Lane Graves’ Parents Welcome Son 2 Years After Toddler Was Killed by Alligator at Disney Resort
Matt and Melissa Graves suffered an unimaginable tragedy in 2016, when their 2-year-old son Lane Graves was snatched by an alligator and dragged to his death at the Walt Disney World resort in Florida.
But a little over two years after the incident, the couple have some good news to share: they’ve welcomed another baby boy to their family.
The Graves, who are also parents to daughter Ella, announced the birth of their son on Wednesday in a statement provided to PEOPLE.
They’ve named the baby boy, who was born last week, Christian Lane Graves, with his middle name a tribute to the son they lost.
“Although we know the pain of losing Lane will never go away, we feel God has blessed our family with this precious miracle of life,” the couple said in the statement. “We know Ella and Christian have their brother, Lane, watching over them as their guardian angel.”
The statement continued, “The love and support we continue to receive from so many is greatly appreciated, but we ask that our desire for privacy continue to be honored.”
Lane had been playing in the sand near the shoreline of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa on June 14, 2016, while on vacation from Nebraska with his family when the alligator pulled him into a lagoon. His father said he was attacked by a second alligator as he unsuccessfully tried to save his son.
A frantic search for the boy ensued and the toddler’s body was found about 16 hours later.
Shortly after his death, the Graves started The Lane Thomas Foundation, which helps cover travel and other non-medical expenses for families with children in need of life-saving organ transplants being treated at Omaha’s Children’s Hospital or Nebraska Medicine.
“Lane had a very special light about him. We promised him at his wake we would turn this tragedy into good for many families,” Matt said during press conference in Sept. 2017, the AP reported.
Disney World also unveiled a statue back in August 2017 in honor of Lane.
The lighthouse statue is the symbol of the Lane Thomas Foundation, which serves to act “as a beacon of hope in the depths of despair, to create a strong base of support for families in crisis,” according to their website.
The lighthouse features two blue stars and a plaque that reads, “Presented to the Lane Thomas Foundation. A beacon of hope. A light of love.”
“To provide continued awareness of the foundation and its mission, we’ve commissioned an original sculpture of the lighthouse the foundation uses as a symbol of love and hope, to be installed on our property this summer,” George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort, said in the statement released to the Orlando Sentinel.
The Graves family said they find solace in Disney’s remembrance.
“We find comfort that so many people continue to remember our sweet boy, Lane, and we believe the lighthouse stands as a beacon of hope and support for families in the depths of despair,” they said in a statement to the Orlando Sentinel at the time. “We will continue to honor Lane and preserve his spirit through the Lane Thomas Foundation.”
In June, the Graves family remembered the late toddler on the anniversary of his death, writing on Facebook, “LT, we love you up to heaven and down to the grass. Hug, kiss, ugga mugga. We will fight every day to keep your memory alive and make a positive difference in your name.”