Two pretty newsworthy events concerning children made headlines last week in Liberty County.
First, the good. Brynslet Sellers, a local 2-year-old, received a lifesaving heart transplant in Atlanta. The toddler had been on the transplant list since March, when she was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy.
The Courier had been following Brynslet’s story and providing periodic updates while her relatives and community members worked to raise money and support for the Sellers family as they struggled to pay medical bills and provide for their other children. After I first learned of the child’s health struggles, I could think of nothing else for days.
My daughter, Reese, is also 2, and I simply cannot imagine going through what Brynslet’s parents are dealing with. Just the thought was more than I could take. I prayed for the girl and her family, and tried not to cry every time the paper published an update on her story.
So, needless to say, I was absolutely elated to learn last Monday that Brynslet had finally received her new heart. Judging from social-media posts and updates from her mom, Amanda Sellers, the toddler’s loved ones are beside themselves with emotion. The delirious joy that must accompany the knowledge that your child — your top priority in this world — has been given a second chance at life must be positively overwhelming. I’m thrilled for the Sellers, and wish Brynslet a steady recovery.
Now, the second event. Last week, Hinesville resident Torres Boles was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering his own 3-year-old daughter, Andraia Boles, who died in a cold, wet bathtub after enduring a horrific amount of physical abuse.
This case also has been weighing very heavily on my heart. Again, I can’t think about it without letting my emotions get the best of me. With this one, though, it’s a mixed bag of emotions. The senseless loss of such a young life evokes deep sorrow. With it comes bittersweet satisfaction that, at the very least, the person responsible for her death has been punished justly. But most of all, I’m appalled, sickened and so very angry.
If Torres Boles did not want to love and care for his daughter, there are so many other people out there who would have. What happened was unnecessary and completely vile.
What baffles me is that these two extremes could exist in the same world. We have the Sellers family, hoping for only one thing — that their precious little girl gets the chance to grow up. Thank God their prayers were answered.
And we have Andraia Boles, who suffered immensely and perished at the hands of the person whose sole job in this world was to love, care for and protect her at all costs. And he failed miserably. What an unbelievable travesty.
I’m well aware that there are millions of good parents out there — people like the Sellers, who have made their children their No. 1 priority. Moms and dads who understand there’s nothing more important than the health of their little ones. But, sadly, there are also other parents out there like Torres Boles — people who are hurting and irreparably damaging their own children. It’s a tall order, but they must be stopped.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Most people think domestic violence refers only to spousal abuse; however, the extension of family violence — which includes the neglect or mistreatment of children — also falls under the domestic-violence umbrella.
Please, if you know of a child who is in danger or who might be in danger, report it. Take action now and encourage others to do the same. Call the authorities and stop a tragedy before it has a chance to happen. Let’s see to it that Andraia Boles’ case is the last of its kind in Liberty County. We have to start somewhere.