The parents of murdered teen Blaze Bernstein are doing their best to turn tragedy into something that resembles a triumph.
On the night of January 2, the 19-year-old University of Pennsylvania student — home in California, visiting his parents on winter break — made dinner for his entire family. He then went out to meet friends and never returned.
Bernstein was later found buried in a shallow grave in a park near his family’s home, having been stabbed 20 times. A former high school classmate, 20-year-old Samuel Woodward, was charged in connection to the crime.
Jeanne Pepper Bernstein and her husband, Gideon, recently spoke to Today about the tragedy and its aftermath. While there has been rumor implying Blaze was killed for being gay, his parents don’t think the motive is important, considering their son is gone.
As Bernstein’s mom told Today:
We celebrated him, everything about him. We wanted him to feel like he could be open about every part of his life. We wanted him to naturally get to a comfortable place. And he was getting there. He was on his way.
“I lost my son. I lost the most precious gift,” she added. The devastating loss spurred the couple to launch #DoGoodForBlaze — a movement to help protect other kids and teens, and encourage others to “do good” in his honor.
“That’s been the inspiration, is the story and trying to turn this into something that could be magical,” Bernstein’s father told Today, adding: “This is a story of hope for the future that has come from a tragedy that no one would ever wish on their worst enemy.”
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 18, 2018