The family of Lane Graves has created a foundation that'll save the lives of so many children, and it's all in honor of the boy's memory.

By Zara Husaini Hanawalt
September 28, 2017

Last year, a two-year-old boy named Lane Graves was tragically killed by an alligator during a family vacation at DisneyWorld. The toddler left quite a legacy: Disney even recently erected a sculpture to memorialize the boy.

Now, his memory will save other children who desperately need help: The little guy's parents have officially launched The Lane Thomas Foundation in their late son's honor. The foundation's goal is to help families of children in need of organ transplants—the organization has divulged new details about the steps it'll take to make life easier for families dealing with this issue, and the powerful effect it has already had.

The Graves family is based in Nebraska and they've partnered with Children's Hospital and Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine.


The child's parents, Matt and Melissa Graves, spoke about their son's legacy and the foundation's next steps during a press conference. "We promised him at his wake we would turn tragedy into good for many families," said Matt Graves in a video shared by TODAY.

Nebraska Medicine shared a video detailing the ways this foundation has helped individual families on its Facebook page as well—families of children who required transplants spoke of the difficulties the process brings, and the ways the Lane Thomas Foundation has helped those navigating the procedure.

While most families initially only think of doing whatever needs to be done to save a life, the fact is, the financial burden of transplant surgery can be enormous. The Lane Thomas Foundation helps families cover lodging, food and living expenses. The foundation aims to take care of the extras so parents can focus on just being parents to their sick children.

The organization is named in honor of Lane's penchant for introducing himself by saying "I'm Lane Thomas, I'm two."

"Lane had a special light about him," Matt Graves said in Nebraska Medicine's video. "Every time he walked into the room, he lit it up. His legacy should really be taking that love and the light that he had and bringing that to other families."


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