Founder of Grief Heroes Foundation, Susan Binau, was diagnosed with stage-3 colon cancer a few days after her youngest son Andy's second birthday. She had no roadmap for the future, and the most terrifying of all was if she would die from her four children.
Susan was fortunate. She is a survivor. Yet, the day came when her friend Hanna passed away, and Susan became the sole survivor of six friends who lost their battles to cancer. The lack of resources for families with grieving children was appalling. Susan embarked on a life-long mission to help families with children cope with life-threatening illness and grief.
Since 2009 Susans have developed self-help resources that have reached families in five countries in conjunction with hospitals, schools, and nonprofit organizations. She is the author of 12 self-help books, including the Super Dog ZAM Grief Series for children.
How It All Started
Authors Susan and Andy Binau in 2014.
Mother & Son On A Mission
To Help Grieving Children
The journey of Susan working with her son Andy started when he was nine years old. Susan: "Andy handed me a stack of papers saying, Mom, I wrote a book. Will you read it?. As I read the story, I asked him, did Dad help you write this?. No, Mom, I did it myself. The day after Noah died, I went to my room and started to write".
Andy had sadly lost a friend to brain cancer and now wanted to comfort the grieving sister with an uplifting story. Proud of her son, Susan helped him turn it into a book that he could give to the grieving sister.
Andy was happy the day he could bring a copy of the book to the grieving sister.
Susan donated four thousand copies of the book to local families, Nonprofit Organizations, and Schools.
The response was heartwarming. Children could relate to the main character in the book, Zam, a three-legged super pup who lost his mom and went on a mission to empower children. The teachers were happy to have a donation to give to their grieving students.
The Story Behind The
Super Dog Zam Grief Series
Susan: "I co-facilitated a grief group for children, and we didn't have any grief tools but had to improvise. The director of the programs told me that she couldn't find any age-appropriate grief workbooks online. The same night I began to develop the grief tools we needed. I utilized Andy's super pup Zam and created a combined story and workbook for three age groups.
The grief series was published in 2015.
Wings Of Love
In July 2015, Zam, the mascot, arrived from Holland just in time to attend the local fundraiser "Wings of Love."It was also the day that we celebrated the launch of the Super Dog Zam Grief Series.
Florida 2015. Susan and Andy with the first versions of the
In 2014, we traveled to Denmark and Spain to speak in front
of healthcare professionals. As a part of a grief program, we donated 2,000 books to Danish hospitals. Nurses now had a gift to give the grieving or hospitalized children.
Wings Of Love Fundraiser in 2015.
Andy, along with his classmates from Montessori School of Celebration, was performing.
Florida 2015; ZAM the mascot on the day he arrived in Florida.
2020. TV Interview: Andy Binau became a grief expert and spokesperson in the media.
Grief Heroes Foundation is a helping hand for grieving children, teenagers, and their families. We specialize in grief resources for children and teenagers and help reduce the long-term effect of unresolved childhood grief. In conjunction with underfunded school districts, we donate Grief Heroes Packages to support grieving elementary school students.
While these initial outreach projects have mainly been self-financed, Susan founded the Grief Heroes Foundation in 2019 with her15-year-old son Andy and partners.
We also provide educational resources and training to school professionals.
Future grants will help us tailor our grief books to different school counties' programs and curricula. Our ultimate goal is to have our grief program converted into the curriculum in Elementary Schools nationwide.
Children Helping Children
Andy: "When my mom asked for my help, I was all in," Andy says, "I'm lucky to have parents who both survived cancer, so I want to give back to the less fortunate children." At fifteen years old, Andy Binau spearheaded the foundation's first donation project.
While COVID-19 is traumatizing children across the globe who have lost loved ones, Susan Binau, Andy Binau, and Kali Mutty worked tirelessly to prepare grief support for the children of Oklahoma City.
Grief Relief To The Children Of Oklahoma City
Meet Emily Kloeppel
In November 2020, when COVID-19 cast its shadow over the United States, we distributed Grief Heroes Donations to 18 inner-city schools in Oklahoma City.
Florida November 2020, Susan and Andy Binau shipping Grief Heroes Packages to students at 18 elementary schools."
In coordination with teachers and school counselors, most of whom had little or no budgetary resources for traumatized students, elementary school students now have access to grief support.
"In a school where trauma is abundant, and teachers and counselors are doing everything they can to help, the hope these Grief Heroes donations bring can't be overstated. These donations are helping hundreds of students and families in Oklahoma City."
Teacher at Windsor Hills Elementary School, Oklahoma City
"I reached out to the communities I'm involved in to share our mission and see how we could help. Teenagers, teachers, and school counselors started to respond. We listened to their need for grief resources and put together a "Grief Heroes Donation."
1 Super Dog Zam Grief Book
1 Set of colored pencils
1 Drawstring backpack
Guidelines for the adults
These donations are helping children understand their grief and confusion by offering them context and the right language to process their difficult emotions.
Super Dog Zam Grief Series
The combined story/workbook helps children understand grief and give them life skills to cope healthily with loss.
The books are translated to English, Spanish and Italian and come in three different age groups 3-5, 6-9, 10-12.
The books are available for purchase on Amazon, and families can read or download them for free by visiting www.griefheroes.org
A Grief Heroes Donations includes:
National Grief Relief: A Team Effort
Kali Mutty is one of the co-founders and in charge of editing, redesigning, and publishing the Super Dog Zam grief healing books.
"It feels purposeful for me to be a part of this project. Children nowadays are faced with unprecedented trauma and challenges due to the pandemic.
I have worked with children in the past, and teaching them to address and work through their emotions at an early age will only benefit them as they mature. We are all living through turbulent and uncertain times, and many adults are learning that they never learned healthy coping mechanisms."
Beyond: Wheels of Hope
We continue our mission as we await the 501(c)3 status. Right now are in the process of reaching out to corporate sponsors and applying for grants. Once we have a minimum budget secured, my team and I will start organizing our 'Wheels of Hope' 2022 School Tour.