This is week thirty four of me posting my blogs. I never realized it would reach so many people. Never in a million years would I ever think my words would be read in over thirty countries by thousands of people. I can only hope it has brought some sort of healing to another grieving parent, and some understanding to those looking in from the outside.
Today I am going to reintroduce myself, Lindsay and my family. I want to give you an update on what the Lindsay M. Benton Foundation has accomplished in the past year and let you know where we are heading this year.
For those of you who do not know me my name is Brad Benton, I am Jarrett and Lindsay Benton’s father. I am writing this blog for two reasons, one, it is very therapeutic for me and two, I’d like to share what I have learned as a grieving father.
As many of you know Lindsay was in a car accident on August 21, 2016, it was the Sunday before her first day of class for her senior year. After an emergency surgery, and a week in the STICU at NHRMC Lindsay passed away the following Sunday, August 28, 2016. She was 17 years old.
Lindsay, was a lifetime student at Wilmington Christian Academy and was to be co-captain of WCA cheerleaders, a sport she loved. Lindsay had a dream to be a doctor, a saver of lives and a leader in the medical field. She always knew she had a calling in this field and it changed from one concentration to another until she attended the National Youth Leadership Forum for Medicine at Chapel Hill the summer of 2016. During the nine days she spent at UNC she decided she wanted to be a Trauma Surgeon. My favorite message from her during that week was “Dad, I am having the time of my life.”
She wanted to help people; she wanted to use her passion to be the best surgeon she could possibly be, she wanted to mend broken lives. Well, in her passing, her dreams were fulfilled, as she was an organ donor and through organ donation she mended and saved lives. Little did we know how many lives Lindsay touched during her time here on this earth. We have heard story after story of her “therapy” sessions, her kindness to strangers and her ability to bring reason to difficult situations. To quote one of her tweets, “Don’t ever argue with me, you will lose.” I am assuming she was not including me in that tweet. She was a tenacious, head strong and independent young woman who had her entire life planned out.
She had an infectious smile, a steely stare, and a contagious room shattering laugh. She could melt your heart or make you pound your fist against the wall. She could debate any topic like a pro, and not give up until her point was across. She would hold the smallest of creations with the gentlest hands but she would beat a punching bag until her knuckles bled, and she used gloves. She was a friend, a leader, a captain, an advocate, a lover of life and her guinea pigs. She was also a daughter, and sister, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin and a friend to many. As parents we think we know our children, but we have come to find we did not know how many lives our daughter had touched. What a blessing it has been to meet so many wonderful people through this.
She was my little girl, she was a big part of my heart, she was my Lindsay Lou.
Although we all miss Lindsay dearly, her legacy lives on through the Lindsay M. Benton Cheer and Art Fund at Wilmington Christian Academy in adjacent with the Lindsay M. Benton Foundation. The Cheer and Art Fund was established to help the cheerleaders and the parents at WCA. Our goal, through this fund, is to help with some of the cost the parents incur and to allow the cheerleader’s to gain equipment, help with some travel expenses and allow them to be the absolute best they can be. Be the best they can possibly be, this was a goal of Lindsay’s. Through the Lindsay M. Benton Cheer and Art fund the Lindsay M. Benton Foundation also funds the Lindsay M Benton Cheer Scholarship. This scholarship is presented to a cheer leader that is in good standing and has been excepted to a secondary educational institution to peruse a career in medicine.
The Lindsay M. Benton Foundation was established to bring awareness to organ donation and the importance of donor registration. The Foundation will also financially contribute to Carolina Donor Services, Patriots In Pink, The New Hanover County Special Olympics, as well as the Lindsay M Benton Cheer and Art fund at Wilmington Christian Academy. We will have one major fundraiser, a volleyball tournament, each year and this year it will be on Lindsay’s birthday September 29th at Capt’n Bill’s in Wilmington NC. We would love for each of you to come and be a part of Lindsay’s legacy.
Th First Year:
Our first year was hard, it was emotional, it was heartbreaking but it was also rewarding. We are thrilled to announce that we, as a collective group, were able to raise $8,900.00 in ONE DAY at the First Annual Lindsay M. Benton Volleyball Tournament. The total amount raised the first year of Lindsay M. Benton Foundation was over $19,000.00! We were so honored to be able to donate $4,000.00 to Pretty in Pink, New Hanover Special Olympics and Carolina Donor Services! (Our goal was $1,000.00 each!) We were also able to donate $2,250.00 to the Lindsay M. Benton Cheer, Art & Scholarship Fund at Wilmington Christian Academy as well as $500.00 towards the 2017 Patriots in Pink Fundraiser to help Going Beyond the Pink.
We as a family, and representing the Lindsay M. Benton Foundation, were asked to attend and speak at conferences, symposiums, state meetings and to hospital staff. This was also emotional, as we relived the day of Lindsay’s accident and the day she passed away, but it was also rewarding to see the smiles, the tears and the hear how Lindsay and our family has touched so many lives. We will continue to speak and tell Lindsay’s story as well as the importance of becoming an organ donor. April is Donate Life month and April 13th is Blue / Green day. Wilmington Christian Academy has asked that we attend their daily chapel on April 10th and share the importance of being an organ donor. I have asked that a special guest join us, the special guest is the recipient of a very special kidney, Lindsay’s. She will be sharing the recipient side of organ donation and how it has changed her life and her families life.
Please visit the foundation website at http://www.lindsaymbentonfoundation.com for so much more information on Lindsay, and the foundation. We can also be found on Facebook and Instagram. Please consider being a sponsor, a volunteer, or donating to the Lindsay M. Benton Foundation. Mark your calendars for September 29, 2018 and make your way to Wilmington NC, Capt’n Bill Backyard Grill at 4240 Market St. You can also register your 4 person co-ed team for the tournament the week before the twenty-ninth.
Thank you so much for all the support, love and understanding you have shown me and my family. Please continue to keep us in your prayers and please continue to support the Lindsay M. Benton Foundation.