Family honors lost son on birthday

Matthew holding a photo of his son, Nicky, pictured above.
Matthew holding a photo of his son, Nicky, pictured above.(KSWO)
Published: May. 11, 2023 at 6:24 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - Everyone grieves differently following the loss of a loved one, and one family here in southwest Oklahoma turned to the community.

“Infant and child loss is a big thing. A lot of people don’t address it because a lot of people don’t want to talk about it, but it’s definitely something that affects multiple families across this country,” said Matthew Schaffer, Nicky’s father.

In August of 2016, Matt and his wife lost their first child, Nicky, who was just 4 months old at the time.

“He was born with a congenital defect called...and when he was born we knew we’d have some difficulties right out of the gate, but we didn’t let that get in the way of wanting to be parents and looking forward to having that joy in our lives,” said Schaffer. “We had our good days, we had our bad days, but eventually everything just kind of added up. He fought as hard as he could, but he kind of just left us here and went on to where he needed to be.”

Despite their loss, the Schaffer family has found a way to honor their son by supporting other families who have children that share Nicky’s birthday (May 11).

“Even though we can’t give him smiles we can help another family, or bring joy to another child and help them celebrate their special day,” said Schaffer.

Schaffer said last year they were able to help multiple families, but this year they helped a family they felt reflected their own.

“It’s definitely helped fill a void, even though we don’t always get to see the kiddo open presents or see the families reaction to it. Just knowing we were able to take those gifts and give them to people or somebody else in his memory it just creates a feeling of happiness and joy to know that even though we don’t get to experience we get to share that with another family,” said Schaffer.