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Non-profit helps families navigate grief from the loss of a child

TUCSON – A local chapter of a non-profit has helped families that have lost a child through the grief process hosted a candle lighting ceremony on Wednesday evening.

Donna Ruboyianes joined the Tucson chapter of The Compassionate Friends after the tragic death of her son, Eric.

“He was a great friend, a great boyfriend, a great son,” said Ruboyianes. “He was kind to everyone. He loved everyone.”

In November of 2015, Eric was enjoying his freshman year at the University of Arizona until one night, the 18-year-old was out playing miniature golf with friends when his knee gave out.

“On Friday, we took him for X-rays to make sure nothing was broken. I made two appointments for two different orthopedic surgeons for Monday and Tuesday,” said Ruboyianes. “On Sunday, he passed away.”

Eric experienced a popliteal aneurysm that was in his leg, blood clots and multiple pulmonary embolisms, according to his mother.

Ruboyianes began to search for a group that could help her navigate through her grief which led her to The Compassionate Friends.

“When you go, you realize these are other parents in the exact same place that you are,” said Ruboyianes.

The non-profit support group is open to all family members grieving the loss of a child.

The chapter hosts a regular meeting twice a month, as well as candle lighting ceremonies.

“We do this to honor them, to remember them, to celebrate them, and just to keep their memory alive,” said Ruboyianes.

For more information on The Compassionate Friends, click here.

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