By STEVEN NALLEY
Jennifer Carson said she, her husband and her son have taken each moment one moment at a time in the last four months.
On the first day of 2012, on a vacation visiting family in Athens, Ala., Laura Carson died after a go-kart accident at the age of 11. Jennifer, Lauraâ€™s mother, said the support of others has been vital in these four months.
â€śOur friends, church and family have been a huge part of taking care of us physically and emotionally and will continue to do so,â€ť Jennifer said.Â â€śAlso ... knowing that Laura is with our savior now is a great comfort.â€ť
To celebrate Lauraâ€™s life, First United Methodist Church will host a dinner show May 6 from 6-8 p.m. in its Christian Life Center to raise funds for a high ropes course at Camp Lake Stephens near Oxford.
Jennifer said Laura loved Camp Lake Stephens, including the lakeâ€™s zip line, sleeping in a hammock under the stars, swimming and a wide variety of camp games. Laura also made several friends from across Mississippi at camp, Jennifer said, and she would stay in touch with them throughout the year.
â€śThe decision was made to support the ropes course because Laura wouldâ€™ve loved something new and challenging to do at camp, and we knew the course could potentially be a revenue generator for the camp for continued support,â€ť Jennifer said. â€śBecause of the funds already raised, the decision was made to go ahead and get the course started now. Â We are thrilled that the ropes course will be complete for the summer camp season.â€ť
The project is already halfway funded, Jennifer said. Lauraâ€™s obituary called for donations to Camp Lake Stephens in lieu of flowers, she said, bringing in $10,000.
â€śWe have been overwhelmed by everyoneâ€™s generosity,â€ť Jennifer said.Â â€śWe are truly blessed to be in this community. When we were asked how we would like to designate the donated funds, we had to choose from Camp Lake Stephensâ€™ master plan of future projects for the camp. Â When we chose the course and only had half the money to start it, we decided to have a fun night to celebrate everything that Laura loved to try to raise the remainder of the funds needed.â€ť
In addition to camping at Camp Lake Stephens, Laura played the french horn in Armstrong Middle Schoolâ€™s band, was active with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, played basketball, softball and the piano, danced competitively with the Academy of Competitive and Performing Arts and served as an acolyte at FUMC. Kathy Snell, organizer for the fundraiser, said the FUMC familyâ€™s love for Laura and the Carson family gave birth to the fundraiser.
â€śAfter Laura died, we wanted to find some way to honor her memory that would reflect who she was, what she loved and would have made her happy,â€ť Snell said. â€śI remember Laura as a vibrant young lady who was a fixture at our church. She was a great example for other kids.Â She was a such a good kid, and she was happy.Â In my memories, she is always smiling.â€ť
Snell said the fundraiser will feature homemade lasagna with salad, bread and tiramisu for dessert. The event will also feature a silent auction and ACPA dance performances from all competitive age groups, including Lauraâ€™s own.
â€śWe have had many local businesses donate items to this event in honor of Laura,â€ť Snell said. â€śThe outpouring of love and support has been amazing, and the Carsons are grateful and very touched by it.â€ť
Tickets cost a $10 minimum suggested donation through the office at First United Methodist Church. For more information, contact Snell at 662-648-9815 or firstname.lastname@example.org.