Fargo family to honor son with memorial toy drive

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FARGO — After losing their baby boy just a few days ago, a Fargo family is honoring his memory in a special way.

Deklen Jordan Jedi Fischer never saw his first birthday, living to be just 5 months old. But instead of a funeral, his parents have decided to hold a celebration and toy drive at Lindenwood Park in Fargo next week.

John and Lindsay Fischer say their boy was a fun, happy and content baby who didn't cry much, loved to cuddle and started to vocalize early on.

But when he was born last winter there were early concerns.

"He had an incident where he aspirated and had fluid from eating in his lungs," Lindsay remembers. "He was unresponsive; we had to call 911."


Tests revealed Deklen had a hereditary, sometimes fatal disease called spinal muscular atrophy. After hospitalizations came hospice care at home and just days ago, Deklen died after months of struggling with the disease.

One of the toughest goodbyes was from his older brother Durham.

"He loved his big brother Durham. Whenever he came around, those were the biggest smiles," John said. "Even up to the end — when he saw Durham one last time — he had one last big smile for his brother . . . that was a great thing to see."

Rather than a funeral, John and Lindsay decided to hold a party at Lindenwood focused on a toy drive benefiting Toys for Tots that they said would be the perfect way to honor their boy.

"We knew in the beginning when we were planning a service (that) we didn't want people standing around crying, and so we talked to Alex (Rydell) at Hanson-Runsvold (Funeral Home) and we came up with the idea," Lindsay said. "Deklen never had a birthday party so why not have a party and this toy donation?"

Donations from the party will go to kids in need in the Fargo-Moorhead area on Christmas — a holiday Deklen never was able to see.

"I hope people have fun," John said. "We did not have him very long, but we were very lucky."

Lindsay said Christmas will be difficult for the family, but that it will help to think about all the kids who will benefit because of how much they loved Deklen.


"(It's) kind of our little mark," John said.

Deklen's Toy Drive Celebration is set to take place from 4 to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 7, at the main shelter at Lindenwood Park, 1905 Roger Maris Drive.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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