Birthday party will honour Edmonton toddler killed on patio
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Sage Morin started planning her son’s first birthday party when he was only six months old.
She rented a pool, hosted a barbeque for family and friends, and ordered a three-tiered blue and green cake that had a crown on top and the words Prince Geo.
Little Geo Mousef wanted nothing to do with the cake. A year later, when family celebrated his second birthday with a bouncy castle and a dragon cake, he was older and wiser, knew that cake was tasty and dug right in.
This year, family, friends and hundreds of strangers will celebrate Geo’s third birthday with face painters, science demonstrations, balloon artists, puppet shows, crafts and surprises.
But Geo won’t be there.
The toddler was killed in May when an alleged drunk driver crashed his SUV onto the patio of Ric’s Grill where Geo, his baby brother Quentin, his father George and his mom were celebrating that he'd learned to use the potty.
“For me, it’s too soon to act like he wasn’t here. To not have a birthday party, I couldn’t do it,” Morin said.
Morin hopes hundreds of people will come to Geo’s Party, a free event, which takes place at Victoria Park on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Guests can bring donations for the Red Cross or gifts from a wishlist that will go to the Stollery Children’s Hospital.
Attendees are also urged to bring a signed letter, addressed to Stephen Harper, stating they have heard Geo’s story and want to see tougher minimum mandatory sentences for impaired driving.
Trying to turn the tragedy that turned her world upside down into a positive is the only way Morin said she is able to get through life without Geo.
“Trust me, I have my days when I just want to lay down and die but it’s important for me to say, ‘well this is what’s wrong and let’s try to fix it together, let’s try to make this world a better place.’”
Hosting the party is also a way for Morin and her family to thank, and meet, the hundreds of people who have rallied behind her cause, called Justice for Geo, which started with a Facebook group and has led to fundraisers, ribbons, decals, and thousands of people hearing Geo’s story.
“People that a little less than two months ago were strangers to me, they’ve stepped up, they’ve opened their families, their hearts to us and it’s been incredible. I feel as though my family has grown,” Morin said.
Morin is looking forward to sharing Geo’s story with more people on Saturday, a day that will have plenty of cake.
“What birthday party would be complete without the cake?”
Justice for Geo
In May, Sage Morin sat in court, less than 48 hours after her son died, wearing an “I heart Geo” T-shirt and waiting to see the man accused of killing Geo.
As she sat in court, hundreds of strangers were joining a Facebook group she had created earlier that morning called Justice for Geo.
Morin credits the support she has received online with getting her through the first week after Geo’s death. She said the Justice for Geo movement continues to keep her going.
Since Geo’s funeral, volunteers like NiTasha Lakhani, who didn’t know Geo or his family before the tragedy, meet weekly at an Edmonton community hall to create blue, red and yellow Justice for Geo ribbons.
“It really hit home for me. I have three kids myself… I just wanted (Sage) to know, as a parent, she’s not alone,” Lakhani said.
Lakhani has also been instrumental in helping to organize Geo’s Party and said the support she’s seen from other strangers for the family “makes her proud to be an Edmontonian.”