RAISING AWARENESS: Family Honors Toddler

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43 days ago, Sarah Kuyrkendall’s life changed forever.

“I just picked her up and I ran. I screamed for someone to help her,” said Kuyrkendall.

Her daughter Aleena was seriously injured after pulling a television on to herself. Luckily, a passing motorist stopped and put CPR skills he’d learned 35 years earlier to use.

“It was a very emotional time, but I didn’t have time for emotions,” said John Lamb who came to Aleena’s aid.

It’s that quick thinking that family members credit for helping Aleena make it to her third birthday.

While Aleena remains in a coma unable to celebrate, that didn’t stop friends and family from gathering in her honor.

However, this wasn’t your ordinary birthday party.

“There’s nothing I can do to change what happened to her, but we can change what happens to other children. That’s what brought everyone here today,” Kuyrkendall told Channel 13 News.  

A group of about 50 family members and friends handed out flyers and went door to door through Des Moines neighborhoods, teaching the community about tip-over injuries.

It’s an issue that affected the families of 22,000 children between 2008 and 2010 who were treated when loose furniture like TVs and couches fell on top of them.

“Hopefully people will know how to make their homes safer for their child so this doesn’t happen to them or a family member.” 

Aleena and her family have been through a lot since the accident, but what has resulted is an opportunity to protect others from broken hearts.