Parents of Mason student who died suddenly still seeking answers, still giving back

‘I know he’s got that big amazing smile up there, for sure.’
Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 10:37 PM EST
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MASON, Ohio (WXIX) - Nearly a year after a Mason student died unexpectedly in his sleep, his parents have been on a mission to find answers about what happened and continue to honor him through a non-profit.

Jan. 9, 2022, will mark one year since JJ Day died suddenly in his sleep. No matter how much time has passed, to his parents and siblings, the pain of the loss stays with them.

“Grief, especially with child loss, is something that you just carry with you. It doesn’t go away. It just sits. Some days it’s heavier than other days,” Kristen Day, JJ’s mother said. “This week, it’s very heavy.”

JJ was full of light, life and laughter, which is what inspired his parents to start a non-profit in his name, “LOVElikeJJ.

“Just the sheer amount of support that we’ve had has truly been astounding, and the things we’ve been able to do is beyond our wildest expectations. It’s really amazing,” Kristen said.

Through lemonade stands, a book, donation drives and a 5K, they have done a lot over the past year. In December, they made a donation to help those impacted by the Kentucky tornadoes.

Kristen said they also gave a gift to Mason Middle School, a therapy dog named Coleby.

“I’ve had personal notes sent to me from families saying how the dog has helped their child when they’ve had maybe an anxiety issue or they had a problem they had to deal with, and they seek Coleby for support,” she said.

JJ’s relatives remain devoted to finding out more about what caused his death. They have been working with the SUDC Foundation to learn more about “sudden unexplained death in childhood.”

A recent article featured in U.S. News and World Report says studies are underway to get a closer look at genetics and their relationship to SUDC. JJ’s parents are hoping that could help.

“‘We just began the process of genetic testing back in November. It was a long process for us to get to that point. One, we had to wait for the autopsy to come back. We didn’t get that until June,” Kristen said. “It is very important that the awareness grows and more funding can go into helping to find an answer.”

Kristen said they could be waiting for months or even years to get those test results, but they believe it will be worth it.

Until then, they will continue their nonprofit’s mission, knowing every act of kindness is in honor of JJ.

“I know he’s got that big amazing smile up there, for sure,” Kristen said.

The family plans to have another LOVElikeJJ 5K this year. They are also in the process of planning other events.

For updates, follow the non-profit’s Facebook page or website.

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