Wednesday, April 4, 2012

April Organization Spotlight | Stop the Shake | with Lindsey Scholar and Jessica Jackson

This month is a very special month near and dear to our hearts at Keane Law Firm. April is Nationally recognized as Child Abuse Awareness Month.  Established in the early 1980's, April is a month so many come together to raise awareness of Child Abuse in the United States.

Each month here at Keane Law Firm, we have brought to you families and organizations who go out into our community and go above and beyond to ensure the wellness of the lives of our children.

We are so pleased to introduce you to Lindsey Scholar and Jessica Jackson from Stop the Shake!

Lindsey Scholar (left) Jessica Jackson (right)
The Mission of Stop the Shake is "To spread awareness of Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma (SBS/AHT) in Minnesota and North Dakota, while supporting children and families in MN/ND affected by SBS/AHT".

Founding Stop the Shake in early 2009, two mothers have come together to support families, and assist their communities with the prevention of Shaken Baby Syndrome, through raising awareness by their very own personal stories.

Lindsey is the mother to Taylor Marie Scholar, a now 11 year Survivor of Shaken Baby Syndrome. Jessica is the mother to Luella Jackson, a now 5 year Survivor.  Though their stories are their own there is one factor they have in common.  Both of their children are surviving victims of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

The perpetrator whom shook Taylor, took an Alford Plea and served 4 years in state prison, and 2 years parole. Today, he is free, and has moved on with his life, while Taylor fights each day with the physical and cognitive limitations his actions imposed on her.

The perpetrator whom shook Luella, received 10 years for assault and 3.5 for harassment.

Going through the process and knowing that the life they each now have, will never be the life they once lived, there are certain key factors early on that truly have helped each of them. Jessica tells us that she prepared herself for the worst. She was prepared to raise a child that was much more developmentally challlanged than she is. Jessica still held hope however by expecting the worst and pushing for the best, it pushed her harder to try new things with Luella and it never gave her the false hope that Luella was going to be "cured'. Jessica also states that denial is what made it harder to push through until I changed my mind frame.

Just as with the many stories of triumph, not everyone deals with changed the same. Lindsey kept busy in many areas of her life. Prayer, her Faith, the ongoing activity of Taylor's therapy, school, and doctor appointments, as well as pursuing her Bachelor of Social Work Degree. The constant activity helped keep her mind busy, and away from dwelling on the many overwhelming feelings of what had occurred. It wasnt until after she graduated from college, and Taylor was in school that she was able to begin processing what had happened, and be able to move through those feelings. However, by then, Lindsey was ready, and that was when prayer and faith were essential to her.

Many families that we have spoken with here at Keane Law, have stated there is one statement that is hard to dissolve.  Anyone that is outside of a tragic incident and can see what is going on, the humanly first instinct of ourselves is to think and say, "I would have never been able to live through what you have."  From a mother who knows, we have heard a great example of grief, shock, and understanding to the greatest depths.

"If your house is burning to the ground, and you are standing outside watching all of your memories, belongings, and things burn, they are irreplaceable.  When the act of Shaken Baby Syndrome comes into your life the life crumbling affect is so comparable.  While your house is continuing to burn to the ground, you are not going to end your life, you are not going to stay in that one spot for the rest of your life, and you are not going to save that melted couch. You are going to go to the nearest assistance office and get help. You are going to allow the support of your family and friends to come in and comfort your heart, because as humans, we too have survival mode." -Rachel (Sumner) PuckettShaken Baby Syndrome Support Network

Survival is exactly what both of these ladies have done, and now together to move through the horrific act of Shaken Baby Syndrome, to ensure the pain their family has endured does not have to be for someone else.

For Lindsey, the key elements that have helped her along the way is the support.  She tells us she has been blessed to have met and become acquainted with many "SBS Family" members through recent years, and that helps her immensely. There is nothing like the support of those who are also walking this journey. They understand when so many others do not.  I also have a wonderful support system through family, friends, and local families of children with disabilities. Keeping Taylor engaged in adaptive sports and activities has helped us focus on her abilities, instead of "disability". Lindsey continues to focus on the positive, and that helps get them through each day.

Lindsey has dreams for the future with Taylor. Lindsey's dream is to ensure that Taylor's life serves a purpose. To ensure that what Taylor endured was not in vain. To work the hardest I can to prevent a child or parent from enduring what we have endured, and, if there is a family who has been affected by SBS in MN or ND, that they have the direct, local support that was lacking when they started their journey.

For Jessica, her faith is what keeps her going. Luella is also a very happy child. How can anyone be sad if Luella has gone through so many struggles and yet is still smiling and laughing!

Jessica has set forth one dream for Luella throughout her journey.  Jessica wants Luella to be able to live independently so when she is too old to care for Luella, there is no worry about what is going to happen to her when Jessica is gone.

Stop the Shake was founded on February 19, 2011, 10 years to the day that Taylor was shaken. Lindsey had recently attended the International Conference on SBS/AHT in Atlanta, GA, and through that experience, Lindsey regained the motivation for prevention and advocacy that had "fizzled" over the years. She wanted to "do something". So, she started brainstorming, started the Facebook page and purchased a website domain. Jessica moved from Tucson, AZ, to within 5 minutes from Lindsey's home, and with both of their visions and motivation, things started to move in a forward direction in August 2011.

For Child Abuse Prevention Month, Stop the Shake is sponsoring a Silent March, consisting of donated shoes, booties, and stories of angels and survivors affected by Shaken Baby Syndrome. The Silent March will be displayed at Sanford Health in Fargo, ND throughout the month of April, and at Essentia Health during the week of April 15-22, 2012. Stop the Shake will be educating small groups on the Leech Lake Reservation in MN on April 18 and 19, and, to round out Child Abuse Prevention Month,  we will be displaying our Silent March again on April 28, as well as educating the public about infant safety as part of The Week of the Young Child.

Please click here to read more about Stop the Shake!
You can also get in touch with them on Facebook and Twitter!

Thank you Lindsey and Jessica for sharing your amazing stories with us here at Keane Law!

If you have any questions or concerns about what can be done to help babies who have been shaken, or families of babies who have died, please call Christopher Keane and The Keane Law Firm toll-free for free consultation at (888) 592-5437 (KIDS), click on contact us here, or use the web form provided at

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