Dracut Man's Quilt Dedicated to Babies Who Died from Brain Injury






By Lisa Redmond, lredmond@lowellsun.com

Updated: 07/10/2011 07:00:22 AM EDT

 

 

DRACUT -- The 10-inch by 10-inch piece of brightly-colored fabric is lovingly adorned with the words "Forever In Our Hearts."

 

In the center of this quilting square is the image of 6-month-old Devin Matthew Logan, nestled in his bright blue baby seat.

 

It's a small piece of fabric, but it carries a big message.  Devin, Bob Logan's grandson, died on June 21, 2005 after being shaken. Shaken Baby Syndrome is described as a type of inflicted traumatic brain injury that happens when a baby is violently shaken.

 

The baby's then-20-year-old father, Andrew Roberts, the former boyfriend of Logan's daughter, Jessica, pleaded guilty in 2007 to manslaughter and was sentenced to 13 years in state prison.

 

"I wanted to do something positive from something negative," Logan said.

Logan has spent the past year in this labor of love, reaching out to families affected by Shaken Baby Syndrome/abusive head trauma to collect 20 squares for a commemorative quilt. Sometimes he has found out about victims through the news or just by word-of-mouth.

 

"I recalled from a 2009 walk for the Massachusetts Citizens for Children (MCC) that they had two commemorative quilts borrowed from the national organization," said Logan in an interview in his 27 Bridle Path Road home.

 

But there is a transportation cost each time the national quilts are borrowed. Logan, an MCC member, suggested Massachusetts should have its own quilt for children -- victims and survivors -- affected by SBS/AHT.  MCC Executive Director Jetta Bernier thought it was a great idea. She tapped Logan to lead the project.

 

"It is a great way to memorialize each and every child," Logan said. "And with 20 faces on a quilt it is pretty powerful."  Through a friend of a friend of a friend, Logan found quilter Dianne Judd, owner of the Quilted Shamrock in Hudson, N.H., who volunteered herself and other quilters to create the squares from designs submitted by the families and stitch them all together -- all free of charge.

 

The quilt will be used as a tool to build public awareness about SBS and its prevention.  So far, Logan and his co-chair and former father-in-law, Frank Bashore, of Westford, have 14 families from across the state who have either provided or promised squares of children who have died or been injured.

 

Debbie and Sunil Eappen have promised to provide a square for the quilt, Logan said. It was the tragic death of 8-month-old Matthew Eappen in 1997 while in the care of British au pair Louise Woodward that made SBS front-page news around the world.

 

"What irks me about SBS is that it is purely preventable," Middlesex District Attorney Gerard Leone said at an SBS seminar. His advice for stressed parents is simple: Put the child down and walk away for a few minutes.

 

But Logan is still searching for six more families to complete the quilt by Oct. 1 so that it's finished in time for its unveiling in November.  Logan said this will be a "traveling quilt" to be displayed in hospitals, schools, libraries, city halls and other public places across the state. 

 

One of the first places the quilt will be displayed is Lowell General Hospital, whose Patient Family Advisory Council has been extremely helpful, Logan said. He also praised the work of the Greater Lowell Health Alliance/Maternal Child Health Task Force and Amy McCabe.

 

Logan has also created a non-profit organization called "A Child's Light." While still in its infancy, Logan's goal is to use the nonprofit -- childslight.org -- to collect donations that will help organizations and parents of babies with things they may need.

 

While Logan is adamant that he will never forgive Roberts, he stressed that the quilt is "not therapy" but "something I want to do to get the message out."

Logan's daughter, now 24, is doing well six years after her baby's death, her father said. Jessica Logan attended the Salter School and now works in a doctor's office.

 

She and her fiancee, who Logan describes as "a wonderful guy," are expecting their first child -- a boy -- at the end of August.

Bob Logan can be reached through his email address: info@childslight.org.