Aidan's Animals may soon need a barn.
The charity that began after the Dec. 3, 2011, traffic death of 2-year-old Aidan Curry is growing and expanding its original mission.
Aidan's parents, Jeff Curry and Jennifer Brock of Bellevue, started the nonprofit to collect stuffed animals for first responders to give children traumatized by traffic accidents. Donations of Aidan's Animals soon included children traumatized from any cause.
Now the charity is expanding again with a toy drive, an education event and a fundraising kick-off for a new project.
“We're getting to do a (toy) fundraiser for the pediatrics department at the Nebraska Medical Center,” Brock said.
The “Kuddles for Kids” Toy Drive will run Feb. 22-28 for the pediatric intensive care and neonatal intensive care units, she said.
To donate to Kuddles for Kids, go to supportaidansanimals.org.
May 18 will bring an education-only event at the Lincoln Children's Zoo about proper car restraints for children. From ages 1 to 12, the highest cause of death is auto accidents, she said, figures the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration publishes.
“We want to help families avoid these kind of tragedies,” Brock said.
Everyone in the family's vehicle was properly restrained when it was struck from behind by a semitrailer truck on eastbound Interstate 80 near the Waverly, Neb., exit, Brock said.
“Aidan would have died regardless,” she said, because the trauma inside the car was too great despite the restraints.
However, the proper restraints “100 percent saved our daughter,” then 17-month-old Ansley, the mother said. Curry was injured, hospitalized and has recovered. Brock and Ansley were treated and released.
Stuffed animals that were given to Ansley on the day of the accident by a Nebraska State Patrol officer and a trauma center nurse at Bryan Medical Center's west campus inspired them to create Aidan's Animals, Brock said.
These animals remain important to Ansley and provide “a jumping off point for positive discussion of the accident and her brother,” Brock said.
“Aidan was a giver, and he adored, adored animals,” she said.
Aidan's Animals will be at the 7:05 p.m. May 24 home game of the Lincoln Saltdogs vs. the Winnipeg Goldeyes to provide education and raise funds for a car seat scholarship or giveaway, Brock said.
They want to help lower income families get better car seats and to make a difference in the lives of other kids, she said.
“Being able to give back to the community has been wonderful,” Brock said.
Aidan's Animals' first donation went to the state troopers who helped their family that day, she said.
So far, the charity has donated close to 1,000 animals to agencies that deal with children in Omaha, Papillion, Lincoln, Bellevue, Beatrice and Tecumseh.
Aidan's Animals also raised more than $800, collected stuffed animals and sent them for the families of the 26 children and teachers killed in December at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Brock said.
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