A Moment of Silence

In Memory of Christopher Surbey 


FASD Awareness Day 2005


The traditional “Moment of Silence” observed at 9:09 on each FASD Awareness Day will this year be held in memory of Chris Surbey, son of Val and Vince Surbey of Winnipeg, Manitoba.  Val Surbey is one of the founders of FASlink, the mail list support group for parents all around the world.  Val and Vince are adoptive parents of three children with FASD.  Chris, the oldest of the three adopted children, was diagnosed with a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and also with Reactive Attachment Disorder, and was receiving support services in a community residential setting.  His parents had been advocating for a safer environment for Chris and for closer supervision.  Their concerns were ignored.  Their efforts were dismissed as those of overprotective, demanding parents. 


Chris was placed in an apartment in an unsafe part of the city, with daytime staff only, which left him free to do whatever he wanted, go wherever he wished, during the night hours.  His parents lived in fear that something might happen to him.  Their fears have been realized.


On June 5th, at 10 pm, just 30 minutes after his support staff left, Chris left his apartment as well.  He visited his girlfriend, and while walking home through a park, just a few blocks from his house, at one o’clock in the morning, Chris was stabbed to death by an assailant with a knife.  His last words were “I don’t want to die.”  He breathed his last breath in the care of a paramedic and was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.


Every parent of a child with FASD lives in fear that one day they will be told their child has been arrested, raped, injured, or killed.  No parent should have to live with this fear.  No parent should have to grieve the early tragic death of a child. 


As we remember in silence the innocent life of Chris Surbey, let us recommit ourselves to raising awareness about FASD to everyone, every day.  One person at a time, we can wake up our communities to the seriousness of FASD and the risk it poses to our children.  One day at a time, we can bring to light the urgency of the needs of children, teens and adults with FASD.  If other children with FASD can be spared this tragedy, then Chris Surbey did not die in vain.

In Memory of Chris Surbey

Winnipeg Sun news report
Letter to the editor
Man Arrested
We Love You Still
With a Cry


FAS Community Resource Center