SAINT JOHN – Tiffany Agnew, the founder of The Braedon Foundation, honours her son Braedon’s memory by providing happiness to New Brunswick children living with serious illnesses.
Agnew created the foundation after the passing of her eighteen-year-old son in 2018.
Its purpose is to create a legacy in Braedon’s memory by raising the spirits of New Brunswick children, ages 3-18, who are facing life-threatening or high-risk illnesses.
“After losing Braedon, I really wanted something positive that I could focus on that was bigger than myself, so I started the foundation,” Agnew said.
While trying to think of what the foundation would do, a friend of Agnew’s asked, “What would have brought Braedon more happiness?”
“Braedon loved to spend money but wasn’t able to work because of his health; he was really into video games and wanted to be a YouTube star,” reminisced Agnew. “I think a room makeover where someone came and filled his room with tech stuff and video games would have made him really happy; so that is what we decided to focus on.”
She began working on plans for the foundation in June, a month after Braedon passed, and completed the first room makeover in September.
Parents and loved ones can apply to the program on a child’s behalf, and when accepted they can choose between a shopping spree or a Happy Heart Bedroom Makeover.
“We’ve done two shopping sprees and we just finished our third room makeover this weekend; it’s actually going to be revealed tonight to the little boy,” Agnew said.
The foundation has so far brought joy to five children, with two more applicants approved for the fall. During the holiday season, it also brings gifts to children who are in the hospital.
This September, Agnew will launch the Braedon Foundation Support Group for parents of children with severe illnesses, which will be led by a certified counselor and foundation board member Kira Howard.
“As the parent of a child who had two life-threatening illnesses, I understand the stress and toll families face. When arranging room makeovers and speaking with families, I realized we needed to do something,” Agnew said.
While there are support groups for people who have lost loved ones, there aren’t groups for people who are immediately dealing with their child having an unimaginable health crisis.
“We are filling the gap in our community,” Agnew said.
The foundation’s gala fundraiser will be held on October 4, organized by Natasha’s Weddings and held at The Rockland. The gala is being planned by Agnew and the Gala committee, made up of foundation board members, and will be formal and prom-themed, as Braedon never got to finish his school year and go to prom.
The foundation also promotes blood donation and encourages people to become blood donors. There have been 100 blood donations made in Braedon’s memory so far across seven cities in five provinces, and in two countries.
“When Braedon was sick, he was given a lot of blood. We learned it would have taken about 130 people donating blood in order to provide him with a little more than a day’s worth of blood; it was astonishing,” Agnew said.
Canadian Blood Services attends the foundation events and will have a table at the gala along with a sign-up sheet for an upcoming blood donor clinic sponsored in Braedon’s memory.
Braedon has inspired Agnew in more ways than one. While running the foundation, she began a business called Tiffany Agnew Inspires, which focuses on helping herself and others become the greatest and bravest version of themselves.
“My son’s death affects my business in a big way because I have that reminder, every single day, how a single moment can really change everything,” she said. “I made a commitment to honoring him with my life by not taking it for granted; it pushed me to start working on the Braedon Foundation so quickly and taking bigger risks such as starting up my business.”
Agnew created the 100 Brave Year Project to push her boundaries and take bigger risks, including starting her own business, applying to be a TEDx speaker, climbing to the summit of Vermont’s Mount Mansfield and rappelling down the Saint John Hilton for Over the Edge despite a fear of heights.
She also works as a media and social media consultant for Saint John entrepreneurs and businesses, working with fellow entrepreneur Mark Black, Arcacia Projects & Events, Ltd, and is starting work with Hestia House, a not-for-profit organization offering secure shelter for abused women and their children.
Upcoming Tiffany Agnew Inspires projects include the launch of an online membership, Wake Up To Your Brave (Insiders Club) in October and a Be the Balance Retreat speaking engagement at the Saint John Trade and Convention Center on October 27.
Tiffany is also writing a book called “My Greatest Title.”
“It’s going to be about all the lessons that I learned from Braedon, and how others can apply them to their lives and minds,” she said. “As a parent, we’re supposed to be the ones teaching our kids, but I really feel like I learned so much from my son, not even just during his time, but even in his passing.”