Lauren was born to parents Kristy and Dan after a traumatic and extended labor which resulted in her being deprived of oxygen for 10 to 15 minutes. Lauren was seizing and blue when she arrived, needing resuscitation to take her first breaths. The trauma Lauren suffered during birth, along with extended oxygen deprivation, caused permanent damage.
Lauren was in the NICU for two weeks, during which time her parents prepared for life caring for a child with cerebral palsy and other complex medical conditions. They grieved the loss of the life they had planned. Then, Lauren came home.
“She never slept. We never slept. Everything was absolutely exhausting,” Kristy recalls of this time. “We would focus on one issue, and before we could figure it out, something new would come along. We were constantly feeling defeated.”
Once it became clear that Lauren’s physical abilities would not improve, Kristy and Dan shifted their focus to her social and emotional growth. “Each year our acceptance grew. Once we got over the realization that she was never going to walk, talk, or eat, we settled into the reality of what life was going to be. We didn’t want the disability to define her. We wanted people to see her as the incredible person and gift that she is.” During those emotional growth years, the family also grew again with the birth of Lauren’s little brother, Tytus.
Kristy’s life would take another turn in 2017 when her husband Dan was diagnosed with colon cancer. A 14 month-long battle ensued, and Dan received aggressive chemo and radiation followed by surgery. But the cancer had spread. In October 2018, Dan passed away.
Kristy was now faced with raising three children, ages 7, 11, and 13, while managing the extensive care needs of Lauren, all on her own. With a strength most of us only wish we had, Kristy waded through her grief yet again and found comfort in a budding new relationship with a man whose story was all too familiar. Norman was a father of four children, who had lost his wife to cancer a few years prior.
As the two households merged, the resilient new family of nine was looking towards the future.
“There are things Lauren simply can’t do, and we wanted to give all the children experiences they deserved, without limiting them. I started doing research for help with Lauren and when I found Crescent Cove I thought, ‘how is it possible that a place like this exists?’”
Lauren has stayed at Crescent Cove many times so that Kristy and Norman can spend quality time with their other children, traveling and making memories with extended family members.
“Crescent Cove has changed our lives,” remarks Kristy. “It has allowed our other children to feel loved and appreciated for who they are and get the individual attention they deserve.”