The Embrace of Bracelets

NEW FUNDRAISER

We are excited to announce that a friend of Laurin’s has donated some We Love Laurin fundraising bracelets to benefit the We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust. Lauren Useda Law took the initiative and had these stylish and colorful custom bracelets made especially for Laurin. They are now available at Melba’s Dance School for a suggested donation of $10 each. If you’re interested in a fun and great-looking way to support Laurin and to help spread the word about her ongoing needs, stop by and get your bracelet!

Show your support for Laurin with a stylish and colorful We Love Laurin bracelet.

Show your support for Laurin with a stylish and colorful We Love Laurin bracelet.

LAURIN’S ANGELS

All who have given in some way to Laurin (which includes not only money, but time, resources, self, prayers, etc.) are part of a VITAL team of people. Every one of you is so important to Laurin and her family. I cannot overemphasize this. It is very much a team effort. In an immediate and tangible way, you are Laurin’s Angels.A HUGE thank you to Laurin’s newest angels, who have given gifts to the We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust:

Lisa Heaps-Seguchi
Melva Castillo
HD Foundations, Inc.
Jeanne Blackburn
Lauren Useda Law

Keep an eye on this blog, and “like” Laurin’s Facebook page to get the latest info: www.Facebook.com/welovelaurin.

If YOU have a fundraising idea you’d like to try, please let us know. If you can give towards Laurin’s medical expenses, please make your check payable to “We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust” and mail it to 605 N. McColl Circle, McAllen, TX 78501. You may also drop your gift checks at Melba’s Dance School during business hours. If you’d prefer to give online, please use the “Donate” button below.

#laurinsangels  #welovelaurin

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Laurin’s Camouflaged Angels: Fundraiser at the Hunters Expo

The Texas Hunters & Sportsman’s Expo last weekend in McAllen proved to be a unique and effective fundraiser for the We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust. Wanting to help Laurin, show directors Chris & Justin Curl donated a booth for the entire three days of the event. As if that weren’t enough, they also donated a “tailgate feeder” (I suppose hunters will know what that is for!) for a giveaway. Anybody who donated to Laurin’s fund was given a chance to win it. Congratulations to Vincent on winning the coveted tailgate feeder. Hope it leads to some wonDEERful tailgate parties!

Laurin's booth was run by caring friends.

Laurin’s booth was run by caring friends.

A group of Laurin’s friends, headed up by Lupe Enriquez, manned the booth and took in donations totaling more than $800. They also distributed information about Laurin’s need in order to help raise awareness beyond just the expo attendees. Many thanks to the faithful booth crew: Lupe Enriquez, Estela Bocanegra, Mariano Bocanegra, Alex Gamboa, Mark Villarreal, Omar Trevino, Nancy Devine, Paige Pride Wilmot and Knox Jones (and his guitar).

There was even some live entertainment at Laurin's booth!

There was even some live entertainment at Laurin’s booth!

Alex, Mark and Lupe went to visit Laurin afterward. When she saw them, she “lit up with the most beautiful smile. She SO loves to see her friends, and seeing that great beautiful smile makes me so happy,” said Lupe.

THANK YOU to Adriene Blackburn Coffey (via the Donate button at WeLoveLaurin.org), Paulette L. Moore, David A. Gower, and all the anonymous folks who donated cash at the Hunters Expo booth for your generous support of the We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust, which is directly providing for Laurin’s ongoing medical expenses. You and the others mentioned in this post are all part of a valuable team of people: #LaurinsAngels.

Keep an eye on this blog, and “like” Laurin’s Facebook page to get the latest info: www.Facebook.com/welovelaurin.

If YOU have a fundraising idea you’d like to try, please let us know.

If you can give towards Laurin’s medical expenses, please make your check payable to “We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust” and mail it to 605 N. McColl Circle, McAllen, TX 78501. You may also drop your gift checks at Melba’s Dance School during business hours. If you’d prefer to give online, please use the “Donate” button below.

#laurinsangels  #welovelaurin

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Birthday Celebration and Hunters Expo

BIRTHDAY JOY
Thank you to all who wished Laurin a happy birthday in some way, whether on Facebook or by calling, visiting or making a donation to the We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust. She lights up whenever you mention her birthday. She listened carefully when I tried to explain Facebook to her, and told her how many birthday wishes her loving friends had left for her.

"Happy Birthday, dear Laurin..."

“Happy Birthday, dear Laurin…”

One of her birthday gifts was a flash drive filled with Christian music and Bible teaching she can listen to. Her nurses plug the flash drive into her computer and play these mp3 files via iTunes. Laurin listens with intent focus to the Bible messages. She loves to attend church, but seldom gets the opportunity. The other option was to bring church to her. You can tell by watching her that this meets a deep need.

