Some of Dan Gould’s best memories of his daughter are captured in photos: Kristen running in the backyard, Kristen playing in her little pool, Kristen rolling and tumbling on the living room floor. Looking back, he knows that physical activity helped her have a very enjoyable life, albeit much too short. Sadly, Dan and his wife Deb lost their daughter at just 21 months of age from a rare metabolic genetic disorder. Losing their first child left an empty hole in their hearts.
Since then, the Goulds have led careers focused on improving the lives of others. They created the FOD (Fatty Oxidation Disorders) Family Support Group for families around the world dealing with disorders like the one Kristen died from and their son, Kevin, also has. Deb not only runs the FOD nonprofit but also became a pro bono grief counselor.
For Dan, now a professor of kinesiology at the College of Education, reflecting on Kristen’s death helped secure his purpose in life: performing research and outreach to maximize the benefits of sport and physical activity, especially for children. He is also director of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports (ISYS) at MSU.
In 2013, Dan and Deb created a lasting effort to meet that goal—and honor the memory of their daughter. The Kristen Marie Gould Endowed Lecture on Sport for Children and Youth provides funding each year to bring to campus a speaker who is making a substantial contribution in the field.
The first lecture, held Sept. 6, 2013, featured social work professor Dawn Anderson-Butcher of Ohio State University. Anderson-Butcher is an expert on creating positive youth development and she shared information about OSU’s LiFE Sports program, a national model for community outreach through sport.
Through their generous gift, the Goulds have established a permanent avenue for disseminating the best sport science and professional practice information to MSU students, faculty and those in the community.
After the inaugural lecture, Dan said: “Deb and I hope that this lecture provides members of the MSU community and especially our students with knowledge that will better equip them to provide highly beneficial sport and physical activity experiences for children and youth. Our initial speaker Dr. Anderson-Butcher certainly did that.”