First Touch Family: Standing by families after losing a child

Published: Sep. 26, 2022 at 11:43 AM CDT|Updated: Sep. 26, 2022 at 6:26 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - Losing a child is an unimaginable reality some families face, and First Touch Family, a Brazos Valley nonprofit, is there to step in during those times of need.

Chrissy Cogdell lost her son Christopher in 2016 due to a car wreck. With the loss of her first born child, Chrissy and her family had a tough time navigating through the trauma, as expected.

”I’ve had a lot of loss in my life,” said Cogdell. “But no loss compares to losing a child. Every parent knows that they shouldn’t be burying their child.”

Cogdell told KBTX the memory of the police telling her that Christopher was gone runs through her head daily.

“I can still smell the ground,” said Cogdell. “When the officers told me Christopher had died in the crash, I just clasped on the ground.”

Before Christopher passed, Chrissy said he had many life milestones. He was about to be done with college at Sam Houston University, and he recently had a baby. Christopher put his family as a main priority in his life.

“It was after I dealt with my child loss and seeing other parents go through the same thing. I just knew I had to do something because being supportive in the darkest period of a person’s life is just so important,” Cogdell said.

The goal of First Touch Family is to provide tangible, financial and emotional support to families. Chrissy said there is nothing to take the pain away from losing a child, but First Touch Family brings hope to the healing journey. Along with resources, the nonprofit offers Blessing Boxes and any extra help needed with funeral planning.

Traci Richardson, Chrissy’s friend, helps make items for the Blessing Boxes. She’s never personally been through the tragedy of losing a child, but she says she can’t imagine what they go through.

“Any age that your child dies,” said Richardson. “Any age affects you as a parent. Whether that means a 21-year-old, 61-year-old or 13-year-old. It doesn’t matter. Just like Tessa Shive who passed last week in that car accident, it’s just so tragic.”

After the loss of 13-year-old Contessa Shive on Sept. 21 in a car crash, First Touch Family stepped in. The nonprofit is trying to raise funds to go towards the Tessa Shive Memorial Scholarship Fund or to the Shive Family Assistance Fund. So far, the Shive Family Assistance Fund has reached over $12,000 in donations. The Tessa Shive Memorial Scholarship is almost at $4,000.

Chrissy says the assistance fund will be used to help the family with medical bills, counseling for her siblings, two of which were in the crash with her, counseling for her parents and whatever else may arise.

Iola ISD told KBTX they are still offering counseling and support for those who need it after losing Contessa. Superintendent Jeff Dyer said school is canceled on Wednesday, Sept. 28, to hold a celebration of life in the high school gym at 10:30 a.m.

To get in touch with First Touch Family, click here.