In The News
Our segment about Emma is now live on today.com
"I've seen and gotten a lot of comments about why we still recommend the flu shot even though it didn't work for us," said Pugh. "And I guess the reason is similar to why people still use seat belts even though people die in car accidents ... You're better equipped with a seat belt on to survive the crash."
WFSB - Eyewitness News Channel 3
Our segment about Emma aired on 10/30/18 on WFSB Channel 3 (Connecticut). A few weeks ago I did an interview with Denise from WFSB, Eyewitness News channel 3. We talked about Emma and what happened and how we are surviving. We also made a plea to get the flu shot as we still feel it's very important... Even with our outcome.
If you have questions or concerns about getting the flu shot then talk to a medical professional. Please.
Here is a link http://bit.ly/2JtvUBb
Global quilting community remembers Norwalk girl who died from flu
NORWALK — Weeks before she died from flu complications, 6-year-old Emma Mackenzie Splan told her mother, Christy Pugh, that she wanted to come back as a cat.
“At first it was a worm to help the plants grow,” Pugh remembered, shaking her head with a weary smile. “Really? Who wants to be a worm?”
But Splan always put others before herself. She had volunteered at PAWS every month for two years, reading books aloud to the animals, pausing at every page to show them the pictures and begging her parents for the three-legged or one-eyed animals at the shelter that might have a hard time finding a home.
So when Pugh and her husband thought of ways to remember Splan, they thought of ways they could help those she was close to.
On Saturday, Pugh and her mother-in-law, Sydney Splan, joined volunteers in Christie’s Quilting Boutique sewing together squares patterned with the geometric shape of cat’s heads. Their goal was to make 47 kitten quilts in honor of Emma Mackenzie Splan — one for every student and teacher in her grade at Columbus Magnet School.
“Emma would have loved it,” Pugh said.
She stood in the back of the room and watched as Christie Ruiz, the owner of the boutique, used her long-armed quilting machine to sew a layer of batting between the cat squares and backing fabric. Ruiz moved the arm with sweeping motions, and the stitches trailing behind the needle spelled out Emma’s name in cursive.
As Pugh helped pass Ruiz more batting, she put herself in the shoes of Emma Mackenzie Splan’s classmates.
“It gets harder as time goes on — 76 days and they’re realizing she’s not coming back,” she said. “I know it was for me.”
Support for the quilts has poured in from around the globe. After Pugh posted about the project on social media, people began sending her cat squares they had sewn in solidarity — so far, Pugh says she has received over a thousand.
“We’ve received squares from New Zealand, France, Australia, Mexico, Brazil,” she said. “Amazing, amazing people from all over the world.”
While some quilters heard about Emma’s quilts through social media, others heard about it through word of mouth. Anna May Jerusavage, who was helping out that morning, said she heard about it one day when she was in the boutique. “I couldn’t not help,” she said.
And for those close to Emma Mackenzie Splan, the quilts seemed to provide a way to both remember her and put their minds to rest. “It’s so dang relaxing,” Sydney Splan said of quilting. “You take your mind off of big things.”
In addition to the cat quilts, Pugh and her husband have offered a scholarship at Emma Mackenzie Splan’s dance school in Fairfield and are starting a charity called Emma’s Plan, which will support animals, children and the arts. The charity will follow Emma Mackenzie Splan’s grade as they move through Norwalk Public Schools.
Columbus Magnet School Principal Medard Thomas said that Emma’s family has always been active in supporting other students in the grade — in the past, for example, Pugh made sure students who could not afford it were able to leave the book fair with a book.
That involvement has not abated. “Her mom still comes here and volunteers with us because it’s important for us to keep that connection,” Thomas said. This week, she will come during an emotional check-in for the students provided by Den for Grieving Kids.
“We’re noticing right now that it’s really hitting the kids, the loss,” the principal said.
Those interested in lending a hand can find out about the next working session by calling Christie’s Quilting Boutique at 203-807-8458. Pugh said no sewing experience was necessary — people can help with ironing or cutting if they don’t know their way around a machine.
“We’ll take anything — moral support,” she said.