A grandmother’s love turns grief into good

A shadow of Ayden peaks playfully from behind his mom, sisters and grandmother, Bobbi Jackson Qualls of Ridgeway.

RIDGEWAY – In 2011, toddler Ayden Ferby was the youngest fatality on SC roadways. His death was the tragic result of not being properly restrained in his car seat.

Although Ayden’s life was short lived, his grandmother, Bobbi Jackson Qualls, now says there have been many lessons learned. To that end, her never-ending love – her family’s love – for Ayden has brought much good for other children since his death.

“As a result of us dealing with the grief and guilt of Ayden’s death, Ayden’s Turn was birthed,” Qualls said. “It was a way to do something for him, for his memory and for other children. We organized our first blood drive and car seat clinic in 2012 to bring awareness to the importance of proper installation and use of car seats. The goal was to educate the public on proper installation and best practices to use, to help reduce vehicular injuries and deaths of infants and children, in memory of Ayden,” Qualls said.

On Saturday, Qualls’ family has organized another blood drive, this time at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Ridgeway.

Ayden’s family and friends rally together through various campaigns year round – blood drives, car seat clinics, pamper parties, partnering with local law enforcement to educate the public on safety requirements while traveling and serving on the Buckle Buddies Coalition to advocate for changes in our state laws.

Ayden’s Turn has donated countless coats and shoes to children in Head Start programs and celebrate kid’s day events in the local schools and communities.

“We partner with other organizations like churches and civic groups to carry out our mission. To celebrate Ayden’s memory, we intentionally make child safety our first priority,” Qualls said. “As a result of Ayden’s tragic death and our broken hearts, we have made a difference in the lives of many, many other children.”

The next Ayden’s Turn blood drive will be held Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Bethlehem Baptist Church, 330 W. Third St. in Ridgeway. To sign up, visit www.redcrossblood.org and enter sponsor code: Bethlehem. For more information, call Bobbi Jackson Qualls at 803-633-5033.

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