sarah holds her son Brecken while surrounded by family during Brecken's first annual charity golf tournament.

By Sarah Kariniemi, Brecken’s Mom

Trekkin 4 Brecken 2021
My Special Way To Honor My Angel Baby

On December 28, 2017 our world got completely rocked. Our little boy went from what we thought was healthy and happy to being fully intubated and having uncontrollable seizures in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. For days and days we had no answers. We had no idea what our future held for our son Brecken and for our family.

After finding out Brecken had what was called POLG mutation, or more commonly known as Alpers Syndrome, yet another whirl of emotions rocked our world. As a Registered Nurse I was pretty in tuned to all the medical lingo. I would participate in rounds and would for the most part understand what labs were being taken, what tubes were where and what they were for, and every single medication he was on and what they were for. As we talked about the long term plans for Brecken I knew I was going to quit my job as a nurse at the mother baby center and be my baby boy’s mommy nurse full time.

I was scared out my mind, but I wouldn’t have done anything different. After about 40 something days in the intensive care unit and countless hours talking to nurses and doctors and specialists, I couldn’t help but think about the stacking hospital bills coming our way. We knew we needed help, but how.

My husband Daryl is an avid golfer, so was my dad. One day there was talk about having a golf tournament to raise money for Brecken and all his needs. And that came into reality quite quickly. In June of 2018, we held our first Birdie for Brecken at a local golf course. We raised over $10,000.00!! Best of all, Brecken was there in person to thank every single person. All this went directly to support our family with the financial burden of all the hospital bills.

Unfortunately, we lost our baby boy one month later. It was then that we knew we would do a golf charity event every year from then on out in memory and honor of Brecken. In a couple years we have raised money for a various number of organizations that had some impact on Brecken and our family when he was here with us.

After I lost Brecken, I was continuously looking for some way to keep his memory alive, some way for others to Say His Name. I can’t even put into words some times how happy it makes me to see family and friends get together to honor my sweet boy, and to talk and remember him, all while raising money for a good cause.

Due to the coronavirus and a couple of unforeseen circumstances, we were unable to continue the tradition of a charity golf tournament at this time. So we decided to try a charity walk run called Trekkin 4 Brecken.

Our first Trekkin 4 Brecken will be held on Saturday September 11, 2021. In honor of Brecken we will donate the proceeds to Just Enduring! After talking to Lara, Ben, Martha, and Nick; I was so excited to help them out as their Social Media Coordinator. This role has been so therapeutic for me. It has allowed me to remember Brecken, talk to others who have lost a child, and to share my story.

I know as we continue to hold the charity event, whether it be the walk/run or golf tournament, I know that we will continue to honor Brecken. We will continue to say his name. And we will continue to support and raise money for charities like JUST ENDURING for parents and families who have lost children. I know Brecken would be proud!

For more information on Trekkin 4 Brecken and how to donate, visit www.birdieforbrecken.com.

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