Laurin listens to a recorded message on her computer.

Laurin listens to a recorded message on her computer.

We also had a little cake in honor of Laurin’s birthday. Laurin isn’t able to eat cake since she now must receive all her nutrition via a feeding tube directly into her stomach. But she still loves the festivity of the cake-and-candles tradition, along with the obligatory singing of “Happy Birthday.” She smiled contentedly while the rest of us gathered around and had cake and ice cream. And then she laughed at us while we struggled to get her birthday present up and running.

Laurin enjoys the festivities as her brother Carey presents her birthday cake and candles.

Laurin enjoys the festivities as her brother Carey presents her birthday cake and candles.

HUNTERS EXPO FUNDRAISER
We are so blessed that Chris Curl has donated a booth for the We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust at the Texas Hunters & Sportsman’s Expo this weekend. It runs July 18-20 at the McAllen Convention Center. If you can, please stop by the booth. One of Laurin’s best buddies, Lupe Enriquez, is running the booth for us. He and/or some other friends of Laurin’s will be there to greet you. Help us spread the word if you can!

LAURIN’S ANGELS
A HUGE thank you to Laurin’s newest angels, who have given gifts to the We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust:

Jennifer Clearman
Pink Chalet Boutique
Ofelia Parker
Diana Albrecht
Joel D. Galindo, C.P.A.

Keep an eye on this blog, and “like” Laurin’s Facebook page to get the latest info: www.Facebook.com/welovelaurin.

If YOU have a fundraising idea you’d like to try, please let us know.

If you can give towards Laurin’s medical expenses, please make your check payable to “We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust” and mail it to 605 N. McColl Circle, McAllen, TX 78501. You may also drop your gift checks at Melba’s Dance School during business hours. If you’d prefer to give online, please use the “Donate” button below.

#laurinsangels  #welovelaurin

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Enjoying Life When Your Body Is a Prison

I thought I’d take a moment to share a little about how Laurin enjoys life in her post-accident reality. Yes, I said “enjoys.” I know most people have a hard time imagining how someone with “locked-in syndrome” could possibly have a positive life experience.

TOUGH SITUATION
I know it’s easy to think of all the negatives about Laurin’s situation. She can’t move (except her head and eyes), speak, drink or eat. She is stuck in the same room most of the time. If her nose itches, wouldn’t that be enough to drive her crazy? She can’t even let someone know she’d prefer a different TV channel. I used to tease her about watching too many soap operas (she would laugh so hard over this!), hoping the nurses would overhear and think about giving her something more substantial to watch.

SILVER LINING
On the positive side, I think Laurin’s situation has made her the most patient person in the world. Every little event in her daily routine must be something she looks forward to with eager anticipation. Each nursing shift change; bath time; TV time; seeing her grandmother wake up in the bed across the room; watching the yard work being done outside her window. When it gets quiet, I’m sure she watches the birds and squirrels out her window, looks at her photos and memorabilia and takes long naps. Her favorite times are when she’s surrounded by people, especially old friends. This is when she lights up and smiles the most. She appreciates a funny line and will laugh big. She loves to look at pictures, so she’s a willing, captive audience for all our vacation photos.

Laurin enjoys her brother's vacation photos.

Laurin enjoys her brother’s vacation photos.

If she gets to go out, even just to the doctor, that is a great day! The trip to see the “Annie” performance was huge for her. Once near Christmas, we bundled her up and took her out in her wheelchair to look at the Hidalgo light display. She had the BEST time!

Laurin accompanied brother Carey and sister-in-law Lisa to see the Christmas light display in Hidalgo. Check out her facial expressions!

Laurin accompanied brother Carey and sister-in-law Lisa to see the Christmas light display in Hidalgo. Check out her facial expression!

Carey_Laurin_toysoldier_Christmas2006-w

VISITING LAURIN
Any of her friends who might want to visit her, but feel intimidated by her condition, please try to put that aside. It does take a little getting-used-to when you have to carry on a one-sided conversation, but she certainly enjoys it. Just think of a few stories to share with her, maybe some pictures to show her. You could even read to her. Just give Melba a call before you stop by if you want to make sure Laurin is ready to receive visitors (i.e., not asleep or in the bath).

FINAL THOUGHTS
Here’s the biggest reason I think Laurin still enjoys life. Since she trusted the Lord as her Savior in childhood (well before her accident), we know she is a Christian and are quite sure she prays. That must a fulfilling way for her to spend her time. It is also probably a great relief to communicate to Someone who understands her completely. She gets emotional and tears up during worship music or when we talk to her about God and heaven or read scripture. Anything about the Lord obviously strikes a deep chord in her. This undoubtedly has made the biggest difference for her. Her body may be “locked-in,” but her spirit is free as a bird!

