By Nona Tepper
Forest Parkers, North Riversiders and other nearby neighbors gathered at Healy's Westside on Feb. 10 to celebrate Lana Smiles, a fundraiser honoring the life and legacy of Lana Shelton, an 18-month-old who died of Krabbe Leukodystrophy on New Year's Day 2018. Lana Shelton is a member of the Goodman family, longtime residents of Forest Park.
Attendees paid $50 for admission to the fundraiser, which bought them drinks, appetizers, live entertainment and the ability to participate in a silent auction. Proceeds will help defray Lana's medical costs and supportive care not covered by insurance.
Krabbe disease is a rare neurological disorder that can be treated if it is diagnosed early. By the time symptoms appear, it's too late to benefit from stem cells from umbilical cord blood to reverse the devastating effects. The victims become paralyzed, blind and deaf and finally are unable to breathe.
First-time parents Laura and Don Shelton, of North Riverside, joined a tide of Krabbe families whose testimony to the state of Illinois resulted in a new law requiring every baby born after Dec. 11, 2017 to be screened for Krabbe disease.
"Lana's legacy is making sure that no other family in Illinois will have to endure the pain and heartache of this terrible disease," Shelton told the Forest Park Review.
Those who want to help donate should visit the family's YouCaring site. As of press time, the YouCaring site had raised nearly $14,000 from 181 contributors.