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Meet Sara Stamp of Layla’s Legacy Foundation

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Stamp.

Sara, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
“Your child has cancer.” Those are words no parent should ever have to hear. On October 18, 2016, these were the four words that forever changed the lives of our family. Our happy, healthy four-year-old daughter Layla was diagnosed with a form of pediatric brain cancer called Medulloblastoma after several days of vomiting and balance issues.

For six months, Layla endured chemotherapy and radiation, only to have the disease return in May 2017. This time there were no good options for treatment. Only things that may prolong her life a few months more. Our family spent Layla’s remaining months enjoying time together at the beach, playing in the backyard and on our Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World.

Even through multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, Layla managed to focus on the future – proclaiming that she would be a nurse when she grew up so she could take care of all the sick kids at the hospital. When Layla lost her battle to cancer after just 14 months, we knew that it was up to us to carry on her dream and let her spirit live on through Layla’s Legacy Foundation.

At Layla’s Legacy Foundation our mission is to fund innovative pediatric brain cancer research while bringing hope and help to families impacted by the disease.

Here’s why it’s so important:

The federal government spends over $5.5 billion dollars each year on cancer research and only 4% of that goes towards childhood cancers, yet childhood cancer is the #1 cause of non-accidental death in the U.S. in children under 14 years of age (This includes all types of cancer, not just brain tumors)

Among childhood cancers, brain tumors are the #1 killer.

11 children are diagnosed each day with a brain tumor.

2/3 of children who survive will have chronic, life-long effects from the treatments they received.

For children undergoing radiation as part of their brain cancer treatment, most will suffer irreversible neurological damage including delayed or decreased cognitive function and IQ.

Other side effects include:

-Stunted growth

-Loss of fertility

-Endocrine dysfunction

-Damaged speech or hearing

-Loss of motor function and nerve damage

-Higher risk of secondary cancers

Layla’s spirit lives on through the foundation by helping children and families impacted by pediatric brain cancer. With help from our supporters, LLF continues to fund innovative pediatric brain cancer research at facilities like UT Southwestern and the University of Florida, where some of the brightest minds in science are using cutting edge technology to forge breakthroughs in cancer treatment.

The Friends of Layla financial grant program provides much-needed support for families battling the disease by paying for everyday living expenses such as rent, groceries or insurance. In many instances, these grants allow parents to be with their child in the final days and weeks of their life without worrying about how bills will be paid.

In the first two years of the foundation’s existence, we have funded over $200,000 in pediatric brain cancer research and have helped close to 80 families with everyday living expenses while their child is in treatment. Our goal is to raise a million dollars within our first five years.

Our two flagship events each year are the Tutus for Brain Tumors golf tournament and the Gold Gala Auction & Dinner.

In addition to starting the foundation, I published a book in April 2019 called The Other F-Word (available on Amazon). I felt a strong desire to share my story and how faith (the other f-word) was the one thing I was able to cling to during all the times that life was out of my control.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Losing a child is the worst possible thing a parent can imagine and when it happens you are forever changed. I am so grateful to have been Layla’s mom and to be inspired by her each day to make an impact for families like ours.

Grief comes in waves. There are days that I can’t imagine getting out of bed, but even in grief, life does keep moving. Having an outlet with the foundation and the book enables me to focus on helping others instead of staying weighed down with sadness.

We’d love to hear more about your organization.
What makes Layla’s Legacy unique is that we support both research and families. Most organizations focus on one or the other, but both were incredibly important to me and Layla’s dad. We couldn’t see leaving one out and the more immediate gratification of helping an individual family is what keeps the momentum going for the larger goal of funding research.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory is of visiting Colorado every summer with my family. We would fish and hike and horseback ride. It created a deep love of all things outdoors in me.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Hampton-Morrow Photography

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