BBQ Benefit Blowout

On Saturday, May 21, Edna De Saro headed up a herd of happy helping hands to heap hearty helpings of hash. OK, well it wasn’t exactly hash – I just got carried away with the h-words. The food dished out was actually good-old, down-home barbecue eats: chicken, potato salad, rice, beans and bread. It was all done to benefit the We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust. An $8 ticket bought a generously-filled, to-go box, served up in the parking lot of Melba’s Dance School at lunch time.

The team gets ready for action.

   The team gets ready for action.

Barbecue -- YUM!!

Barbecue — YUM!!

 

At your service!

At your service!

 

Some of Laurin’s best angels teamed up and sold hundreds of tickets for this delicious event. Special thanks to Lupe Enriquez and G.J. Reyna, who often put great effort into raising funds on Laurin’s behalf and gathering her friends to visit her. The money raised at the BBQ will be used to help with the expenses of Laurin’s ongoing medical care.

Best Buddies

Best Buddies

 

 

***************

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” (this is for gift checks outside of the ad program described under Laurin’s Angels; ad program checks should be payable to “Melba’s”) 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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Benefit Christmas Concert for Laurin

Date: December 21, 2014
Time: Two Shows: 4pm and 7pm
Event: “CHRISTMAS LOOKING BACK” with Brett Marshall and Chapel Friends
Where: Chapel By The Sea, SPI
Tickets: $8.00 (proceeds go to the We Love Laurin Special Needs Trust)
More info: 612-309-2651

Get ready for another fun way to help Laurin! Laurin’s sister-in-law Lisa Kinsolving and some friends at South Padre Island have been doing an annual Christmas concert for several years now. When these friends heard about Laurin’s situation and her great need for financial help, they immediately suggested that the next concert be a benefit for Laurin. What a wonderful Christmas gift!

The concert takes us back to the 1940s during World War II, with some fun renditions of Christmas favorites that sound like they came right out of grandpa’s old radio. “The edgy harmonies of the big-band era are exciting and fun to sing,” said Lisa. “You don’t hear it much anymore, so we’re looking forward to bringing it back for this special event.”

The core group of vocalists for this event, from left: Brett Marshall, Carolyn Porter, Dale Ziegler, Lisa Kinsolving, Ron Fuqua and Paul Cardile

The core group of vocalists for this event, from left: Brett Marshall, Carolyn Porter, Dale Ziegler, Lisa Kinsolving, Ron Fuqua and Paul Cardile

Brett Marshall is the pianist, baritone vocalist and musical director of the show. An extraordinarily talented musician with several recording projects under his belt as well as a full-time music career, Brett’s musical leadership and people skills draw out the best in all the performers. Brett was quite moved when he first heard Laurin’s story and was eager to have the concert become a benefit for her.

Carolyn Porter, soprano, organizes the concert each year and oversees graphics and publicity. She delivers some lovely solos and brings a fun-loving energy to the show. “I’ve loved participating in the Christmas programs in past years,” she said, “but this year’s show will be so different and fun, and it’s heartwarming to help Laurin.”

Lisa Kinsolving, mezzo soprano, wrote the script and selected most of the songs for the concert. She will also be introducing a new, original Christmas song she wrote herself. “God really surprised me with that one,” she said. “I can’t wait for Laurin to hear it!”

Ron Fuqua, tenor, is known by regular attendees of the concert for his stirring rendition of O Holy Night, which he will reprise again this year. Ron loves the idea that his singing will be raising money for someone in need. “It feels so very good to help someone at this time of the year,” said Ron.

Paul Cardile, tenor, is always an uplifting, energetic presence when he sings. Performing in the Christmas concert “just makes me realize how much music means to me. It has been a gift from God that at times I took for granted, but always cherished,” said Paul. Finding out about Laurin’s connection with Gregory Hines brought back memories for him. In his early days of show business, Paul remembers auditioning and performing alongside Gregory and Maurice Hines!

Dale Ziegler rounds out the core group of vocalists with his fluid baritone voice. Get out the tissues when he sings I’ll Be Home For Christmas. Dale also directs the choir at Fishers of Men Lutheran Church in Port Isabel. It’s always great to have an expert in the show!

There will also be one or more guest appearances in the Christmas concert.

We hope to see you there! Be sure to get your tickets in advance. The venue is small enough that it could easily sell out. Ticket info is at the top of this post.

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

There are two performances, both on December 21: 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

There are two performances, both on December 21: 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

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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What If You Couldn’t __________?

I’ve observed that people tend to define themselves by what they do. If you ask them to tell you about themselves, they usually start with what they do. “I’m a teacher.” “I’m a writer.” Or, “I’m retired, but I travel, quilt and do volunteer work.”

Yet some seem to believe it would be a great life if they didn’t have to do anything but lie around watching TV or sipping a margarita on the beach or reading a book poolside. Even watching, sipping and reading are abilities that can be taken for granted. However, most wouldn’t be happy for long without a greater sense of purpose.

Laurin still remembers her friends from high school.

Laurin still remembers her friends from high school. That’s Laurin at the upper right.

