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Brittany’s Story

This site is in memory of our beloved Brittany Ann Burns -Feb 14, 1997 - Feb 5, 2007

Brittany was a wonderful and beautiful 8 year old child when she was severely injured in a car crash along with her brother Cameron, and their mother Elisabeth Lane, on August 26, 2005.

She passed away just days before her 10th birthday in 2007, but we'll NEVER forget her... or her amazing capacity to love and be loved. She changed our lives for the better, beginning with her birth, and ongoing still, since her death...

Read more about her life in the Journal, and please consider adding to the Guestbook, perhaps about how she touched your life, how you came into her life, or anything else. After all, her story is OUR story too! And thank you, one and all; especially all the wonderful people who helped her, and her family, to cope with her life after the accident, and most of all, after her death.

Mom Elisabeth and Brittany both required extensive surgery to deal with their injuries, and Brittany was completely paralyzed from the neck down - ASIA A, (virtual) C2 Complete, and dependent on a ventilator to breathe for her.

Brittany spent months in Intensive Care at University Hospital in Syracuse, NY, building up her strength and preparing for the next phase of her recovery. Let me add that the professionals and volunteers who assisted in saving her life, both at the accident scene and at the hospitals, were the most amazing, dedicated, and wonderful persons, IMHO.

The things they did for her and with her amounted to miracles, especially the actions of the Doctor and Nurse who first assisted at the scene, the help of the First Responders who got them all out and transported them, the medics who kept her alive, and the superb efforts of the UH ER and ICU staff who stabilized and sustained her until she was ready for her next step - we'll always be most grateful and humbled by all that you did, each and every one of you! I wish I could list all of you by name, because we owe you nearly two years of her life that we wouldn't have had without your amazing efforts and selfless giving. God bless every one of you...

Finally, after Thanksgiving she was taken to Blythedale Children's Hospital near NYC, where she learned how to deal with her paralysis, attended school, and prepared to come home. The staff and volunteers there were unbelievably helpful and caring, and did such a great job with her that she was fully prepared to go home when she finally did, and again, I wish so much that I could name and thank every one of you, as well as Britt's ward-mates and their families, Rob Thomas, and probably most especially Britt's cousin Suzanne, who was (and is) a rock that kept us all on track when we needed it. Thank you, thank you, thank you, everyone - you gave us her life back, and we'll never, ever forget you!

During that time, we obtained and remodeled a house for her and her family - thanks to the unbelievable generosity of many people from Baldwinsville, CNY, and all over the country - most especially during a fundraiser in B'ville that showed just how amazing and generous you all are - a very humbling and uplifting experience. I, for one, will always be grateful for all of you, and again, I wish I could thank each and every one of you by name!

What isn't often mentioned is that during that year, her father John Burns, passed away suddenly, as well as her Aunt Di and Uncle Butch - all within a couple of months. Through it all, she kept her courage up, determined to continue her therapy and make it home to be with her family. It was a very difficult time for all of us, and yet it was her determination and outlook that kept us going.

Finally, she came home in October 2006, and settled in to a new routine - including attending school, visiting the mall, even meals in restaurants. She went Trick or Treating on Halloween, then celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year 2007 at home with her family, among other things.

This site is dedicated to her, her fight for survival, her amazing spirit and will to live, and how she finally passed away Feb 5, 2007, just days before her 10th birthday (which would have been on Valentine's Day, 2007).

Be sure to read her story in the Journal, view the Photo Gallery, and drop us a line in the Guestbook. And please, help us support her surviving family with your prayers and well wishes.

Again, thank you to everyone who contributed in any way, big or small, or was touched by her life - family, friends, and strangers alike. YOU made it possible for her, and YOU made it possible for us, during that most difficult, and yet blessed and wonderful, time that we had left with her. God bless you all...
Grampa John

Latest Journal Update

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A little while back I visited Brittany's grave site. Liz had planned a picnic in the nearby park so we got together before I went to the cemetery and sat by her grave for a while, just remembering, thinking, talking to her. It's still hard, even 8 years later! But a wise friend told me that I needed to go, that it was good for both of us to be there - and he is so right. Thanks, Darryl!

The other reason I'm adding this is my Mom is in the hospital today, dying. We are all sad, but yet not sad - she has suffered so much the last few years and is so tired of fighting illness and cancer and all the other things that have wracked her body so it no longer responds to her... it will be a blessing for that pain to end. We will help her pass away in peace...

But I don't want to dwell on that, rather let me share something that made her smile and then laugh when I was with her yesterday... years ago I had sent her a photo of Brittany and Cameron dancing with balloons when they were young - dancing with abandon, dancing like there was no tomorrow, no worry, eyes closed and faces lit up with big smiles. Mom loved that photo, and always told me it made losing Brittany a little easier to think that now she wasn't paralyzed and unable to dance in a wheelchair, but in Heaven dancing away with her Daddy.

I have held onto that image, because the Britt I love always loved life and danced like no one was looking, and it just felt better to think that she could dance once again after she passed away, instead of being stuck in a body that no longer responded to her. Her spirit was always free and loving, her heart was always in the right place, she shared her joy and joie de vivre with everyone, and now I like to think that when Mom passes Britt will be right there, to teach her great-grandmother how to dance in heaven.

We all miss you every day, Sweetheart! Take good care of Grandma Lane when she gets there...
Grampa John
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Comments

5 Comments

Sophia Dickinson
By Sophia
John so sorry about your mom Britt and god will be with her. Miss Britt a lot thing about her always.
Miss her Dad too! He love those kids so much !!!
Maryann dingman
By Maryann Dingman
John, I am so sorry to hear of your mom's illness. Although I only met her a couple of times, she struck me as a loving, caring person.....and the apple did not fall far from the tree with you. I am so sure that Britt will be happy to see her and that your mom will be free of pain and struggle. I think of you all often, especially Britt. She made me a better person.
peggy merriam
By peggy merriam
John, Other folks will not understand this, but she and I remain linked. Just yesterday I had my "Brittany's Special Friend" T-shirt out. It no longer fits, but it still retains its own special place here, and it always will. We always had that cosmic link, even to the end at the hospital. A very special girl. She is the absolute picture of courage, in my mind. Give Liz and Cameron hugs for us, and you keep the faith, and prayers to your mom. Regards, Darryl
Lou Carol Franklin
By Lou Carol Franklin, Neighbor who continue to pray..
Lou Carol Franklin
By Lou Carol Franklin, Neighbor who continue to pray..
A loving heart is displayed through your compassionate post. Would that others could benefit from your expression of care for your love ones. What a better world this would be.