The reason this mom is filling backpacks with school supplies will break your heart

(ABC NEWS)- A mother grieving the loss of her husband and baby is honoring them both on the year that her son would have started school.

 

Destiny Klimaszewski, 24, began filling backpacks with school supplies on her son Parker’s birthday, June 23 and is ending the drive on August 3. She hopes it’ll spread the love of Parker and his dad, Corey.

 

“I miss it all,” Klimaszewski of Foristell, Missouri, told “Good Morning America.” “My son waking me up every morning, my husband coming home from work and us eating dinner as a family. I miss their smiles and my son’s giggle. Most importantly, I miss what should have been. I miss the future we had planned.”

 

Parker Mantia, 1, and his father, Corey Mantia, died after a drunk driver hit the family’s vehicle on Sept. 20, 2014.

 

Baby Parker died at the scene, whereas dad Corey, after fighting for his life for almost 24 hours, died less than a day later.

 

Klimaszewski, who was also in the vehicle, was the sole survivor of the crash in which the woman who hit them also died.

 

In 2015, exactly one year after the accident, Klimaszewski, who then went by the name Destiny Mantia, spoke with ABC News after she posted a devastating recap of what happened on the day she lost her family. The note, which was shared upwards of 62,000 times on Facebook, pleaded with others not to drink and drive.

 

Today, Klimaszewski is married again and is mom to her 5-month-old son, Cohen. She credits her family for giving her strength to move forward, she said.

 

“My husband Brett truly saved my life and gave me hope,” Klimaszewski added. “My son [Cohen] was the super glue to my shattered heart giving me a reason to fight more in this life.”

 

For the past three years, Klimaszewski has been holding fundraisers celebrating Corey and Parker’s lives. She started with a toy drive for her local children’s hospital, then a book drive. This marks the second year Klimaszewski will host a school supplies drive.

 

“I struggled so much through holidays and birthdays,” she said. “This year, my son [Parker] should be going to kindergarten. I wanted to fill his backpack and many others as well. It’s a big healing tool for me.”

 

In 2017, Klimaszewski filled 165 backpacks and sent half to a school with children who come from low-income families. She then took the second half to a crisis center which provides emergency intervention, childcare and tools to prevent child abuse, she said.

 

Klimaszewski opens the school supplies she receives on Facebook Live and advertises the drive on social media using the hashtag, #CoreyAndParkersLove. She’s received packages from as far as Australia, and hopes this year’s school supplies drive is even more successful than the first.

 

Klimaszewski said her message for others who are grieving is to “keep pushing forward.”

 

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