Kenosha family raising scholarship money in honor of son's death

Posted at 7:01 PM, Oct 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-13 20:01:05-04

A Kenosha family is raising scholarship money in honor of their son's death four years ago. 

The McCollum family went through absolute tragedy in 2013. Their five-year-old son Bailey was killed in a drunk driving crash. 

"I miss him every single day," Kirsten McCollum, Bailey's mom said.

That night, the family went to the hospital with their two daughters, one of which was recovering from the crash. They came up with the motto, "Live, love and have faith." It's what gets them through the hard times in remembering Bailey. 

They remember the good times in his short life, not the one tragic moment. They refuse to let it define his life. 

"We try to be as positive as we could and see what we could do in his honor," Kirsten said. "His legacy was not going to be what happened and how it happened, but his legacy was going to be, what can people learn from that now."

The family is trying to find the good in a horrible situation. The incident happened on Oct. 8, so each year around that time, they hold Bailey's Ball. It's a costume themed party in honor of Bailey. After all, Halloween was his favorite holiday. 

"He was two costumes," Larry McCollum, Bailey's dad said. "He had a skeleton in front of him as well. He was a pizza skeleton."

Larry McCollum and his family laughed at the photo of Bailey. His sense of irony, well beyond his years as he sported a delicious food and skeletal remains as one costume. It's something his entire family enjoyed as he would want to pick multiple costumes each year. 
"It was so fun watching him grow up," Madison McCollum said. "I think that's the hardest part is that I don't get to do that anymore."

As a result of Bailey's Ball, the family is raising money for Kenosha Unified theater students. They select a few deserving seniors every year for the scholarship in Bailey's name. It's not based on merit, but rather if they exemplify the good Bailey brought to the world.

"They radiate kindness and giving," Madison said. "Yeah, I definitely think Bailey would have been like all of the recipients we've chosen."

"It's like he's living through them," Kirsten said. "Another piece of him being carried on with them."

The family has had its fair share of tears over the years. Understandably so. But now, they're all smiles remembering their favorite little guy. 

"Every year, I feel like I'm giving his birthday party," Kirsten said. "It's my one time I can tell everyone about Bailey and share his experiences and remember him."

Bailey's Ball raised a couple thousand dollars last year. It's not much, but the family says the award means a lot to the students who receive it. 

The 4th annual Bailey's Ball will take place Saturday, Oct. 14 from 12 to 5 p.m. at Somers Elementary School in Kenosha. There will be raffles, silent auctions, costume contests and much more to honor Bailey McCollum's legacy and raise money for deserving students.