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Soaring Journey: Memory Balloons Make Way to NE Ohio

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GEAUGA COUNTY, Ohio-- A hunter made an interesting discovery while in the woods Wednesday night, and it’s not what you’d expect.

Michell Durosko said her husband was walking when he found some balloons. Inside each one was a note. After doing a little research, she learned they came from an elementary school in Russiaville, Indiana.

“Considering the weather that we’ve had, and the fact the balloons even make it here, and then to read them was just amazing,” she said.

The students there had released them into the sky recently to pay tribute to their classmate, Mason Hopkins. The seven-year-old lost his battle to brain cancer back in October.

“He was a cute little guy. He had a great personality and loved school. It wasn’t until he came back for first grade that the cancer came back and it really began to take its toll,” said Mason’s former principal, Steve Arthur.

He said he never thought the balloons would travel so far. He said they’ve heard from people in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and even Haberhill, Massachusetts.

“The neat thing about that one, was it landed in a school yard and one of their custodians had just lost his son to brain cancer as well. So it was a big encouragement to that father and that school. And we’ve kind of connected with them and it’s been a neat experience,” he said.

As for Durosko, she said she’s just happy she could share this inspiring story.

“Now he gets to touch all of Northeastern Ohio instead of just our family,” she said.


  • Diana Evans

    I truely wish people wouldn’t release balloons.
    They kill wildlife.
    Plant a tree, start a memory garden, so many safer ways to remember a lost loved one!

    • Meg

      Why is there always one person that has to turn a positive/uplifting story into something negative. One little boy has touched the hearts of many. May his memory live on. Beautiful story!

    • Rebecca

      Diana..have you ever lost a child? I doubt it or you would understand sometimes its the only way to ease other children through the grieving process. messages to heaven. And yes I lost a son and will do what I feel is right for me.

    • lindsay

      i totally agree that balloons should not be released. it is a wonderful story but we dont need to kill animals in the process of helping children grieve.

  • Penny Rose

    Some ppl just cant keep their opinions to themselves…even when they SHOULD.. Very nice story. I really like the fact that 2 families had similiar experience and can now help each heal..

  • Lori Julian

    They say there is one in every crowd…and that honor goes to Diane E. today! Ignore! This is a beautiful story! That balloon made it to Mass.for a reason! ;)

  • Stephanie W.

    This is a beautiful story. My thoughts and prayers go out to both families who lost the children. I’ve beven twice. It’s a very difficult thing to have to go through.
    And for the children at his school to send “messages to heaven” to a friend they lost was just so inspiring. No matter how they chose to do it. The balloons are being found all over and touching other people’s lives. And that is a terrific thing. They should be proud of that.

  • Scott Barnett

    Oh Wow someone is offended or doesn’t like that someone released balloons for a precious child. Really !!!! Someone run out and make a law against the releasing of balloons. Some people just cant see the good in anything cause the good in not within them I would say. Blessings to hurting Family’s. And may the Peace and Comfort of our Creator reside in their hearts, mind and spirit. Indeed.

  • D.

    I agree with Diana. Do you all know how many balloons kill animals every year? So they release a bunch of balloons to memorialize a kid and kill an animal. Nice way to make a memory. I bet the child would feel terrible knowing a deer, goat or dog may have died from a balloon someone released in his name.

    Losing a child has nothing to do with releasing a bunch of balloons.

  • W

    Thank you to those who understand the sentiment behind the balloons. Mason was my little cousin and I these stories are encouraging to his family.

  • Rachel

    I think it’s a beautiful thing for the kids to have done. My daughter has sent balloons to Heaven to her Dad on his birthday and on fathers day and she will continue to do so as long as out makes her feel good. There had always got to be someone to cry about how wrong something is. Everyday we come across things that has the potential to kill us or animals. To who don’t like it, OH WELL!

  • Marian

    I found one these ballons also while walking my dog. It touched me. I looked up in the sky and said a prayer for him and his family.

  • jmerae54

    Didn’t the story start with “a hunter made this discovery”? Doesn’t that mean that these balloons actually probably saved an animal… Just sayin.

  • Kathy

    I take the offended people are vegetarians?? Don’t hurt the animals! Boohoo! Have you ever hit a deer with your car? Ran over a squirrel as it tried to run across the road? Then maybe you shouldn’t drive a car because it kills animals!! You should have the decency to keep the negetive comments to yourself, this is a touching story in memory of a child!! What don’t you get from that? If a balloon is our biggest threat to wildlife in this world then I think we should direct our concern to the bigger threat of cancer that’s killing parents and children! If it helps any to convince you then just know that cancer kills animals also! How much of a threat can a balloon be anyway? I didn’t even see where it says they didn’t cut the ribbon off, so what’s the big deal? Much sympathy to the families that lost children and disregard idiots without hearts that don’t understand this method of healing!! Do what works best for you in the healing process!! God bless your families!!

  • bri

    My friend worked at a daycare with Mason this summer and loved him dearly. Beautiful way to remember him.
    As a side note as an Indiana resident, the town of Russiaville is pronounced Rooshiville — yes, weird I know, but just for the help of the reporters.
    God Bless everyone this holiday season, and bless the family of Mason and the family of the child in Massachusetts.

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