There’s an English proverb you may be familiar with, necessity is the mother of invention. Meaning, when what you need doesn’t exist you have to create it yourself. This perfectly fits Allison D’Auteuil and Team Mercy!
Allison and I met at the Duck Derby, the annual community event at the Flower Mound River Walk put on by the Cross Timbers Rotary. The purpose of the derby is to create awareness and raise funds for local nonprofits. In addition to the actual duck race, food trucks, and music, there is a vendor area where I had a booth. Curious about the other vendor participants, I decided to take a walk around to see who else was there. This is when I met Allison and learned about Team Mercy.
Behind the booth’s display table were two kind looking women and a younger girl. On the display table was a box filled with materials about grief. Specifically, how to help siblings deal with grief and how to parent through grief. Given that I am passionate about helping families and I have seen all kinds of challenges over the years both personally and professionally myself, of course I was curious about what the story was behind the box and the women working the booth.
It turns out Allison had gone through a major life challenge in 2011. During her third pregnancy, her daughter was diagnosed with Trisomy 13, a rare and fatal genetic disorder. Given the gravity of the news they would be bringing a child into the world with special medical needs, and with two preschool aged children at home already, Allison and her husband Rodney decided it would be the financially responsible thing to save the expense and to pull their kids out of preschool. Fortunately, the children’s school would not hear of it knowing in the grieving process ahead the kids would need the consistent, loving space and routine of their teachers and friends.
Mercy Elizabeth Whitfield was born September 8, 2011 and she lived a beautiful 13 days before passing.
Allison and Rodney were deeply grateful to the school for the structure and emotional support provided as they lost Mercy and began the chapter after her death. It was in receiving this gift the idea around Mercy’s Team was born. What these parents discovered was through activities (in this case, preschool) their kids were given the sustenance they needed in the transition to living life without their sister.
As a result of this kindness and Allison’s searching for, yet not finding, necessary grief support for siblings, she created a program to help kids who have lost a brother or sister. Through donated funds, Allison helps siblings stay involved in a favorite activity or get the counseling they need to grow through the family’s loss. She also distributes care boxes of helpful activities, educational pamphlets, and resource materials to families in need.
Allison told me she is a runner and this activity helped her very much in the days following her daughter’s death. To add to her offerings, she now uses her running and her friends who run to participate in a wonderful event called Mercy’s Run. You can find out more about the event and Allison’s mission with Team Mercy at www.teammercy.org.
It’s hard to go through something as challenging as the loss of a child. To turn that life experience into an ongoing mission to serve others is a wonderful gift! What Allison needed at the time, stability for her children, was given to her and in return she invented a program that gives the same thing to other families!
Necessity is the mother of invention can be clearly seen in this mom’s example. After learning about Allison’s experience, is there a product or service you feel needs to be created because there isn’t an existing outlet? If you have an idea to create the change you wish to see in the world, what keeps you from moving ahead?
I am so grateful to have met Allison and hear her story of triumph over challenge!