Four years ago, Kasia Szyszka's life was changed forever when her 3-year-old daughter, Zuzanna Bzdek, was murdered by her estranged husband before he committed suicide.
Robert Bzdek stabbed his daughter on April 4, 2014, before killing himself inside their home in the 2700 block of Meadowdale Lane in Woodridge, police said at the time. Bzdek and Szyszka were in the process of separating.
Two years earlier, Elzbieta Plackowska repeatedly stabbed her 7-year-old son, Justin Plackowska, and 5-year-old Olivia Dworakowski, whom she was babysitting. The Naperville resident was sentenced in December 2017 to natural life in prison.
Tears In Heaven was founded by Szyszka as a result of these tragedies.
The organization aims to provide financial and emotional support to families who have lost a young child to an act of violence by a family member.
"Our families were torn apart by parents taking away lives of our precious children and then committing suicide," Szyszka said on the Tears In Heaven website. "Zuzanna and Justin were amazing, full of life and happiness. Little kids bringing happiness to all of us and living their innocent young lives."
Tears in Heaven strives to carry on the memory of Zuzanna and Justin by helping others in similar situations. To achieve that goal, the organization will host a Halloween party at 7 p.m. Oct. 27 at Bobak’s Signature Events, 6440 Double Eagle Drive, Woodridge.
Tickets are $75 and include dinner and open bar. A DJ will provide musical entertainment at the event, which also will feature a Halloween costume contest, silent auction and raffles. Tickets are $55 for teens and $35 for children.
Proceeds will benefit Tears in Heaven and a Chicago women's shelter. For more information, call 630-696-0851or visit tearsinheaven.org.
The pain associated with the loss of her daughter inspired Szyszka to form Tears In Heaven.
"I know the pain of losing a loved one, especially someone so young," she said on the group's website. "That’s why I want to spread acceptance and help to people that go through something like I did. I want to help those that feel as lost and helpless as I did."