Couple strives to sublimate anguish with outreach

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Diaper drive will pay tribute to the infant son they lost

By Kathleen Brady SheaManaging Editor, The Times

Shane Brant and his wife, Suzanne Campos, pose with their daughter, Alex, now 9 months old, and a photo of their son, Max Athan Brant, whose legacy is helping other children.

Shane Brant and his wife, Suzanne Campos, pose with their daughter, Alex, now 9 months old, and a photo of their son, Max Athan Brant, whose legacy is helping other children.

The euphoria was painfully short-lived. An hour after giving birth to a healthy-looking son, a Sadsbury Township couple experienced the unfathomable when the infant died suddenly, plunging them into shock and anguish.

“He was pink and crying,” said Suzanne Campos of her first glimpse of the newborn. “We couldn’t believe what we were told.”

An autopsy would determine that the cause of death was pulmonary hypertension, Campos said. After years of infertility, she and her husband, Shane Brant, had rejoiced throughout a “perfect pregnancy” only to have it end tragically, she said.

Now, nearly two years later, the couple is preparing to celebrate the second birthday of Max Athan Brant on Aug. 16 in a way that pays tribute to his memory, an effort to ensure that his abbreviated life creates “a source of positivity and help for others.”

The parents of Max Athan Brant want to make sure that his short life produces lasting impact.

The parents of Max Athan Brant want to make sure that his short life produces lasting impact.

For the second time, the couple is holding a diaper drive for the Maternal and Child Health Consortium of Chester County (MCHC), a nonprofit that works to provide the resources that struggling families need for healthy children. Any size or brand of diaper is welcome, Campos said. The consortium will also accept donations of new or gently used clothing or toys.

Campos said the adage that time heals wounds did not prove to be accurate in her case. “Sometimes, time only makes things worse,” she said, attempting to explain the void of unfulfilled promise. But, early on, she said she knew there had to be a way to channel her grief in a positive direction.

As Max’s first birthday approached, Campos said she recognized the need to refocus and to find an outlet for emotion that threatened to overwhelm her. “I could either lock myself in my room and cry, or I could try and do something to help others,” she said.

Campos, a corporal in the Chester County Sheriff’s Office, said she wondered if an underserved child existed who shared Max’s birthday. She got an assist through a former colleague now working at MCHC, who not only located such a boy but also secured permission for Campos to buy him a birthday gift, initiating an ongoing relationship.

That opportunity heightened Campos’ awareness of the consortium’s mission and led to last year’s diaper drive. This year, Campos and Brant have added another beneficiary: Safe Kids of Chester County, an international organization that operates locally under the auspices of the Sheriff’s Office.

“I work very closely with them on a regular basis installing car seats; they do wonderful things for children and their main objective is to keep kids safe,” Campos said. “Any donation made will go to the purchase of car seats for children in need.” She said checks should be made out to Chester County Safe Kids Coalition with “in memory of Max” in the subject line.

Campos said she and her husband were blessed nine months ago with the birth of a daughter, Alex, a joyous event that strengthened their resolve to continue honoring the son they lost. Campos said she is grateful that “something good” has come from “the worst thing that has ever happened to me.”

Delivery of donations, which are due by Aug. 14, can be arranged by contacting Campos at Suzanne.campos@gmail.com. She said she would even pick items up. Campos said that donors would be invited to a barbecue she and her husband are hosting next month to celebrate the outreach as well as Max’s life – one that was cut short but is making a lasting impact.

 

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