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Laura Santiago
1987 - 2003 

Click here for Laura's Obituary.

Webmaster note: Joanne has asked that we add a group of tremendous family pictures. Click here to see the pictures.

January 11.2005  

 Hello my friends,     It has been a while since I have updated - --- Thank you for the many e-mails of support that you continue to send to us. Joelle and I are doing well. I am so proud of her. We finally completed Laura's wish for a pool with a fountain. It really came out beautiful and we had special times with it the end of the summer. There are 3 fountains with a Memorial garden on the back raised wall of the pool. Father Sass came and did a beautiful blessing of the pool for us. This year Joelle and I with Kim sent balloons to Laura for her 17th birthday. We sent up balloons with messages on them and included Nikki and another young boy in heaven with similar birthdays. Suddenly the balloons went to the trees and they were gone-no string-no flat balloon. The three of us stood there trying to figure where they went! We decided that the teens took them up to heaven!! Never a sign of the balloons! "Laura's Pennies From Heaven" continue to privately and directly help people. Some of you have thought the umbrellas collecting money for CCMC at Wal-Mart is Laura's-but it is not. While it is good to support that, ours is separate and different. It brings such a smile to bring someone no strings attached spending cash when in need. So thank you for helping and keep the pennies coming in!!! In December we went to the Madgical performance at the school. It was so beautiful and this year Joelle was in it as a 8th grade chorus member. I enjoyed Joelle but also was hurting remembering how happy Laura was when she was in it both in 8th and 9th grade. Laura's friends are so sweet to me and Joelle. And, I want them to know how grateful am to have them include me or hug me when they see me. It means a lot to me and Joelle. Many have taken Joelle under there wing and of course that makes Joelle feel Laura's connection. Again, thank you!   Last week we had a Mass for Laura's second anniversary into heaven. Joelle and I went to visit the cemetery and then went for a swim and out to lunch. She and I needed that one on one time together. Later Nikki's Mom Gail came over and we had a good time talking and reflecting on Nikki and Laura-as her entry to heaven was Jan 1, 2002.   I know that I will never be the same person, I never know when the tears hit, or a smile breaks because I will grieve or honor Laura in some way or at some place. I remember when Avon hosted the Special Olympians from Indonesia and we were a host home, how she really enjoyed meeting these gentle people. Now when I see what the natural disaster has done there I pray that Laura through God is able to help these children.....or give us the ideas of how to help.   Well, I will end here for now. Please know how important many of you are to us in our journey of grief. Love, Joanne     January 4.2004   Hello every one. Today it has been a year since Laura entered heaven. It is hard to believe it and I feel that it is still a dream that will wake me up. Joelle and I know that God is allowing her to watch over us. Joelle and I left for a few days this past week so that we would be distracted and make new memories. While there, there was an electrical fire and the fire alarm went off. We were in a small hotel and felt quite safe. I was in the lobby checking on something on the computer and Joelle went to our room to get ready for the night. Suddenly the fire alarm went off and every one was evacuating the building! I panic and went to look for Joelle in her room before I left-not being sure how Joelle would react. Well, Joelle has been well trained by the Avon School's fire drill. She knew to immediately leave and to get out of the building and then find me- She said she was in her PJ so she was looking to grab her coat to protect her. She was upset because she could not find her coat -and then said suddenly it was in her arms and she was off. She said she knows Laura helped her with this. As it just showed up in her hands.....off she left the hotel and went to a worker to find me. I was more nervous than Joelle - as I worried about her panicking and being afraid-but she had an odd sense of calmness..... Today we have a Mass being offered for Laura at St. Anne's at 11:30 and we will visit her resting place. I am not sure how I feel today or how I feel -so please excuse me if I do not get back to you as my throat some times swells......Joelle and I are coping. Our Pennies From Heaven is still doing well. We have given a lot away-so please remember to drop them off or give them away yourself! I am not sure how much longer I will keep this web site about we have gone through. It has been a wonderful source for me to communicate and for others to learn about what we have gone through. This has helped them or helped them with their friends. My intent is to print all of this and get it bounded into a permanent form for Joelle and for me as a keep sake when this ends.. So if you have any special memories of Laura or things that have happened since Laura has gone to heaven--please post them so we will have these special memories. Well, I pray that all is safe and doing as well as can be. As always thank you for your support and love,



Dear Avon Police Department,


            The other day I was asked by my flex teacher to report to the office.  I walked in saw a police officer, and was asked to go into Mr. Famiglietti’s room.  I walked in not knowing what was happening and was told to sit down.  Following came in the officer.  I wondered if something was wrong with my family or if I witnessed something and didn’t know.  Mr. Goeler then came in and sat down also.  I was then told that the Avon Police Department has decided to give $1000 to my Pennies from Heaven collection.  I was so shocked that I didn’t know what happened. There was a silent moment in the room as I thought.” Is this for real….oh my goodness?”  The police Officer then explained to me how the department knew about my collection, and decided to help me out.  My mom was called, she was just as happy as I was, and asked for a picture to be taken.