Keep an eye on this blog, and “like” Laurin’s Facebook page to get the latest info: www.Facebook.com/welovelaurin.

If YOU have a fundraising idea you’d like to try, please let us know.

If you can give towards Laurin’s medical expenses, please make your check payable to “We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust” and mail it to 605 N. McColl Circle, McAllen, TX 78501. You may also drop your gift checks at Melba’s Dance School during business hours. If you’d prefer to give online, please use the “Donate” button below.

#laurinsangels  #welovelaurin

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Laurin’s Condition: What Is Locked-In Syndrome?

I realize that many of Laurin’s friends and supporters may be unclear about what her current condition actually is. Just so you know, she is not in a coma. She is not in a vegetative state. Neither is she brain-dead. Her condition is most closely related to “locked-in syndrome.” She is conscious, self-aware and has intellect. She is able to respond on a limited level.

Laurin Lupe GJ w

Locked-in syndrome is usually a result of a stroke, but can be caused by trauma to the head. It occurs when there is damage to the lower brain/brainstem. In the most severe cases, the patient appears to be in a coma and can only move their eyes a little. They still have all their senses, but cannot move or talk. We know this, because, though extremely rare, there have been a few cases of a patient recovering from locked-in syndrome. Those patients were a valuable source of information about what it’s like for someone with locked-in syndrome.

Laurin is a little bit less severe than the worst cases since she can move her head a bit and can make slight vocal sounds. She has a complete range of facial expressions, so you can definitely tell how she’s responding to various stimuli around her. She may laugh at your jokes or get teary-eyed when you sing her a meaningful song. She is simply trapped inside a body that won’t do what she wants it to.

Laurin's nurses use a power lift to move her from bed to bath or wheelchair.

Laurin’s nurses use a power lift to move her from bed to bath or wheelchair.

Being unable to communicate with others is quite possibly the most frustrating aspect of Laurin’s condition. One way you can help is to establish the “one blink for no and two blinks for yes” code. Then ask her yes/no questions and watch her eye blinks. This is one way we know Laurin is still “in there” and able to think!

Another way we have to communicate with Laurin is the eye-gaze computer. It follows her eye movements and she can learn to control the computer with just her eyes. I will write more about the computer in another post sometime soon. So far Laurin has only had limited opportunities to learn and practice on this computer. She seems to be pretty excited about it, though!

Laurin checks out her eye-gaze computer. Gotta love technology!

Laurin checks out her eye-gaze computer. Gotta love technology!

Keep an eye on this blog, and “like” Laurin’s Facebook page to get the latest info: www.Facebook.com/welovelaurin.

If YOU have a fundraising idea you’d like to try, please let us know.

If you can give towards Laurin’s medical expenses, please make your check payable to “We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust” and mail it to 605 N. McColl Circle, McAllen, TX 78501. You may also drop your gift checks at Melba’s Dance School during business hours. If you’d prefer to give online, please use the “Donate” button below.

 

#laurinsangels  #welovelaurin

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Trust Update: Trunk Show and Other Donations

We are so grateful to Monica Martinez and Lori Nisimblat for all their work on the Stella and Dot Charity Trunk Show to benefit the We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust. This was truly a unique and oh-so-fashionable way to help Laurin with her ongoing medical expenses. Thank you to all who placed orders!

Shop for a cause... help the We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust!

If you missed out on this event, please be sure to “like” Laurin’s Facebook page: www.Facebook.com/welovelaurin. We may be doing an encore event later this summer. Stay tuned!

We also wish to thank the following supporters, who either wrote checks to the We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust, or gave online via PayPal (see “Donate” button below).

Susan Lawler
Mary Chapin
Victoria Bennett
Jack & Bobbie Buck
Nancy Weiss
Georgeanna Jones
Jo Rowan
Pamela Economides
Robert Davis
Jill Garza
Hildegardo G. Costa
Daisy A. Arce
Helena Solis
Margaret Leal
Karen Aguirre

Some of these folks are friends who now live hundreds of miles away. It is so special and touching to us how y’all have rallied around to help Laurin. What a blessing to know that friendship is not diminished by distance!

Be sure to keep an eye out for future fundraisers. There are some exciting plans in the works! Keep an eye on this blog, and “like” Laurin’s Facebook page to get the latest info: www.Facebook.com/welovelaurin.

If YOU have a fundraising idea you’d like to try, please let us know.