THE POLL

Being Laurin’s sister-in-law, I think a lot about disabilities. Laurin has lost MOST of her abilities. There is literally almost nothing she can do for herself. I pondered the question “What if you couldn’t _______?” Then I asked my friends on Facebook to comment on what activity they would most miss doing if they were to become disabled. Because I didn’t want everyone to give the same answer, I added the condition “other than sex.” Haha! (This didn’t stop Michael in California, who insisted there was NO other activity he’d miss!) Notably, NOBODY said they’d most miss working! However, many of their answers were linked to a sense of purpose or expression in life. Rick in Texas said, “My art and craft work is much of my motivation to get up each day.” Kathie in California said she would feel the most deprived without “playing the piano and the organ as well as singing.” Two of my friends, Deidren and Nancy, both mentioned sewing/quilting. My grandmother, a life-long seamstress, used to say, “The day I quit sewing is the day I die.”

Other answers revolved around independence. Hannah in North Carolina said she would hate to lose the ability to clean herself. Jessie in Alaska said her biggest fear would be losing the ability to “be self-sufficient and take care of my kids myself.” Sharon in California, who has suffered from a disability since 2006, says she most misses driving, which had been a key to her independence. “I would not want to be a burden to my kids,” said Lori in California. “It would be a humiliating and helpless feeling to not be able to do basic hygiene by myself.”

Laurin-lift

A nurse uses a power lift to move Laurin.

BLIND VS. DEAF

There was some discussion of whether eyesight or hearing would be the most difficult ability to lose. I think only one friend, Erika in California, feared deafness more than blindness, because she is a musician. Many others were more averse to blindness, especially those involved in visual arts. People perceive blindness as a greater loss of independence than deafness. One artist friend, Lori in California, said, “Being blind would be worse than being a paraplegic in a wheelchair to me.” Cheryl in Alaska was also concerned that blindness makes one more vulnerable to crime because many blind people “get ripped off” by dishonest people who are supposed to help them. Deb in Pennsylvania added, “I would miss reading. I’d have to learn Braille, but I am afraid the selection of reading material would be so small. Also, I am a visual learner. I don’t seem to retain anything I hear, so I would have real problems being blind.”

THE SIMPLE THINGS

Some of my friends would most miss basic, everyday activities. Sara in Texas said she would simply miss eating, and would definitely “regret anything that would hinder my ability to gorge.” I appreciate her choice of words! Mary in California watched her sister lose her ability to eat and breathe without a feeding tube and a trach. “It was heartbreaking, but she remained brave and kept her hope and trust in God. She never wanted to lose the ability to use her arms. She wanted to be able to hug her grandchildren. God granted that.” Quite a number said they would miss playing with their kids or walking their dogs.

Mona in California remembers caring for a patient who’d lost both his arms. He couldn’t scratch an itch, blow his nose, use the restroom, eat or pull up his blankets in bed without help. Troy in Florida has found a new appreciation for just being able to use his hands. He said, “I recently broke my index finger on my right hand. Amazing the things you can’t do missing one finger.” It’s so good to be reminded of the little things most take for granted.

On that note, a couple of the things I’d most miss doing were not even mentioned by the friends who answered my question: laughing and remembering. I’m sure there are some people who can no longer do these, as simple as they seem. Imagine life with no sense of humor or heart-warming memories! These are two things at which Laurin excels. They are also things which are helpful in developing and maintaining relationships with other people. Friends she knew in high school visit her, and you can tell she recognizes them instantly. When they start telling funny stories from school or joking around, her whole face lights up in this huge smile and her upper body convulses in sometimes-audible laughter. This must be one of the ways Laurin keeps a good attitude in spite of her utter dependence on others to do everything for her physically.

Selfie: Laurin & Lisa

Selfie: Laurin & Lisa

INSIDER VIEW

I deliberately saved Sarah in Texas for last. She has a special perspective on this issue, as she was in a life-altering accident in her teens. Like Laurin she was brain-injured, but unlike Laurin she can talk about it. Sarah has lived with the effects of her brain injury for 15 years. She took the time to share with me how she has dealt with her disabilities.

One permanent effect has been a loss of equilibrium that keeps her from driving or dancing, both of which she misses greatly. Sarah also has a difficult time finding a job that fits her limitations. “I lost my independence,” she said. “That has been the hardest.”

She also has a hard time with the thought that her condition seems to prevent any chance of her finding love and getting married. She had mixed feelings whenever attending someone else’s wedding. She would put on a happy face at the event, but then cry on the way home. She still grieves over what has been lost from her life.

How does she get through it? “I had to start looking outside of myself to find out about other people and what they were going through,” said Sarah. “I learned not to talk about myself so much, but ask other people about their days.” Aha! Get your mind off of yourself and think about others! Now we’re getting somewhere. Most of my friends didn’t seem to know how to answer the part of my question where I asked how they thought they would deal with a disability. Perhaps it’s one of those things you don’t know until you’ve been there, or until you’ve spent time around someone who has.

Maybe one of these days I’ll even find out more about how Laurin deals with it. She can still see and hear, laugh and remember, but she can’t use her hands, talk, clean herself, drive, dance, eat, drink, sew, play with kids or walk a dog. But she can pray. And I have a strong feeling that is the biggest key to how she deals with it. When she can’t communicate with anybody else, she can talk to God, who hears her heart. If only we were all living that close to God.

YOUR TURN

What would your answer be? What activity would you miss the most if you were to become disabled? How would you deal with being disabled? Join the discussion and leave a comment via the red link below the title of this article, where it says “Leave a Comment.” Join the discussion!

LAURIN’S ANGELS

The latest to join the Laurin’s Angels crew are the two gentlemen below who contributed to help Laurin with her ongoing medical expenses:

Gary Alaniz
Bud Wand

Thank you so much to all who are pitching in to help Laurin continue to have the excellent, constant medical care that she needs. You are all a vital lifeline for Laurin.

 

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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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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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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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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