Family Raises Thousands of Dollars for Charity in Infant Daughter's Memory
The Graham family has raised over $25,000 this year for Alaskans with disabilities in memory of young Lauren Marie who passed away from a rare disease.
For 42 years now, the Walk and Roll for Hope has raised money for Alaskans with disabilities to have a full and meaningful life.
A tradition one mother whose daughter Lauren Marie Graham passed away of a rare disease, is taking to another level to make sure her memory continues to help others.
Lauren was born in July 2008 with Bohring-Opitz, a rare syndrome that made her blind, deaf, and missing part of her brain.
A disease doctors said she would die from.
“She arrives and she was not healthy,” said Dana Graham, Lauren’s mother. “They basically said Lauren probably won't survive, take her home and love her.”
And love her they did in trying to ease her pain.
“Her life was very difficult for her and not being able to do simple things like eat,” said Dana. “Lauren never rolled over, she never sat up, she never reciprocated, she never interacted with any of us.”
Overwhelmed, they went to the organization Hope Community Resources for help. The organization provided assistance to the family and to Lauren until her death in March 2010.
“Lauren never knew a day on earth without love,” said Dana.
Dana wanted to make sure her love would be spread to others.
A mission that the entire family is taking part in by supporting the Walk and Roll for Hope so Alaskans with disabilities can be supported like Lauren.
“My daughter's legacy is helping other Alaskans,” said Dana.
“I don't want to be doing this but I need to…I need to heal and I think this helps me heal helping others in her name and her memory.”
“I miss her,” said Garrett Graham, Lauren’s now five-year-old brother. “I loved her and she was just good.”
The Grahams have helped raised more than $37,000 over the past two years.
All for the love of Lauren and it transformed into good for the community.
“All the time Dana, Todd, and Garrett, the Graham family has given us is a priceless inspirational thing,” said Stephen Lesko, the executive director of Hope Community Resources. “If we all did that, I can't even imagine what Alaska would be like.”
With over $25,000 raised this year, Dana and her family are still pushing on.
It's what she calls paying it forward to get more people helping Alaskans with disabilities.
With over 1,000 Facebook friends on her daughter Lauren's page, the message is being heard loud and clear.