Written by “Lauren’s Mom.”
David Kennedy is the kind of guy you would love to have as a neighbor. As a matter of fact, we became neighbors in 1990 and we’ve been friends ever since. Our children grew up together and we watched them become young adults. We were part of “The Baby Sitting Co-Op in Laguna” that was really more of a family than a group of people who watched each other’s kids.
When my daughter, Lauren McCullough, was diagnosed with cancer in June 2011 right after graduating from Laguna Creek High School, it hit the co-op hard, including David. David’s son, Connor, and Lauren were only six months apart in age. Lauren fought her cancer hard for almost a year and was able to go to college and swim on the Diablo Valley College swim team that spring. Lauren accomplished her goal of swimming an All American time and making it to the State Championship meet in Southern California. Despite her incredible fight to beat cancer, her cancer returned in May 2013.
One of her top bucket list items was to get married. In three weeks, thanks to a lot of help from the babysit co-op, Lauren had the wedding of her dreams. After a nine month battle, cancer took Lauren’s life, just after turning 21 years old. This struck David incredibly hard. He told me about how difficult it was at her Celebration of Life to see the video of Lauren from her wedding, thanking everyone for giving her the perfect wedding and, essentially, saying goodbye. David had to hold it all in and keep it together to witness such a young person who lost her opportunity to live her life. David wanted to help others and prevent the same fate from happening to other kids.
David volunteered to help the Elk Grove St. Baldrick’s Shave Event in 2016. The event was created in 2014, just two months after Lauren’s passing. David felt like he had to contribute so he decided to become one of the shavees. There he was holding Lauren’s smiling photo while his hair was shaved to bring awareness to childhood cancer.
David is a shavee again for the 2017 St. Baldrick’s Elk Grove Brave the Shave event. David feels everyone should give something back if you can. Why is this extraordinary? Because David was diagnosed with pancreatic and liver cancer this past summer.
David wants to bring awareness to childhood cancer because he is going through cancer treatment right now. He feels childhood cancer is tougher than adult cancer. Children haven’t been given the opportunity to live before they are hit with such a devastating disease. He feels that most people don’t know about childhood cancer and they don’t think about it. But he feels strongly that it shouldn’t be happening to these kids.
David is striving to be the highest or one of the highest fund raisers for the Elk Grove St. Baldrick’s event. While most people would want to raise funds to possibly help their own situation, David still wants to help others. David represents what is wonderful about Elk Grove.
The Elk Grove St. Baldrick’s Brave the Shave event will be held at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse on Laguna Blvd. on Thursday, March 16th from 4:00 pm until 8:00 pm. There will be raffle prizes and wonderful volunteers being shaved in order to raise funds for pediatric cancer research. If you stop by the event tables between 11:00 am and 9:00 pm, pick up a flyer and present it to your server at BJ’s.
People still come up to me asking if I’m “Lauren’s mom.” Lauren had an incredible impact on people by sharing her thoughts and not focusing on her own situation. It is an honor to continue her mission of raising awareness of childhood cancer. We will never know what Lauren could have accomplished in her life if it had not been stolen by cancer. Our hope is to raise funding for childhood cancer research so other children can live full lives and contribute their gifts to the world. We celebrate those who are cancer survivors and honor those whose cures had not been discovered yet. Will you help us raise those much needed funds to find those cures?
We hope you see you on Thursday, March 16th at BJs Restaurant and Brewhouse. Together we can make an impact and save lives.
Forever, “Lauren’s mom.”