Friday, April 30, 2010

Do You Need to Register Again?

Remember me posting about the changes to the Missouri donor registry law? It passed in 2008 and changed the donation decision from still needing family approval to honoring the wishes of those registered, no family consent needed. This change means some of us need to register again. If you registered before August 28, 2008, you need to register again to join the new first-person consent registry. To register, please visit . Another change is that there will now be a heart with a green banner symbol placed on your license when you renew. You will be asked, "Do you authorize a symbol to be placed on your license indicating your consent to be listed as an organ, eye, and tissue donor in the donor registry?" Please answer "yes".

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Northeast Nodaway Donation

The Northeast Nodaway Elementary Student Council chose the Foundation as one of their charities to gather donations for. Here is what the students brought ~
Thanks students for the donations!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

One Week Left

April is almost over and I have more to share with you about organ donation. First, I finally sent our first non-anonymous letter to one of our recipient families. I also included pictures of Abby for the first time. I was still unsure what to say, but we think of the families all the time and hope they know that even though we are not on a personal basis yet, that they hold a special place in our hearts (and always will).

I also want to send out a bit of information for any of you that might be in KC about an upcoming concert fundraiser. MerleJam will be Friday, May 7th at 7 pm and 8th at 5 pm at Knuckleheads Saloon in Kansas City. All proceeds from the concert will be donated to St. Luke's to provide assistance to pre and post-op heart transplant patients. We had the pleasure of meeting Merle and hearing him speak about his heart transplant and he is a wonderful guy. Drop by if you get a chance. You can read his story here

Thursday, April 22, 2010

National Crime Victims' Right Week

April 18-24 is National Crime Victims' Rights Week. This week is designed to help communities and assistance groups promote awareness for crime victim issues. This year, the theme of the week is "crime victims' rights: FAIRNESS. DIGNITY. RESPECT."

A tree planting ceremony was held at Mozingo Lake as a way to honor victims. The ceremony was opened with a welcome by Tom Seipel, Probation and Parole District Administrator, followed by a musical performance by Maryville High School Spectrum Choir.

An invocation was said by Father Kenneth Reichert, OSB of Conception Abbey. Then Rick Bradley, Chief Juvenile Officer of the 4th Judicial Circuit Court led everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. Mayor Pro-Tem Shawn Wake then read a Proclamation from the Mayor's office declaring this Crime Victims' Rights Week. This was followed by a speech from Associate Circuit Judge of Worth County Joel Miller.

A tree was then symbolically planted by Nodaway County Prosecuting Attorney David Baird, MTC Warden Joe Ledbetter, Tom Seipel, and Judge Joel Miller.

I was then asked to briefly say a few words. Here is what I said ~

In 2007, there were 12,998 alcohol-related crash fatalities. This amounted to 32 percent of all crash fatalities that year. Our daughter, Abrielle Lauryn Neff, is one of those numbers. On March 29, 2007, a driver with alcohol still plaguing his system caused a collision that took her life. We did not choose to be the victims of a crime, as no one does, but after being thrust into the situation, we had only the hope of justice to hold on to.
Justice for us has had to be measured by several factors other than only the amount of time the offender was ordered to serve, as no matter the amount, it will never be enough for us to consider acceptable for taking the life of our little girl. We have instead reflected upon our treatment during the process as a way to validate our justice. We were treated with the utmost respect from every official involved. From the Highway Patrol to the Sheriff’s office to the Prosecuting Attorney, every official kept us informed and involved which is exactly what we wanted and were given an outcome that was considered fair according to the law. We have also been thankful for all the rights that have been established for crime victims. Without them, we would not have been able to present an impact statement at sentencing or a letter at the parole hearing.
Edith Wharton said, “There are only two ways of spreading light – to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” We have chosen to be the candle and have established the Abrielle Neff Foundation in memory of our daughter.

I went on to talk about the Foundation.

