It never occurred to the parents of Dajanique Brown-Rogers to get life insurance for their teenage daughter. Daja, as her family called her, was a healthy, bubby, 14-year-old freshman at Cheltenham H.S. who played soccer, idolized pop star Justin Bieber and watched Spanish soap operas.
“She was doing good. She was on the soccer team. She was making friends,” said Eanah Brown a doctoral candidate in psychology. “She was finding her place.”
The last time she saw her daughter alive was early the morning of Oct. 17. Daja had come into Brown’s bedroom where she was sleeping and asked to borrow her mother’s eyeliner.
“I was half asleep. I said ok,” Brown said. “I said, 'Go ahead.' I had been teaching her how to put makeup on.”
“She used it, gave it back and I told her to have a good day.”
In the kitchen, Daja chatted with her stepfather, Gregory Whaley, wrapped a bagel in aluminum foil and headed out of the door shortly before 7 a.m. Dajanique was attempting to cross New Second Street near Clarion to get to her school bus stop a few blocks away when she was struck by a car that sent her into the path of another vehicle.
“I actually happened to be pulling up at the same time as well,” her stepfather Gregory Whaley recalled. “When I arrived on the scene, there was a lady pushing on her chest trying to revive her. I gave her mouth to mouth.”
Medical technicians quickly arrived and tried to save her.
It was too late, though.
Saying her family members are stunned is an understatement. And in the midst of their grief, they’re now in the position of having to raise money to bury the little girl with the infectious smile.
“As parents, we did not anticipate having to bury our child and therefore are unprepared to deal with all the matters involved,” they said on a web page set up to help with their fundraising effort. “Daja did not have life insurance which means the funeral costs will be an out-of-pocket expense. Many have asked how they may be of help and lieu of flowers and food we ask for monetary contributions which may have the most impact.“
Her viewing is from 8 a.m. until 11 a.m. Saturday at Norton Avenue First Bapist Church in Bristol, Pa. The funeral starts at 11 a.m.