            What that officer and the Avon Police Department did has been the highlight of my week!  It makes me feel so touched to know that even with all the negative stuff we see today there are still those people who care, and those are the people who can make a difference.  You, the Avon Police Department have made a difference in not only my mother and my life, but in the lives of the people who will be helped by your generous donation.  This is one of those things that I could say thank you a million times, for it’s so kind and caring.

            I would like thank the Avon Police Department for the wonderful donation to the Pennies From Heaven collection!  Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart.



Joelle Santiago


   To Laura:   MISSION.  When most people hear that word they think of a secret agent.  But they are wrong.  Mission means Laura.  Laura had a mission from God in her life.  In fact, I have been told when Laura was born; it was on a cold October 20th day.  My grandma went to our house and found a full-bloomed flower.  We put it in our Bible.  Laura had a mission no one else had.   When I look at pictures of Laura I notice how she's touching me, looking at me, or sitting next to me. From the day I was born to the day of her death, we were always sitting next to each other.  Laura loved me so much.  Everyone says they have never met such a loving, fun and mature girl.   Some sisters aren't able to grow as close to their sister as Laura and I am.  I would smile every time Laura would say, "I'll always be with you", or "I love you".  Every time I would cry Laura would hold me tight and say "Oh, baby come here."  I always felt a sense of security around Laura.  I still do.   In my heart I know Laura is a saint.  She is my best friend, sister, and hero.  I love Laura so much.  That is why I wrote a poem on Christmas about my love to Laura.  Please let me share this poem with you today.  This poem is called.….    
Laura   The sound of peace and joy
never came till one was born.
The smell of flowers and sugar,
never came till one was born.
When one was born
the heavens opened.
When one was born
hatred ended.
When one was born
innocent were defended.
When one was born
others learned to play.
When one was born
others learned to pray.
The one that was born taught us to love.
Laura, the one that was born.   Always,

From Joanne:

The State of Connecticut will unveil it's new Childhood Cancer Awareness
License plate on February 25, 2004 at 4pm at the State Capitol.

Please join legislators, state officials, kids, parents, and the National
Childhood Cancer Foundation (NCCF), Hannah's Gift, The Tommy Fund, The Hold
in the Wall Gang Camp, and others as we celebrate our "Cure Kids Cancer"
license plate.

Last year, the Connecticut General Assembly passed legislation to create the
"Childhood Cancer Awareness License Plate."  These plates, which feature a
colorful design by Connecticut artist, Kevin Rice, will raise both awareness
of pediatric cancer and funds for the children's cancer centers at
Connecticut Children's Medical Center and Yale-New Haven Children's

Join us at the State Capitol on Wednesday, February 25th, to see the design
and learn how to order your license plate!

A reception will follow the event.  All are welcome.


Jennifer Martin is running in the Disney Marathon on January 11th for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS)! Click here for a great letter.

 Welcome to The Cove.

A death in the family can be devastating, especially for children. The Cove creates safe harbors for grieving children and their families throughout Connecticut so they can begin to heal. We bring children and families together with others who are grieving to help them form relationships and express their emotions.  Explore our website to find out more about The Cove and its mission to provide safe harbors for grieving children.
Welcome to The Cove - Safe Harbors For Grieving Children

Grief support after the death of a child

The mission of The Compassionate Friends is to  assist families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child of any age and to provide information to help others be supportive.

  The Compassionate Friends - Grief support after the death of a child


Please Read: You are receiving this email as a result of providing contact information to the Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation. All future announcements, like this one, will be made using Yahoo Groups. Participation is voluntary and may be discontinued by you at any time. To sign up to receive these messages, please send a blank email to: CandlelightersNational-subscribe@yahoogroups.com


Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation is excited to announce that this year's National Childhood Cancer Awareness Tree will be standing tall in the Old Post Office Pavilion, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W. Washington DC, for the entire month of December! The 25 foot tree will glitter with thousands of gold ribbons, each ribbon bearing the name, state and age of our country's children with cancer. More than 2,000 people visit the Old Post Office Pavilion each day. This means that an estimated 60,000 people will view this tribute to America's cancer kids. Our goal is to surpass last year's 4,000 ribbons!

