13-year-old Kenzie Clifford never had the chance to meet her big sister Kylie. Yet Kenzie thinks about her often and wonders what she would be like if she were still alive.
In December 2003, Kylie Xiu Clifford died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). She was only three months and 19 days old. Despite their grief, Kylie’s parents Kat and John Clifford made the courageous and selfless decision to donate Kylie’s organs so that other children might live.
Years later the Clifford Family does all it can to keep Kylie’s memory alive. Recently, Kenzie had an idea to host a benefit to honor her sister on what would have been her sweet 16th birthday. Kenzie worked closely with her parents to plan the event, which helped raise awareness about SIDS as well as the importance of registering to be an organ, eye and tissue donor. The Clifford’s raised nearly $10,000 in Kylie’s memory. Proceeds were split between Washington Regional Transplant Community (WRTC), the organ procurement organization (OPO) in the D.C. metro area and First Candle, an organization focused on reducing the rates of SIDS.
After the event, Kenzie was overcome with joy and said to her parents “Thank you for helping make my dream come true to host this event.”
Kat and John are extremely proud of Kenzie and inspired by her love for a sister she never knew. They miss Kylie dearly and are grateful they had three months and 19 days to love her. “There isn’t a moment that goes by that we do not think of her. We miss her very much and wish we could hold her again, but we know that we are the lucky ones to be parents of an angel. Not many people in their lives can say that.”