In 2003, 6-year-old Annie Cumpston was killed by a drunken driver. The incident transformed the life of Sharon Perfetti, a friend of the victim’s family. It led her to take a leading role in the creation of Annie’s Playground in Fallston and ultimately led to her career as executive director of the Cool Kids Campaign, which serves more than 800 pediatric cancer patients and their families.
“I’ve known so many families who wanted to talk about their deceased children,” Perfetti says of her experience.
She wanted to help those families but didn’t know how. Now technology makes it possible. The Stories Between, her latest endeavor, is a website that offers individuals the opportunity to create a virtual scrapbook of memories of their loved one.
For Perfetti, the project is an extension of her work with Cool Kids.
“Today about 80 percent of children diagnosed with cancer survive,” she says. “But that still leaves 20 percent who don’t. Those families can’t just bury their child and forget about what happened.”
In its first year, more than 100 memorial pages have been set up at thestoriesbetween.com. For a one-time fee of $79, the page owner can invite family and friends to contribute photos and stories about their loved one. The virtual scrapbook pages can also be started prior to someone’s death, which gives the person a chance to participate directly.
“There’s so much waiting and watching when someone is in hospice,” Perfetti says. “This is a positive, proactive project that can bring everyone together at a painful time.” --Linda Burkins, For Harford Magazine