Girl succumbs to rare illness, but leaves behind life-lesson
WATCH ABOVE: Lauren Loughheed’s family gathered to say good-bye to the 4-year-old. She suffered from a rare disease. Global’s Billy Shields has more.
BEACONSFIELD – Lauren Loughheed died before her fifth birthday.
But her family said her legacy of making the most out of life will continue.
“You were the happiest baby,” her mother, Amanda Zarifah said Saturday at the girl’s funeral at St. Edmund’s of Canterbury.
“Everyone you met fell in love with your smile.”
Loughheed died last week from a rare degenerative illness known as Krabbe Leukodystrophy, or Krabbe disease.
There is no cure.
“It was very difficult to look at her and see what was happening to her, knowing there is no cure,” said David Kiyingi, pastor at St. Edmund’s.
Lauren’s family ended up being contacted by a California couple who started a charitable foundation for those with the disorder.
The family lost their own young son, Judson Levasheff, to Krabbe disease, in 2007.
“You’re desire is to take care of your child,” said Christina Levasheff.
“When you get that terminal diagnosis, there’s just nothing else you know how to do than to love them well.”
That’s what Lauren’s family decided to do.
They took her travelling to places like the Grand Canyon, the beach and Disney World.
“She enjoyed enjoyed travelling,” said Marlena Loughheed, the girl’s aunt.
“Her life really taught us how to step out and enjoy the small things.”
The family has set up a website for Lauren that hopes to raise money and awareness about the disease.
For her relatives, she will be dearly missed.
“She was a child who taught us a lot about how to enjoy life,” Marlena Loughheed said.
Loughheed said one of her niece’s last acts was listening to the heartbeat of her unborn sister.
Her mother, Amanda Zarifah, is expecting in July.
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