The Tecumseh High School Key Club hosted a parking lot party to raise funds for Coping with Laryngomalacia on Friday, July 13. The organization supports families of infants diagnosed with airway disorders. Over 200 attendees enjoyed a DJ, vendors, photo booth, face painting and many more activities. More than $1400 was raised at the event, with donations still being collected.
Lydia Lopez, THS Key Club President said the group made the decision to support Coping with Laryngomalacia after meeting Lucas Light, the grandson of Key Club advisor, Connie Purkey. Lucas was diagnosed with laryngomalacia, bronchomalacia and tracheomalacia shortly after birth.
“We learned that malacias are more common than people realize and that babies diagnosed with these conditions face many health problems,” Lopez said. “This organization does a lot to support parents going through a scary time with their child.”
Laryngomalacia, bronchomalacia and tracheomalacia are caused by the softening of the tissues of the larynx (voice box), bronchi of the lungs and trachea (windpipe), respectively. The disorders can cause difficulty breathing and feeding and reduce quality of life in infants. The disease usually resolves when the child reaches 12 to 18 months of age.
Lucas, now two years old attended the event with his parents and older siblings and enjoyed meeting those who came out for an evening of fun in his honor.
"It's heartwarming that the Key Club chose to raise awareness of these health conditions and to support Coping with Laryngomalacia. The organization provides care packages and much-needed emotional and educational support to families who are dealing with sick babies," said Christine Purkey, Lucas' mother. "We've met two other families with children with malacias just since the announcement of the event. It's great to connect others who are going through what we are. Lucas was a very severe case, and he's doing well now. It gives them hope to see where he is today."
The Key Club was awarded a $1,500 grant from Nickelodeon to support their efforts. The Nickelodeon HALO movement supports youth involved in Key Club who are working to improve their communities.
Lopez said she was excited to hear that they were selected to receive grant funds.
“We think this is a fun way for the community to get together during the summer while supporting an organization that meant so much to Lucas’ family,” Lopez said. “I also hope we are also able to raise awareness about these types of airway disorders and how they affect babies.”