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GIVE LOCAL 757: Mom shares daughter's journey with Edmarc Hospice for Children

Edmarc is the first pediatric hospice in the nation. Amy Lugand shared her family's experience after her daughter, Taylor, was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Amy Lugand said her daughter, Taylor Marie Adkins, had a spirited personality.

"She was kind, really smart, beautiful, funny, had a little sass to her. I think she gets that from me," Lugand said.

When Taylor was nine years old, Lugand said life completely changed for their family.

"I got a call from Taylor's school on December 13th, 2002. Friday the 13th," she said. "She'd had some sort of stroke. That's all they knew at the beginning."

After months of testing and treatments, Lugand said they received shocking news about Taylor's condition.

"What we learned in March of 2003 was that it was really a cancerous tumor on her brain stem," said Lugand. "She was nine-and-a-half, and we were not given a lot of options. They told us that she had a less than 10% chance of survival."

Lugand said after they exhausted the options they had, she received a call from Edmarc.

"I have to be honest -- at the beginning, when I heard from a hospice, I did not want to take their call. Because as an adult, hospice, to me, meant you were going to die," Lugand said. "But Edmarc taught us that we didn't have to give up that fight."

"They said, 'We'll send a nurse to your house so you don't even have to leave'... The social workers, I could call them any time with questions. They really gave Taylor the quality of life that we were looking for."

"In addition to that... we never received a bill," said Lugand.

After a 16-month battle, Taylor passed away on April 30, 2004. She was 10 years old.

"After you lose a child... it's every person's nightmare to lose their child. I didn't know what to do, and I didn't know how to go on," said Lugand.

"And Edmarc still stayed by our side," she explained. "And they really helped me to pick up the pieces and find a way out that darkness, [be]cause I have to tell you, it was really dark."

Lugand said she credits the staff and volunteers at Edmarc with saving her after she lost her daughter.

"If you've never heard of Edmarc, be happy, because it means your life hasn't been touched in that way," Lugand said. "But if you ever need Edmarc, they'll be there whether you heard of them or not."

Edmarc is in its 44th year of supporting children and families facing life-threatening pediatric illness, loss, and bereavement. 

As part of the nonprofit's holistic approach to care, Edmarc provides certain nursing care for kids inside their homes. The group's goal is to reduce the need for in-office visits and allow children to remain in a familiar and comfortable environment. 

Edmarc also provides support services to the entire family. And they never receive a bill, thanks to volunteers and donations. Visit the nonprofit's website for more information.

You can support Edmarc Hospice for Children and more than 200 other local nonprofits on Give Local 757 Day. This year's annual day of giving is May 10, 2022. Visit the event's website for a full list of organizations and ways you can help.

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