PINEHURST — Holly Boals insists that all of the children she has supported through her home health agency are special. But Lauren Brigman was her first.
And so it was with great affection — and gratitude for the activism of Lauren’s family — that Boals crafted an entry for this year’s Festival of Trees, which raises money for the Sandhills Children’s Centers to provide therapy and other care for disabled children.
“I’ve known her family since 2011,” said Boals, whose husband, Tom, is chairman of the board of the Sandhills centers, which have facilities in Southern Pines and Rockingham.
“After her father (the Rev. James Brigman) walked to Washington, D.C., (earlier this year) to call attention to his daughter’s need for care, (I began) following his journey and everything that they’ve done” for vulnerable children, Boals said of the Brigmans, James and Lori.
This month, Boals spent hours hanging tiny sea stars, and peach and blue orbs from an artificial pine. Beneath the tree, she crowded together Little Mermaid toys and supplies a family might need for a trip to the beach, as well as photos documenting James Brigman’s walk from Rockingham and meetings with public officials.
She called her tree “Little Mermaid, Mommy & Me Day at the Beach” to reflect Lori and Lauren’s delight in being together.
As of midday Thursday, the tree had garnered one bid of $700. (Suggested buy-it-now price is $1,860. Bidding will end at 7:45 p.m. Sunday.) The Brigmans had plans to view the tree Thursday evening.
Lauren has had a tough few weeks lately, her mother said. She has been in the hospital with recurring seizures. But now that she’s out and at home, her mother said, “she smiles a lot.”
Because lights are a particularly favorite thing, Lori Brigman said, she imagines Lauren will love her special tree.
“They really did help her in her early years of life,” Lori Brigman said of the Sandhills Children’s Center in Rockingham.
Now, Lauren has a special teacher for the home-bound, provided by Richmond County Schools. And she still receives service from Boals’s Bright Horizons agency in Southern Pines.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]