Sloane Simmons Briggs, January 19, 2012~August 7, 2014
Sloane Simmons Briggs passed away in the early morning on Thursday, August 7th, 2014.“Sloaney-B” was born at Washington Regional Medical Center in Fayetteville, AR on January 19th, 2012. Celebrations were cut short; Sloane had issues breathing, and it quickly became evident that something, or “some things” were wrong.
The first four months of Sloane’s life were spent at Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH), much of which was spent in the Natal Intensive Care Unit, or NICU. The doctors discovered that Sloane’s condition was indeed precarious: she suffered from a number of very serious and likely chronic diseases – CCHS (Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome), Bradycardia, and Hirschprung Disease. The procedures that followed and the plans that were lain out to combat Sloane’s sicknesses were equally severe. Within a week of being born, Sloane had a pace maker installed; within a month she had a tracheotomy.
But these things don’t describe Sloaney. Listing her medical problems no more tells her story than a recipe book actively creates the tastes it describes. Her sense of humor and affable nature became evident just as quickly as did her illnesses. Throughout her stay at ACH, Sloane made dozens of friends and touched the lives of scores more. “The Story of Sloane Briggs” became a by-word all over the state.
Several of Sloane’s Mom’s co-workers launched a “Team Sloane” campaign composed of tee shirts and a Facebook page. Soon to be seen and heard all over Northwest Arkansas, Team Sloane’s slogan “Girl is Fierce” was as appropriate as it was catchy. Fierce as they come, Sloane kept up the fight and, after 120-odd days, she was released from ACH.
Sloane and her parents moved back to Fayetteville. Things were difficult at first; settling in was tough, and “normal life” became anything but normal for the Briggs.
There was the occasional set back, but the victories finally started outnumbering the defeats. Originally, Sloane was fortunate to spend 15 minutes at a time off her ventilator. In a short couple months, however, her strength grew to a place where her ventilator time was often reduced to 15 minute intervals a couple times per day. Sloane was busy accomplishing what the doctors said was impossible, and similar milestones kept getting reached time and time again. Girl sure was fierce, and no two ways about it.
In the months following her second birthday, Sloane had long-since grown into a local celebrity. Her story – by that point a legacy – led to the Briggs Family being named “Survivor Family of 2014” at the Northwest Arkansas Heart Association’s annual Gala. A couple of months later, the Briggs Family went to Orlando to attend a convention held for families affected by CCHS. Again, Sloane was rarely anywhere and not the center of attention. And again, the Briggs Family was singled-out and honored for their strength and courage. The world was becoming fascinated “with this amazing little girl from Arkansas.”
So many friends, so many honors, so many lives touched. So many good things. To know Sloane was to love her; to know Sloane well was to be amazed by her. Sloane was an angel of a girl, and now she’s a Saint of one – as sure as the sun will set tonight and rise tomorrow. And how wonderful it is that all the goodness Sloane made happen was the result of one, simple thing: no matter what the rest of the world was doing, little Sloaney was always herself – and it was good.
Sloane is survived by her great grandfather, Wardell Bruce Pennington of Newport, AR; her grandparents Murray Clifton Jr. and Susan Durilla Briggs of Fort Smith, AR and John Gail and Sue Simmons Pennington of Newport, AR; her uncle/aunt Murray Clifton III and Keely Briggs of Atlanta, GA; her uncle/aunt John Durilla and Angela Briggs of Memphis, TN; her uncle/aunt John Ward and Suzanne Pennington of Fayetteville, AR; by her best buddies Lucy Ann Pennington of Fayetteville, AR; Reid Mathew Meeks of Fayetteville, AR; Evie Elizabeth Meeks of Fayetteville, AR; Karli Jo Miller of Newport, AR; and Michael Davenport Brand of Newport, AR; and by her parents Lucas Finklea and Lindsay Pennington Briggs.
Funeral services will be held at 2:00pm on Monday, August 11, 2014 at Central United Methodist Church in Fayetteville. There will be a graveside service immediately following the funeral service at Fairview Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Fayetteville under the direction of Beard’s Funeral Chapel. There will be a Celebration of Sloane’s Life held at Scarpino’s in Fayetteville directly following the graveside service.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to:
Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles
4650 Sunset Blvd, # 29
Los Angeles, CA 90027
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