Lauren Amdal and Sheral Wilson
Sometimes friends and neighbors are the light during a dark time. The Amdal family of Lehi, Utah found that out when 12-year-old Lauren Amdal's illness—lymphomatoid granulomatosis, a form of lymphoma—came back 3 years ago. For the family of seven, many changes were on the horizon.
Mom Vicky knew she'd be spending her time at the hospital with Lauren, so her husband, Larry, and their four other children would have to fend for themselves. Or so she thought.
But Sheral Wilson, a close family friend, came to the rescue. "When Vicky told me Lauren's disease was active again, I knew Vicky would be away from home for long periods of time and that the family could use some help," she says.
Sheral got to work cooking up a storm and spreading the word that the Amdals could use some home-cooked meals. Getting others to pitch in wasn't difficult.
"Vicky has a great support network of friends from church, school and scrapbooking. I just sent out e-mails and watched the freezer fill," Sheral says.
Imagine Vicky's surprise when Sheral and other neighbors showed up at her door hauling coolers filled with more than 20 frozen meals.
"It was such a relief during the many days Lauren and I spent in the hospital to know my family was eating delicious homemade meals," says Vicky. "I really believe that people come into our lives for a reason. All the people who cooked for us hold a special place in our hearts."
Sheral Wilson's daughters made their own show of support for Lauren. Gentry, then 13, and Bailey, then 7, shaved their heads after Lauren lost her hair during chemotherapy.
"They were concerned about her feelings of being the only little girl with no hair," Sheral recalls. "They wanted to make it a happy memory. I'm so proud of them."
Although Lauren is doing pretty well, her disease may be progressing, says Vicky. The Amdals are grateful for the community support ... and hoping to "pay it forward."
"A friend of ours also had a child going through chemotherapy, so we made them some frozen meals," Vicky says. "And I want to do more because it was so helpful to us. The last thing a family with a child going through long hospitalizations should have to worry about is whether or not their family has something nutritious to eat."
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