Love Your Kids While You Can

One of the downsides of working in TV news is being forced to stalk families who’ve just suffered devastating losses. I absolutely, positively, unequivocally despised having to request interviews from parents, who had just buried their children, be it due to a rare disease, a fatal accident or some other type of tragedy.

Back then, I was young, single, and knew if I didn’t knock on the doors of the grieving families I risked losing my job. Today, I am an older, no longer taking blood money, and more importantly, a mother. I highly doubt I could stomach walking up the driveway of a stranger’s home, knocking on the front door and asking heartbroken parents if they would be so kind as to share their story with the rest of the world.

I thought about my past life as a TV reporter when I heard the devastating details surrounding 14-year-old Sabrina Keller’s death. I read about the San Diego teen a couple of months ago when she set a record for selling 3,463 boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

The bubbly, blond eighth grader died last month at an end-of-the-school-year dance. According to news reports, Keller was celebrating her graduation from middle school with 250 of her fellow classmates when she collapsed on the dance floor. Witnesses say the cookie-selling champ simply crumpled to the floor at the end of a song.

The school principal told news reporters that a parent chaperone (who happens to be a nurse) performed CPR on the Keller, but couldn’t revive the teen. Reports say the girl didn’t have any pre-existing medical conditions and an autopsy came back inconclusive. According to authorities, it could take another month before further test results come back and a final determination is made on Keller’s cause of death.

In the meantime, the teen’s parents continue to mourn their daughter’s death. How could they not? The circumstances surrounding the tragedy are incredible, especially since the popular eighth grader was just in the media spotlight in May for shattering the county’s Girl Scout cookie selling record. Then, not even a month later, she’s back in the headlines for passing away at her final middle school dance.

If that horrific story doesn’t want to make you hug your kid, then you might consider revaluating your priorities.

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.