WILLIAMSVILLE, NY- In the midst of their grief, a Williamsville family is launching a foundation to keep their daughter's legacy alive by helping to keep other children safe around playgrounds.
Mary and Jerry Suszynski are holding a benefit this weekend for the Erin's Crossings Foundation. Their goal is to create a law requiring crosswalks in front of every playground.
Their 13-year-old daughter was killed in June when she was walking across Maple Road with friends to get to a playground. Her friend, Brianna Francois, survived her injuries.
They don't just want lines on the pavement. They found a company, LightGuards Systems Inc., that for $15,000 per crosswalk would install solar-powered lights.
"They have a sensor on them so they'll sense somebody crossing the street and they'll blink on both sides of the street so you'll be aware that there's a pedestrian crossing," said Mary Suszynski.
We spoke with Amherst Deputy Supervisor Guy Marlette just days after the crash. He said he's not a fan of mid-block crosswalks because pedestrians think traffic will just stop. He was skeptical about a crosswalk or light even where Erin was killed.
But that's not stopping Erin's parents, who want to keep her legacy alive, and feel this is what she would want.
"It's a big endeavor but it's a task that we're taking on and we're not going to give up until we get results from this," said Mary.
The benefit Sunday is at Samuels Grand Manor from noon to 4 p.m. It includes more than 250 baskets, and silent and live auctions. Live auction items include tickets to the Conan O'Brien show with a meet-and-greet, tickets to the Kids Choice Awards, autographed jerseys and a weekend in Toronto.
Tickets are $20 and include food, pop, and coffee. Tickets are available at the door, or at Ethan Allen, World Gym in Williamsville, Hair Works, and DanceCentral.