Star Spotlight: The Opperman Family
Written by Madison Melancon
Written by Madison Melancon
Family is a special and important aspect of anyone’s life. Family is people who love you unconditionally and always want to see the best for you. Unfortunately, sometimes family members are taken away from us far too soon; so suddenly it is almost as if you don’t know what happened.
Macie Opperman was a bright, lively 3-year-old with two loving parents, an older sister she adored, and a younger brother who could always put a smile on her face. One day in 2018 while at pre-school she was playing on a newer piece of playground equipment that was not anchored to the ground properly and it fell over onto Macie while playing on it. This is a tragedy that the Opperman family lives with each day.
Macie may have only been 3 years old, but she created a lasting memory in the many lives she touched. Since 2018, the Opperman family and their friends have come together to create the Macie Grace Foundation, an organization that is driven to Make Every Day a Safe Day. The foundation focuses on “increasing awareness about playground safety, necessary to create and maintain a happy, fun, and safe outdoor environment in an effort to prevent injury or death.” Since it was founded, the Macie Grace Foundation has helped donate to many playgrounds across the country as well as donated a large sum to an elementary school building an inclusive playground for all children.
The Opperman family makes sure to remember Macie each day. “We always speak Macie’s name. It’s one of our things,” says Leanne, mom of Ainsley, Macie, and Jameson. Part of the Macie Grace Foundation is Hearts for Macie. Hearts for Macie is how the Opperman family ensures that even though Macie is no longer physically here, she is able to meet new people and see the world. When you participate you receive three purple hearts - one for yourself, one to give to someone you know, and one to leave behind so that Macie can see the world. Check out to see all where Macie has been and how to receive your three hearts for Macie.
Leanne notes that the grief of losing Macie has changed over the last 4 years, especially for the kids. “Their innocence of ‘nothing bad can happen’, was taken away from them.”
“My heart truly breaks for anyone who has to experience such a loss of a loved one. But the one thing I always tell people is…there is nothing you can ever say to make things worse, the one thing that person wants…is something they can’t have. So, speaking their name and sharing stories of their loved ones…speaks volumes! My biggest fear, is Macie being forgotten,” says Leanne.
When we asked Ainsley how she remembers her sister, she said that she remembers Macie wearing pigtails as one of her favorite hairstyles. “Sometimes I wear them when I am missing her a lot,” said Ainsley. Another way Ainsley felt close to her sister recently was at the Destira photoshoot modeling the Limitless leotard. This leotard held extra meaning to her as it is purple - Macie's favorite color.
As a family, the Oppermans remember Macie each day by speaking her name, wearing purple, and saying Macie’s favorite saying when taking a picture - “Popsicle Pickle”!
We are honored to be able to share Macie’s story with the Destira community. We promise to keep speaking Macie’s name with the Opperman family and always to remember to make every day a safe day.