Highland Home family needs your help

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 14, 2004

I read a forwarded e-mail the other day, which consisted of a list of good things about living in a small town.

The author was unknown, but the content was very familiar.

I had to smile when I read the following line: "In a small town, people are important. All the people. Even the little ones."

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This is so true and is one of the reasons why I am writing this column.

To know you personally and to present our little town as one in which pride prevails, I have been given the honor of writing the Highland Home community news column each week.

Some of you may know me from our community.

Others of you probably just know me from someone else.

As in most small towns, there are never any "strangers".

I am very excited about this opportunity.

I have lived in the Highland Home area my entire life.

I attended HHS from kindergarten through twelfth grade and graduated there in 1992.

Like most teenagers in a small town, I was ready to explore the world and left to go to college for a year.

But I learned my lesson quickly and realized I truly loved where I was from and greatly missed the people here.

I then transferred to Troy University and graduated there with a degree in social work.

I have been working with hospice for six years now.

I provide counseling and social services to terminally ill patients and their families.

This is an emotionally draining job, but I feel as if this is where I am supposed to be.

It is a very important responsibility that reaps great rewards. I have been involved with hundreds of families and have become "adopted" by most of them.

I am married and my six-year-old son is currently in first grade at HHS.

He is my other "fulltime" job.

I can honestly say that I have faith that he will also graduate from our school and love our community as much as I do.

This week my son, Ethan, came home to tell me his best friend Lane has been sick and has not been in school.

This did not disturb me much in the beginning because we all know that children catch every germ possible in school.

But later in the day, I was horrified to learn that our little Lane, who is also in first grade at HHS, had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and was being immediately sent to Children's Hospital in Birmingham.

A CAT scan showed a huge tumor just above Lane's spinal cord.

Doctors did not know how involved this was or how serious his condition was at the time. Of course, cancer was frequently mentioned.

Lane was set up for brain surgery in two days.

His family could only wait until surgery to find out if their child was ever going to be healthy again. But God has a way with miracles.

Incredibly, Lane pulled through very well.

The entire mass was removed with seemingly no permanent effects.

He will be in ICU for a few days, but hopefully will be home by the time this is published.

Sadly, this is not the first time the Leonard family has faced the difficult task of waiting for the news of a little one at Children's Hospital.

Lane has a two-year-old sister, who has several severe health problems.

In the past, Alyssa has had open heart surgery, a feeding tube and breathing difficulties.

Although her health is stable at this time, she cannot walk or talk like other children her age.

She also must go to Birmingham several times a month for medical care.

Lane will also have a great deal of follow-up doctor's visits to Birmingham as well as the regular appointments Alyssa already must meet.

This has placed a remarkable strain on the family financially and emotionally.

For this reason, donation cans has been placed at the Panola Lucky Dollar in Panola and the Highland Home Bank. Please donate if at all possible.

But most importantly, please pray for Lane and his family. The first grade isn't the same without him.




The Lapine Community Center will be hosting their monthly community potluck supper at 7 p.m. on Sept. 13.

Everyone is encouraged to bring a dish.

Ms. Becky Welch will be performing.

All members of the community are invited to attend.

If you have any questions, please call Ms. Nancy Conklin at 537-9565 from 9am to 1pm daily.




If you have anything you would like to be printed in this news column, please let me know by calling the above number.

If you have anything you would like to be printed in this column, please let me know by calling the above number.

Items such as anniversaries, births, and church events are welcome.

I look forward to the chance to represent my town and make new friends.

Go Squadron!