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Cody’s Story

Cody Foster was the first and only son for Sandy and Russ Foster. The Fosters had begun their family with the birth of their daughter Courtney in 1998. Two years later the family expected their second child. Cody was born three months premature in July, 2000. Complications set in quickly, and Russ and Sandy felt their dream of bringing another child into the world beginning to break apart. Cody lived less than three weeks.

Cody never saw life outside of the walls of Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, the nearest hospital with a Level-4 neonatal intensive care unit. Delivered by emergency caesarean section on July 6, Cody struggled with complications and suffered a brain hemorrhage on his third day in this world. Sadly, Cody suffered another brain hemorrhage on his sixteenth day. With family and friends nearby, as he was placed in his mother’s arms, he passed.

He never felt the sunlight on his tiny face. He never once was comforted by his father’s arms around him. The clothes Sandy and Russ had brought for him to wear on his first day home came back with them unworn.

Cody’s Legacy

The heart is a fertile ground for grief; that grief can grow amidst the heart’s rocks in stony silence.

Losing Cody was devastating to the family; Russ profoundly felt the boy’s absence. Despite concerns about future pregnancies, Sandy and Russ had another healthy little girl two years later who they named Megan. While their family of four is a happy one, Cody is never far from anyone’s thoughts. Cody’s legacy lives on and is shared with other families who deal with childhood ailments through The CODY Project.

The Cody Project

Neonatal intensive care units (NICU) like the one in Swedish Medical Center in Seattle are extremely costly to build and maintain. Stays at such facilities can cost thousands of dollars a day. Children born prematurely can spend as many as two months in an NICU at costs soaring into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. The CODY Project begins with kids and their needs first.

While the initial aim of the CODY Project’s charity goals is toward cerebral palsy and the NICU at Swedish Medical Center, the long-term intentions are much broader. With guidance from the CODY Project’s board of directors, Russ and Sandy Foster intend to establish an endowment and donations for children and families dealing with other conditions, including autism, Down syndrome, juvenile diabetes, and cancer.

The CODY Project is deeply personal—it originates with the inspiration of one family and is maintained with their supportive family and friends. Many of the people associated with the project, and all of its board members, work uncompensated for their efforts. This ensures that as much as possible of the donations support the children and families.

The CODY Project is dedicated to the memories of Cody Foster and Joyce Claire Nicholson Foster, Russ’s mother. Without you, Mom, this heart would have never beat at all. And without you, Cody, this heart would never have beaten so strongly.

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