October 13, 1987 - June 6, 2005
"I don't want to die."
Those were the last words Chris spoke before he died. Chris had FASD and required close supervision due to his poor judgment and his inability to avoid risky situations. However, the residential placement provided for Chris only allowed for daytime supervision. His parents pleaded with the agency to supervise him at night as well, as he is at highest risk during the evening hours, when he would go out alone into the community. Chris had been given free-time hours to help him prepare for independence as an adult. At 17 years of age, with FASD, he was about 10 years away from the maturity he would need to be on his own. At 17 years of age, he went out alone late at night, and one night he did not come home. After meeting with his girlfriend, Chris was walking home through a park and was attacked by someone weilding a knife. He was stabbed repeatedly in the chest, and after his attacker fled, Chris tried to call for help. Someone heard him, and called for paramedics who came within minutes. But Chris was dead before he got to the hospital.
Chris is not the first victim of an inadequate system. He will not be the last. How many children with FASD must die before we wake up and realize that they need a strong support system with close supervision? Chris deserved more than a chance to exercise the freedom he wanted, and was given. Freedom that was lost almost as soon as it was granted. Self-determination for teens like Chris too often turns into self-termination. Children like Chris need adequate support services so they can grow up to adulthood in a safe and healthy environment.
Chris Surbey died before he even reached adulthood. His parents grieve the loss of a child they loved dearly. Please do not let his death be in vain.
How many roads must a man walk down Before you call him a man? Yes, 'n' how many seas must a white dove sail Before she sleeps in the sand? Yes, 'n' how many times must the cannon balls fly Before they're forever banned? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, The answer is blowin' in the wind. How many times must a man look up Before he can see the sky? Yes, 'n' how many ears must one man have Before he can hear people cry? Yes, 'n' how many deaths will it take till he knows That too many people have died? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, The answer is blowin' in the wind. How many years can a mountain exist Before it's washed to the sea? Yes, 'n' how many years can some people exist Before they're allowed to be free? Yes, 'n' how many times can a man turn his head, Pretending he just doesn't see? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind, The answer is blowin' in the wind. --Bob Dylan