HomepageHomepage Showcase


Women's History Month: Helping families pick up the pieces

Cesca Campbell
Cesca Campbell
Posted at 4:19 AM, Mar 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-24 08:23:33-04

After she lost her son Connley, Paige Turner said she did not know how to be there for her other son, Brynden.

"As a mom you can't relate to your child," Turner said. "I didn't know what to say to Brynden or how to react around him. I really didn't care what was going on with him."

Turner said she could not process the sudden loss, stayed in her room, and cried.

However, on the other side of that door, Cesca Campbell, a child life specialist with the RescYou Group, stepped in and walked Bryden through the process of losing his little brother.

"In the past few months you feel like there is no one there for you, but this group has made me feel like I have someone on my side and get through the hard days."

From the hospital to the funeral and months after, Campbell is now part of the family.

Campbell was just a child when she decided on her life's calling. She was a patient at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and said having someone there through the good, bad, and ugly of cancer treatment helped make the process easier.

"I happened to have my own child life specialist at St. Jude and I said, 'I want to be her one day," Campbell said. "And I'm doing it. I stuck with it and I'm so thankful that I did."

Campbell started her career in the hospital setting and spent ten years preparing children for things like surgery and cancer treatments.

It was not until she heard of The RescYou Group that she realized her skills could be just as helpful out of the hospital.

"I thought to myself, 'child life would be so great here,'" Campbell said. "The hardest part of working at the hospital is watching the family leave and not knowing what type of support they're going to. A lot of times there's not child life specialists at hospitals and these children aren't receiving the education and support they need throughout the bereavement."

Today, Campbell is the immediate point person for the non-profit. She is someone a child can turn to after the death of a sibling.

"I'll be able to explain what death is, prepare them for funeral services, help them understand 'what is a funeral?' What will my brother or sister look like lying in the casket? What is a casket?" Campbell explained. "My goal is to lessen that trauma from the very beginning so that they're long term coping is as healthy as possible."

While this journey has not been an easy one for Bryden and Turner, it is one that has been made a bit easier with the help of someone walking them through it.