Lessons learned in the Face of Tragedy

Friday, March 6th, 2015

casey with dates (2)By Joel Feldman*

At the time Casey was struck by a distracted driver I was with a legal client in northern New Jersey. When the call came in to rush to the hospital he would not let me drive there alone. He insisted on having a neighbor drive me the 90 minutes to the hospital and he followed, driving my car. He was there at the time Casey died and he came to the funeral. He was the first to show me how kind and caring people can be after a tragedy.

I was representing him because a diagnosis of his cancer had been missed and he was not given a very good chance of survival – he was 40 and had a wife and two young children. I was filming a video for his case that would tell what he was experiencing and what his family was experiencing. I interviewed his parents, asking them to consider what it was like to know that you would be burying a child. I was interviewing his parents at the time my child Casey was dying.

Since then, we have talked often of the irony of me losing a child on that very same day.

When tragedy strikes, losing a child or contemplating one’s likely untimely death, we are caused to think about life differently. And that was certainly the case for my client.  He described how he would look at his wife and children and “take them in”, making a mental picture and holding them as close as he could because he did not know what the future held for him.  He explained that he had a new appreciation for all those he loved, was grateful for the time he had with them and the time he would have in the future. He was not angry or bitter about what he was losing but appreciative of what he had. It was as honest, raw, painful and eloquent a description of gratitude in the face of an incredible challenge that I had ever heard. I learned something from him that day that would help me in the following days as I buried my daughter and which still helps me today.

My client was cancer free for 8 years and all of us felt he had “beaten” it. I learned a few days ago that he recently died.  The cancer had come back. So I have been thinking about him, his children who lost a father, a wife who lost her husband, parents who lost a child and about that day when my daughter died.

I have been thinking how I have been able, as I continue to mourn the loss of my daughter, to be grateful for  so many things – the 21 years I had with Casey,  all those who love me and who I love and my client, for teaching me  about how we can choose to look at what we have and not what we have lost.


Joel & Casey, Christmas 2008

Joel & Casey, Christmas 2008

*Joel Feldman is the father of the late Casey Feldman and founder of the Casey Feldman Foundation and its sponsored project, EndDD.org. He has been a practicing attorney for 30 years and a shareholder in the law firm of Anapol Schwartz in Philadelphia. He received a masters in counseling in 2013 and speaks throughout the U.S. and Canada to teens and adults, changing attitudes and behaviors through the science based, EndDD program. Joel can be reached at [email protected]

The Fordham Alumni News (December 2009), “Family Endows Fund in Daughter’s Name”

Monday, January 11th, 2010

  Read the article as originally published online.

Family Endows Fund in Daughter’s Name

Contact: Bob Howe
(212) 636-6538
[email protected]

The family of Casey A. Feldman, a senior at Fordham College at Lincoln Center who was struck by a car and killed this summer, has created the Casey A. Feldman Memorial Endowed Fund with a $50,000 gift to the University which will support one student during an unpaid communications internship each year.

“Casey was able to take full advantage of the internship opportunities available while a student at Fordham,” said Dianne Anderson and Joel Feldman, Casey’s mother and father. “Her internship experiences helped her focus her interest in journalism, gain practical experience in her field and make professional contacts. We are very proud of what Casey was able to accomplish while a student at Fordham and are proud to be able to help future Fordham Lincoln Center students achieve their career goals through the internship experience.”

Feldman, former news editor of the Lincoln Center student newspaper The Observer, lived in a Philadelphia suburb with her family, and was working at a summer job in Ocean City, N.J., where she died on July 17. She was a communications major who graduated from Springfield High School in Pennsylvania. Feldman joined The Observer as a freshman and was named assistant news editor as a sophomore. While serving as news editor in her junior year, Feldman was named a finalist for the 2009 Chandler Award for Student Writer of the Year in Religion, sponsored by the Religion Newswriters Association. Feldman had planned to return to her Observer position in the fall, and was to begin an internship at New York 1 television station. (more…)

Foundation set up to honor memory of Springfield graduate

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Casey Feldman’s family establishes network where friends can share memories or volunteer time or money for one of many charities

Casey Feldman, second from left, with her father Joel, mother Dianne Anderson and brother Brett at Christmas 2008.

Published: Sunday, November 15, 2009


[email protected]

While sitting in the family shorehouse in Sea Isle City, N.J. last summer, Joel Feldman turned to his daughter and asked if she was happy.

“What do you mean, dad — today or in life?” 21-year-old Casey Feldman said.

“Both,” her father said.

After a few seconds, his first born smiled and said, “Yes … and yes.”

The short back-and-forth occurred on the evening of July 16. The following afternoon, while walking to her waitressing job at Bob’s Grill on the Ocean City boardwalk, Casey was struck by a passing motorist.

She died five hours later in the trauma unit of the Atlantic City Medical Center.

Joel Feldman and Dianne Anderson’s daughter was growing up to be everything they could have hoped for and had cornered the market on qualities that make parents proud.

Casey was smart, beautiful, hard-working, thoughtful, focused and funny. She was also a good listener and absolutely fearless, traits that helped the rising Fordham University senior become an award-winning reporter and editor of her school newspaper, The Observer.

“She liked to listen and she was patient with people, letting them tell their story,” Joel said. “She knew that if you are an open and honest person, and value what people have to say, they are probably going to talk to you.

“Along with being a little pushy and a little assertive, those are great qualities for a reporter to have. And a great quality for a friend to have.”

In addition to her schoolwork and hours spent on The Observer, Casey devoted her time to several causes in New York City, a metropolis she fell in love with as a young teenager during shopping excursions with her mother.

Casey also volunteered at the West End homeless shelter, Momentum Soup Kitchen, Animal Haven Shelter and, closer to home, the German Shepherd Rescue of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

She tackled internships at KYW News Radio, CBS Channel 3, The News of Delaware County, AM New York and Philadelphia Style and was to have begun an internship with the Manhattan-based television station NY-1 this fall.

“Every time I see a news anchor, I look and think, ‘Gosh, that could have been, or should be, Casey,’” Joel said. “Consequently, I don’t really watch the news. I’ll listen but it’s tough to watch.”

CASEY FELDMAN - Springfield grad killed in Ocean City, N.J.

To keep her spirit alive, the family has created The Casey Feldman Network and the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation (information on both, along with recollections, photos and Casey’s writings, can be found by visiting www.caseyfeldman.com). (more…)

Foundation Honors Delco Girl Killed at Jersey Shore

Saturday, December 5th, 2009

kyw-newsradio-logoby KYW’s Brad Segall

A Delaware County, PA. family who lost their daughter and sister over the summer in a traffic accident at the Jersey shore will announce a foundation in her memory later this week, hoping that some good will come from their tragic loss.

Casey Feldman would have been a senior at Fordham University this year but her young life was cut short in July when she was killed in a crosswalk while walking to her summer job in Ocean City.

Her family is establishing the Casey Feldman Memorial Foundation, which according to her father Joel Feldman, will help students and causes that were close to his daughter’s heart:

“Including helping those were homeless, hungry, those afflicted with HIV on the one hand and the other part of it is helping students through various scholarships.”

One of those scholarships will be given to a graduating senior at Springfield High School in Delaware County.

Scholarships will also be established at Fordham and the University of Colorado where her brother attends college.

The family will announce the foundation and the scholarships at the high school this Friday.

Click here to listen to the the KYW Interview.