Tragedy leads to charity for parents of stricken infant

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by MONIKA DIAZ

WFAA

Posted on September 25, 2013 at 10:23 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 10:16 AM

BENBROOK — Kate and Tom Mallery hand out medical supplies to families with special needs children. They also pick up donations that are unused and unopened.

Hospitals can’t accept the surplus supplies because of liability concerns.

“We go right to people's houses, or we can meet them at a public place,” said Kate Mallery. “These are all supplies that are given to families that are completely sterile, completely unused, and they were told to throw them in the garbage."

Project Sloopy is a a medical supply charity on wheels... with a purpose.

"We have slept on campgrounds," Mallery said. "I don't have a bed, and it gets hard... but it's nothing compared to what these children go through on a daily basis."

The couple from Philadelphia launched their road trip after their daughter, Ana Cru, died in February after being born with severe brain damage.

Ana was just 11 months old.

"She just couldn't fight any more, and he just wrapped her, and he [Tom] sang to her, and she just fell asleep,” Kate said.

Dad nicknamed his daughter "Sloopy."

"The second day I was in the hospital, the song, 'Hang On Sloopy' was on the radio," Tom Mallery said. "I just sat by her bedside and held her hand and sang that song to her."

Four months after their daughter passed away, Kate and Tom launched Project Sloopy in Ana's memory. They've been to nearly every state, and they've met dozens of families along the way.

"It brings me a lot of joy, and I see a little bit of my daughter in every child we meet,” Tom said.

Their journey brought them to Benbrook to the home of Dorie Kirk, where donations are piling up.

“They are actually going across the country, and I said, 'C'mon over. You need to stay here,'" Kirk said.

The families met on Instagram under the hashtag #infantloss.

“You see what they have been through, and it puts you back in that place,” Kirk said.

Dorie and her husband lost their baby boy, Kale, in June, 2011. He also had severe brain damage and died when he was 45 days old.

"It has been the most difficult thing ever, but we've been really lucky that we have been able to channel all of it into really good things," Kirk said.

Every year, the Kirk family holds a fall festival to raise money for a charity in honor of Kale. This year, they chose Project Sloopy.

Kale’s Kisses Second Annual Fall Festival is Saturday at Veteran’s Park in White Settlement. The event starts at 2 p.m.

“She lives on this way,” said Tom Mallery. "She will live on forever helping children."

Tom and Kate will soon head back home to Philadelphia, where they plan to carry on their daughter's legacy. She revealed their purpose and their life's passion.

E-mail mdiaz@wfaa.com

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