My words were followed by a Benediction by Father Reichert and a closing song by Spectrum.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Garden Planting

Tuesday afternoon the preschool class planted new annuals in Abby's Garden at the school. Mady and a friend Becky, along with myself and my Mom helped plant too.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Half Way There

We received word that the bill passed the House and is now in the Senate. Please contact your Senators to express they support this Bill in its current form. We do not want changes made to the Bill.

Monday, April 19, 2010

An ER Visit

We had to make a trip to the emergency room Saturday afternoon with Elly. She was playing outside when she fell off the slide, cutting her head. They were able to glue the cut on her eyebrow back together, avoiding stitches. Elly received an Abby's Hugs package to help her during her visit. She held the strawberry's hand as they worked to clean up the area and seal it shut. We were glad to have the program in place to help our Elly.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lucky Me

Sharing another layout I created for my album.

The tag reads, "Simple Pleasures are Priceless Treasures." My journaling is a list of things I feel lucky for with Abby. It say, "lucky to be ....
  • blessed with a second daughter
  • able to say "I'm Abrielle's Mom"
  • given a Mommy's girl
  • blessed with almost 4 years with Abby
  • the family chosen for an angel

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Treatment Center Presentation

I spoke at the Treatment Center again yesterday to the current class, all their first time to hear me speak. This class was very quiet. I could see I touched some, but when it came time for questions and comments, I only had two. Usually I spend just as long taking questions as I do giving my presentation. So it seemed a little strange. Plus, every time, I am asked about forgiveness and this time it was not mentioned. I hope they were affected by the presentation as much as the other classes have been.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

DWI Law Changes Proposed

Late last year, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch investigation uncovered inconsistencies of drunken-driving enforcement in the St. Louis area and led Governor Nixon to form a task force. Through this task force, a bill has been proposed. This bill would require repeat offenders or those accused of injuring someone while driving drunk to be tried in a state circuit court instead of a local municipal court. Supporters of this bill have stated that municipal courts have failed to adequately punish drunken drivers and have allowed chronic offenders to keep driving. The proposed legislation would also increase penalties for suspects who refuse a blood test, and limit removal of drunken-driving offenses from criminal records after 10 years to offenders who were not convicted more than once. Another provision of the bill would stiffen penalties for drunk drivers with children in the vehicle. The bill has been proposed by Republicans in both chambers and has bipartisan support.

The House bill stalled in the Rules Committee for some wording issues and the Senate bill is awaiting a final vote.

We have contacted both our State Representative and our State Senator to urge them to support this bill. Representative Mike Thomson has expressed to us that he had spoken with the sponsor of the bill and will be supporting the proposed legislation.

We ask that you too request your local Representative and Senator support this bill, so that other families will not have some of these injustices to face.

**eta** I am looking for the acutal bill number and will post it soon. Here is a link to Gov Nixon's site telling a bit more about it.

**eta** The bill is HB 1695 sponsored by Bryan P Stevenson.

Friday, April 9, 2010

It's Finally Signed

It took us one year and 3 months, but we have finally signed the organ donor release form. I don't know if I can explain why it has taken so long for us to sign this piece of paper. After all, it's something we have wanted from day one ~ to eventually meet those Abby has saved. When the letter and forum first came, it was just after the Holiday season in January 2009. I remember reading through the letter thinking, wow, there are things I hadn't given much thought to in releasing our information. I think that halted us signing it at the point and then it just got pushed off to the side. It seems anything to do with Abby takes us longer than usual to take care of. It is hard for us to "finalize" everything. So, I think that is why we still have some things that we have not done. But now this one can be checked off the list and we will soon be able to share more information with these families, use different means of communication, and hopefully someday have a face to face meeting.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Today I want to direct you to the new website of Midwest Transplant Network. There is so much information there about donation. Plus, if you look at the 2010 calendar, you can read personal stories from both recipients and donor families. The quilt is up and working properly now too. You can find Abrielle's square on quilt 8.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

She Went With Us

I had not totally planned how to have Abby with us on our first family vacation since she's been gone, but believe me, she was there. I knew I could not bear to not have Blankie to sleep with for that many days, so he was packed for the trip. Mady had to bring her Abby Bear for the same reason. Every day when we returned to our hotel, we found this ~

with Disney cartoons on.