If you can give towards Laurin’s medical expenses, please make your check payable to “We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust” and mail it to 605 N. McColl Circle, McAllen, TX 78501. You may also drop your gift checks at Melba’s Dance School during business hours. If you’d prefer to give online, please use the “Donate” button below.

 

#laurinsangels  #welovelaurin

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Little Girls Raise Money at Birthday Party to Help Laurin

As you might remember from a previous post here, the cast of “Annie” got to meet Laurin when she attended the closing night performance. The musical was not only delightful, but also successful at raising some money to help Laurin with her medical expenses. We are so thankful to All Star Theatre and their outstanding work with Melba’s Dance School to make it all possible.

One of the smallest “Annie” cast members (8-year-old Gabi Ramirez, who played the role of Molly) was apparently quite moved by Laurin’s situation. Once “Annie” was finished and she and her parents could finally plan her long-postponed birthday party, they decided to ask the guests to bring donations for the We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust. Gabi might be small, but her heart is big. What an inspiring message for kids: you don’t have to wait until you’re a grown-up to do important things!

Gabi Ramirez at her Birthday Fundraiser for Laurin

Gabi kicks off her 8th birthday celebration with some of her buddies from “Annie”: Carlos Perez (program designer), Ricky Flores (played the role of Drake) and Joel Garza (director). The “Annie” production and Gabi’s birthday party both raised money to help Laurin with her medical expenses.

Gabi’s mother, Laura Ramirez, said some of the other “Annie” orphans attended the birthday party as well: Julia Martinez, Olivia Fuentes and Helena Solis. Besides donations for Laurin, Gabi also received many books for her school library as birthday gifts. She is quite an accomplished reader at a young age, and this was another way she wanted to make a difference for others. She did receive at least one gift for herself: a much-hoped-for new pair of tap shoes. We know she will put those to good use!

Do you (or your kids!) have any fundraising ideas for the We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust? We’d love to hear about them. Please contact us!

We are SO grateful to each and every person who donates, shares, gives encouragement or prays for Laurin. It is ALL so very important! #LaurinsAngels

If you haven’t already, be sure to “like” the We Love Laurin page at www.Facebook.com/welovelaurin. This is another way you can help: by getting the word out. Whenever you think of it, please “share” her blog and Facebook posts so we can get more people aware of Laurin’s ongoing financial needs.

If you can give towards Laurin’s medical expenses, please make your check payable to “We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust” and mail it to 605 N. McColl Circle, McAllen, TX 78501. You may also drop your gift checks at Melba’s Dance School during business hours. If you’d prefer to give online, please use the “Donate” button below.

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Laurin in the Valley Town Crier and the Edinburg Review

Laurin is quite the local celebrity lately! Her appearance at the “Annie” fundraiser has been covered in two more local newspapers:

Valley Town Crier -- May 28, 2014

The Annie fundraiser for the We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust proved newsworthy!

Edinburg Review -- May 28, 2014

Be sure to let us know if you’re planning a We Love Laurin fundraiser. We’ll try to get your event in the newspaper, too!

Also, a huge THANK YOU to the latest supporters to make donations to the We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust:

Karen Aguirre, Mark Alvarez, Kurt & Gloria Bauernfeind, Ann Beardsley, Ronnye Cowell, David & Nicole Everest, Lisa Hettler, Carrie Hill, Anna Lisa Jenkins, The Judin Children, Victoria Martinez, Sylvia McCormack, Kim Mehis, Mark Piland, Sylvania (Bunny) Reyna, Maureen Sheeran, Daniele Shimonauff, Socorro Trevino, Dina Wilson

We are SO grateful to each and every person who donates, shares, gives encouragement or prays for Laurin. It is ALL so very important! #LaurinsAngels

If you haven’t already, be sure to “like” the We Love Laurin page at www.Facebook.com/welovelaurin. Whenever you think of it, please “share” her blog and Facebook posts so we can get more people aware of Laurin’s ongoing financial needs.

If you can give towards Laurin’s medical expenses, please make your check payable to “We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust” and mail it to 605 N. McColl Circle, McAllen, TX 78501. You may also drop your gift checks at Melba’s Dance School during business hours. If you’d prefer to give online, please use the “Donate” button below.

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Shout Out to Laurin from the Beach

#LaurinsAngels

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Monitor: Laurin Huber in the Spotlight at Closing Performance of “Annie”

Just thought you might want to see this great article in today’s Monitor:

Check out this wonderful article in today's Monitor about Laurin's experience at "Annie."

Check out this wonderful article in today’s Monitor about Laurin’s experience at “Annie.

#LaurinsAngels

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