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SYLVESTER'S BLOG: A GOOD CAUSE

Friday, 01.23.2009 / 11:59 AM / Blogs - Kevin Sylvester
By Kevin Sylvester  - Sabres "Hockey Hotline" Host
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SYLVESTER\'S BLOG: A GOOD CAUSE
Curtis Brown (Photo: Getty Images)
You may recall the tragedy that struck former Sabres forward Curtis Brown and his family while he was with the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2005-06 season. His infant daughter passed away from SIDS less than 6 months into her life.

Curtis and his wife Ami have decided to start a foundation call the Aubri Brown Club to help other families struck by the loss of a child.  Curtis is now in Switzerland playing hockey, but a former Sharks teammate, Jeremy Roenick, is helping the launch of the foundation with a fundraiser you can be part of. 

I communicated with both Curtis and Jeremy recently via email, which you can read below.  



Kevin Sylvester:  When did Ami and you decide that you wanted to share Aubri's life to help other families?

Curtis Brown:  Hours after the passing of Aubri while trying to process what had happened we had the hope of using our experience to help others. Our thought was that we should never be the same in a good way.

KS: Was it a difficult decision process knowing that you would have to tell her story and relive the tragedy in interviews such as this?

CB: The best form of therapy for us, to come to terms with what happened, was actually just telling our story. This may not be true for everyone but by talking we were able to allow others into our situation and help him or her empathize with us. All any of us has is our life story and we feel by sharing we hope to help families who go through the loss of a child themselves.

KS: What support did you need and or seek when she passed away
?

CB: When we lost Aubri we were definitely in a state of shock not knowing exactly what happened or what we needed to do. The first thing we did was cry out to God and asked Him for strength to get through our worst nightmare.

After this, our greatest need was for the support of family and friends who came just to be with us. In a low point we were able to see just how blessed we are with the people we have in our lives and it was amazing the sacrifices people made to support us.

KS: What is the mission of the foundation?

CB: The Aubri Brown Club was formed to help families who lose a child. This could be financially for medical bills, funeral bills or even counseling for the grieving family. Every situation will be different and we hope to help as many families as we can in whatever ways we can.

KS: What does it mean to have a former teammate (Jeremy Roenick ) stepping up and using his influence to support the foundation?

CB: I can’t say enough about the friends we have in the Roenicks. Once JR learned about our foundation he stepped up to own the vision and make things happen. In the hockey world everyone knows Jeremy and so his involvement adds instant credibility to what we are trying to do.

KS:Every parent reading this couldn't imagine what happened to your family.  How has it changed your family?

CB: The loss of our daughter has definitely helped us to appreciate each other more. This may be straightforward but nobody knows how long any of us has, all we can control is what we do with the time we are given.

KS: What can people do to support friends or family that lose a child?

CB: We don’t claim to be experts but what friends did for us was to be available. Most didn’t have anything to say and that was okay. What they brought was stability and hope in a crazy time.

KS: What can people do to support the foundation?

CB: If people want to help out and become a part of what we are doing they can visit our web site at  www.theaubribrownclub.org       
 
 
Jeremy Roenick (Photo: Getty Images)
In addition to visiting the website, fans can go to Jeremy Roenick’s site to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a trip to San Jose to watch the Sharks play, and it’s all on Roenick and it benefits the Aubri Brown Foundation.  All the details are at www.roenicklife.com, and go to the charity raffle portion.  In case you were wondering as to why Roenick would step up, read below.

Kevin Sylvester:   What made you decide to use your fame to help Curtis and his family with the Aubri Brown Club?

 Jeremy Roenick:  I love the type of people that Curtis and Ami Brown are, they represent everything that is good.

I was so touched by their story when Curtis told me about it.  I was so impressed by how they handle themselves as a family after such an incredible loss. 

They are such an inspiration for the people that have experienced the same loss.  I also am not familiar with charities that help parents and families in this situation, so when Curtis discussed this with me, I immediately knew that this is so important.  There are so many charities for so many causes, but losing a child has to be, in my opinion be the worst thing that could ever happen to you.
 
KS: The two of you were not teammates when the tragedy occurred, but did you know him well then and/or did you reach out to him when Aubri passed away?

JR: I did not know Curtis at the time of Aubri's passing, but if I did, my family would have definitely been there to offer them support.  Now that I know the Browns so well, it makes me feel sad that I didn't know them at the time. 

I understand what loss feels like after the loss of both my wife's parents recently, which was extremely painful for me.  Knowing the pain I felt during that experience, makes me assume that the pain must be magnified to feelings beyond any comprehension if it is your child.  I will support The Brown Family and The Aubri Brown Club as long as I am here on this Earth!

KS: If no to the previous question, is this something that Curtis talked about often during your time together in San Jose? 

JR: Curtis talked often about the charity, and how exciting and important this foundation was going to be for him and Ami.  He talked about Aubri, but the main focus of the conversations was the foundation and keeping her spirit alive through this.
 
KS: What is your hope for the Aubri Brown Club in its development?

JR: My goal is to help The Aubri Brown Club raise enough money to help families focus on their grieving process, and not be stressed with financial situations.  I hope that this foundation will grown and gain National attention, because like I said before, this is the most tragic thing that can happen to a parent and family.  A parent should never outlive their child, and if they do, The Aubri Brown Club will be available to give them comfort.
 
 KS: Explain what it is you are raffling off at Roenicklife.com to benefit the Aubri Brown Club.  

JR: The current raffle that Roenicklife.com is offering is awesome!  The winner will receive two roundtrip airline tickets and two nights stay at the San Jose Hilton Hotel, and my two personal tickets to come see the San Jose Sharks play the Dallas Stars on March 21st. 

After the game the winner will have a meet and greet with Mike Modano and myself.  It is a once and a lifetime opportunity to meet two of arguably the best American born players to ever play the game!


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