CARROLLTON, Texas - A Carrollton couple is on a mission to find a cure and help kids with cancer. They’re giving back to honor their own daughter.
It’s hard for the Stamps family to share the story of losing their little girl, Layla. But they tell it as often as they can in hopes that her story will make a difference for other families.
“Layla was 4 years old when she was diagnosed with Medulla Blastoma, which is the most common form of pediatric brain cancer,” said Sara Stamp, her mother.
That was Oct. 18, 2016. Everything changed for Bryan and Sara Stamp. Layla underwent months of chemotherapy, radiation and countless visits to the emergency room.
Seven months later, they went in for an MRI assuming the doctor would say the hardest part was over.
“I don’t know if there will ever be a day when I can tell that part of the story without tears,” Sara said. “He said, ‘I don’t know how to tell you this but there are more spots on her spine and her brain and it’s back.’”
Layla lost her battle with cancer on Nov. 11, 2017, a little more than one year after her diagnosis.
“You know, she’s healthy and not hurting anymore. But you’re just never prepared for it. You can’t get your mind right. I struggle with it daily,” Bryan said.
Within a matter of months as they dealt with the devastating loss, the Stamps started a non-profit organization called Layla’s Legacy.
“My form of grief is helping others. And, that is how truly how I’ve grieved over the last 14 months… by pouring myself into Layla’s Legacy and what we can do for these families and what we can do for research. It’s been better than any therapy that I could have paid for,” Sara said.
Layla’s grieving parents raise money for research and have already funded two $50,000 research grants.
“We give directed grants to universities like UT Southwestern. That was our first grant ever. Layla’s tumor is actually part of the research,” her mom said.
“If you donate to our foundation and we earmark it for research, we will tell you, ‘This money is going to this trial or this team for research,’” her dad added.
The Stamps also support families with anything from gift baskets or meals to covering the cost of medication and household bills.
“We will work with a social worker at the hospital directly. They help us identify a family that has a need whether they are behind on a mortgage payment or a car payment, if there’s something specific they need help with or if they just generally need help with funds,” Sara said.
To date, Layla’s Legacy has raised over $250,000 and has helped support 15 families. That number will surely continue to grow.
“Her life, as short as it was, made such an impact and her story is making impacts. And now that’s her legacy. And while I’m not okay with her not being here, I’m okay with that…. that she’s going to change the world,” Bryan said.
Layla’s Legacy has three big fundraisers a year – a golf tournament, a 5K run and a gala with a dinner and auction.
For more information or to donate, visit laylaslegacy.org.