We also found pennies and several times found ourselves knowing she was there.

Monday, April 5, 2010

$5,000 GoodSearch Giveaway ~ 3 Days Only

GoodSearch will donate a $1 for every toolbar that is downloaded between April 6th at 9am EST and April 9th at 9am EST up to $5,000!! Please download the toolbar right now by following this link

The new toolbar is free to download and allows you to raise money for our cause every time you search or shop online! Once added to IE or Firefox, each time you shop at more than 1,300 stores (from Amazon to Zazzle!) a percentage of your purchase will automatically be donated to the Foundation - at no cost to you (and you may even save money as the toolbar provides coupons and deals as well!). The toolbar also has a search box and each time you search the Internet, about a penny is donated to the Foundation.

Please hurry and do this now so that we can earn the $1 bonus per toolbar!

And, please pass this along to all of your friends. The two minutes it takes to add this toolbar to your browser can make a difference for our cause!

Get the toolbar NOW!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Bad News

I received a phone call this morning that started the tears flowing. We were unaware that a suit was filed by Sunderman against the state asking that he be given credit for time served, which had been denied in our trial since it was for his probation violation. Well, he won the suit. I pasted below the judge's decision regarding the case.


This information is provided as a service and is not considered an official court record.
Date Filed: 01/05/2009
Location: DeKalb Case Type: CC Declaratory Judgment
Disposition: Other Final Disposition Date of Disposition: 01/20/2010
Judge/Commissioner At Disposition: MCELWAIN, WARREN L

01/20/2010 Docket Entry: Other Final Disposition
Text: Being fully advised in the premises, the Court finds that based upon Goings v Missouri Department of Corrections 6S.W. 3RD 906 that the 156 days spent by Petitioner in the Nodaway County jail was "related" to the Involuntary Manslaughter charge that Petitioner was sentenced to 6 years in the Missouri Department of Corrections on June 25, 2008. The court notes that the revocation of the prior Misdemeanor sentences of 180 days on July 17, 2007 could have been based solely on Petitioner's operating a motor vehicle without a valid license or the consumption of alcohol. However in construing the statute (RSMo 558.031) we are guided by the principle that criminal statutes must be construed strictly against the State and liberally in favor of the defendant. Goings, supera citing State v Jones 899 SW 2d 126. The court heard testimony of current Nodaway County Sheriff Davis White that it was his understanding that Petitioner was held on both Involuntary Manslaughter and the prior Misdemeanors. Additionally the Court notes that in Petitioner's Exhibit #3, the Nodaway County Sheriff's office listed the offense from 7-30-07 to 01-02-2008 as time served for "involuntary manslaughter." Therefore the court finds and believes that Petitioner's 156 days were related to the Involuntary Manslaughter charge and pursuant to Section 558.031 he is entitled to credit thereon. Court costs are taxed against Petitioner. It is so Ordered. Petitioners Attorney to draw proposed Order. (WLM)

Docket Entry: Judgment Entered

Basically it means he will be released 156 days early. His new release date is now January 7, 2012. A full four years out of the 6 year sentence will not be spent behind bars.

I am at a loss today. I feel like the justice system just said that her life is not worth the full sentence. It feels like a gut-shot and I don't know that there is any way to fight it.

How much more injustice do we have to experience? When will the laws work for the victims instead of in the offender's favor?

I am just in tears.

National Donate Life Month

April is National Donate Life Month. Throughout the month I will be helping to spread the word her on the blog.

First, a little history. National Donate Life Month was established in 2003 to celebrate the generosity of those who have saved lives through donation. This month is also to help encourage others to follow in their footsteps and donate too. Whether it is organ, tissue, or cornea donated, every donation saves or improves lives.

So please join me this month in spreading the word.