The death of a child is a devastating loss, difficult to comprehend. So it was when Garrett Reed Wheeler, the three-year-old grandson of Kendall Reed, D.O., FACOS, professor in the College of Osteopathic Medicine, was killed in a tragic accident at his Texas home. Miraculously, five simple words by Garrett’s five-year-old friend Carson helped loved ones begin the healing process.
As Dr. Reed recalls, the night after Garrett’s death, the home was full of neighbors and friends who came to offer help and support. Among them were Carson and his parents, who tried to gently explain that Garrett couldn’t play, as he had gone to Heaven to be with Jesus.
“All the adult eyes in the room were anxiously on Carson, expecting some type of grief-stricken response,” Dr. Reed recounts. “Instead, Carson, after hesitating briefly, broke out in a big smile and stated to the group, ‘Wasn’t this his lucky day?’”
Dr. Reed says he will always remember this story and tell it to others because of the comfort it brought to him and his family. They took the healing process a step further by creating the Garrett Reed Wheeler Award in Pediatrics, a $1,000 award given annually to a DMU graduate who has chosen to specialize in pediatrics.