CARROLLTON, Texas — It's been nearly two years since Layla Stamp lost her battle with cancer. From first symptoms to the medulloblastoma diagnosis to her death November 11, 2017, she and her family endured chemotherapy, seizures, emergency ambulance rides, and multiple dashed hopes.
But these two years later, they still fight in Layla's name.
"That is what keeps me going, knowing that we are in fact making a tangible difference," Layla's mom Sara Stamp told me.
That tangible difference comes from Layla's Legacy Foundation. Sara and Bryan Stamp have held golf tournaments, multiple fundraisers, and this weekend the 2nd annual Gold Gala Auction and Dinner. The money they raise goes primarily to pediatric brain cancer research at UT Southwestern and the University of Florida where groundbreaking research is being done in the metabolism of cancer cells.
"They feel like they are on the cusp of some real discoveries and real changes for families like ours," Stamp said. "And it takes that grief and transforms it into, one day parents won't have to look at their doctors and hear there's nothing more that we can do for your kid."
Sara Stamp says she remembers hearing those words all to well, along with a doctor telling them that if there were trips or experiences they wanted to have with their family that they needed to do them immediately. It was just 14 months from Layla's diagnosis to her death shortly after her 5th birthday.
And for other families on similar journeys, Layla's Legacy also gives grants, sometimes as much as a thousand dollars, to get those families through the immediate needs of the first difficult days after a cancer diagnosis. Last year they helped 17 families with cash grants. This year they are on track to help as many as 60 families.
In Layla's memory, Sara Stamp also penned a book. "The Other F-Word: When Faith Fills the Gap" details how her faith has helped her through the worst days and continues to help her be the mom she needs to be for Layla's little brother and little sister. And it's faith, and constant fundraising, that help her believe the someday a cure will come.
"I do. I really do think that it will be within our lifetime. Within my lifetime."
The day Layla died, someone gave her parents a drawing. It's a profile of Layla smiling. She is nose to nose with an image of Jesus. And along with photos of Layla throughout the house it has a prominent place on a bookshelf in the living room.
"I have a lot of peace knowing where she is," Sara Stamp said of Layla while looking at the drawing. "And that it's so much better of a place than what we have going on here. And so that alone gives me a lot of peace. But also knowing that she is part of this and she makes a lot of really amazing things happen."
Amazing things, and the quest for a cure, that they will keep seeking in Layla's name.
"Our hearts are broken without her sweet smile and spunky spirit, but we know that we will see her again one day," Sara and Bryan Stamp wrote on the Layla's Legacy website. "Until then, our family will continue to work towards finding a cure. That is why Layla's Legacy funds innovative pediatric brain cancer research while bringing hope and help to families impacted by the disease."
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