Erin’s Crossing

Before 13-year-old Erin Suszynski crossed Maple Road to walk to the playground with her friends last month, she called her dad to ask permission.

“She didn’t plead with me, and I was like, you know what, go ahead. But I want you to be careful,” said Erin’s father, Jerry Suszynski. “And she said Ok, Daddy. Thank you, I love you. And that was it.”

Erin and her friend, Brianna Francois, were hit by a Jeep on June 9th as they crossed the street coming back home from the playground. Brianna is still recovering from the accident, but Erin died from her injuries after an 11-day stay at Children’s Hospital.

“She was beautiful on the inside,” said her mother, Mary Suszynski. “And it just so happens on the outside she was too.”

Radiant: whether she was dancing on stage, or demonstrating her quirky sense of humor.

Erin had just graduated from middle school the night before, and was poised for her yearly dance recital scheduled for Sunday night.

Her family says she was friendly and kind; Erin was known to do things like share a lunch table with a lonely student

“Erin would be the first kid who would go over there to say, “‘Hi, I’m Erin, do you want to sit with us?,'” said her mother Mary Suszynski.

And if there’s any doubt she was able to touch a whole community in just 13 years; every day Mary says the cards just keep coming.

The hundreds of cards are just the beginning. There have been flowers, food, even two trees that will be planted in her honor.

It’s hard to put enough thanks into words for support like this, so the Suszynskis are doing what they think Erin would have wanted them to do: they’re giving back.

They’ve set up a Memorial Fund in Erin’s honor. It’s called “Erin’s Dance” and has been set up through M&T Bank on Evans Street in Williamsville.

The Suszynski’s say the bills from Erin’s medical treatments are still coming in, and they might need help paying for them; but more importantly they want to establish a scholarship in her honor for a high school senior that exemplifies Erin’s spirit. Another idea, because Erin was so passionate about dance, is to sponsor a child who would like to dance, but can’t afford it. Mary Suszynski says she has already gotten in touch with Dance Central, Erin’s dance studio.

And when they get the strength, Jerry and Mary Suszynski say they’re going to push for crosswalks; not just on Maple where Erin was killed, but everywhere where there is a playground.

“I said the first day that we were at the hospital, I kinda knew Erin wasn’t coming home,” said Jerry Suszynski. “And all I could think of was, they’re going to have some kind of thing basically like Erin’s crossing, and she’s going to be gone, and this is what happens to make something like this occur.”