As in previous years, there will be a ceremonial lighting of the Awareness Tree. Light Up The Holidays With Hope will be held on Saturday, December 6th at 6:30 PM EST. Events include inspirational guest speakers, entertainment, refreshments, another new book release from Candlelighters National Office and activities for the children. This year's event also includes a scenic view of our nation's Capitol from the 270 foot observation deck and tours of the Bell Tower - the official bells of the US Congress. Every child attending the lighting ceremony will receive a hand made quilt by Quilts4Cancer, hats by designer le-Top and other special gifts.

Please support this national childhood cancer awareness event by adding your child's name to this year's tree. Ribbons can be purchased in honor or memory of your cancer child by visiting our website at: www.candlelighters.org and clicking on the Awareness Tree logo on the home page.

Support the Childhood Cancer Awareness Tree 2003

…because kids can't beat cancer alone!

Click here to see pictures of the dedication of the Laura Santiago Teen Room at CCMC.

The memorial quilt for Laura has been completed. You can view Laura's Memorial at https://smilequiltsmemorials.com/lauras.html.

While we don’t have the power to give Joanne and her family what they want most, all of us can give them some relief from financial worry and the assurance that they are not alone.

Click here to offer this relief and assurance.


Number of visitors since August 17, 2001 Hit Counter


Click here to see pictures of Laura's car.

Click here to see a recent letter that Joanne found meaningful.

Click here to see recent hospital pictures.

Laura's letter to the editor was published in the Hartford Courant.
Click here to see the great letter.

Laura was featured in the Connecticut Children's Medical Center Annual Report.
Click here to see the article.

Click here to see why the webmaster called Laura a coffee bean.

Elise Rosenstock has created some special jewelry to benefit  Laura.
Click here to see the collection on her web site.

Watch for Laura in the Connecticut Children's Medical Center TV commercial.


Click here for the thought for the day

(Click to see)

Recent Blood Drive in Laura's honor Joelle at Pine Grove School
Halloween pictures Joanne's Favorites  


Laura with her Oncologist -Dr. Gillan

Send all suggestions of pictures or information that you would like to see on this page to Value1996@aol.com

May Angels Keep You

May the angels light your morning,
And guide you through the night,

May they comfort all your sorrows,
May they help you win the fight.

May they keep watch over your soul,
And show you better ways,

May they guard you while you're sleeping,
And see you through your days.

May they calm your every fear,
And hear you when you shout,

May they show you bright new hopes,
And still your every doubt.



The Road of Life

At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but I really didn't know Him. But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal. I don't know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since.

When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable it was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on!

Even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!" I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure, and when I'd say, "I'm scared," He'd lean back and touch my hand. I gained love, peace, acceptance and joy; gifts to take on my journey, My Lord's and mine. And we were off again.

He said, "Give the gifts away. They're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He'd wreck it; but he knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten, scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.

And when I'm sure I just can't do it anymore, He just smiles and says... "Pedal."

A young man was at the end of his rope, seeing no way out, dropped to his knees in prayer.
"Lord, I can't go on," he said. "I have too heavy of a cross to bear."        
The Lord replied, "My son, if you can't bear its weight, just place your cross inside this room.
Then, open that other door and pick out any cross you wish."
The man was filled with relief said, "Thank you, Lord," and he did as he was told.
Upon entering the other door, he saw many crosses, some so large the tops were not visible. Then, he spotted a tiny cross leaning against a far wall.        
"I'd like that one, Lord," he whispered. And the Lord replied, " My son, that is the cross you just brought in."
When life's problems seem overwhelming, it helps to look around and see what other people are coping with. You may consider yourself far more fortunate than you imagined.         
          YOUR CROSS
Whatever your cross, whatever your pain, There will always be sunshine after the rain.

Perhaps you may stumble, perhaps even fall, But God's always there to help you through it all.

Funny how you can send a thousand "jokes" through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.  
Funny, isn't it, when you go to forward this message how many on your list are not receiving it because you're not sure they believe in anything?       
Funny?..........Sad, and thought-provoking...
May God give you the strength and courage to send this along....       
          LIFE IS GOOD!

Many people will walk in and out of your life,
But only true friends will leave footprints.

To handle yourself, use your head;
To handle others, use your heart.

Anger is only one letter short of danger.

Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.

He who loses money, loses much;
He who loses a friend, loses much more;
He who loses faith, loses all.

Beautiful young people are accidents of nature,
But beautiful old people are works of art.

Learn from the mistakes of others.
You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.

Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is mystery.
Today is a gift.