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Dear Joanne,   Have been thinking of you, Joelle and Laura daily.  My pray is for you to maintain the courage you have had throughout all of this, and all of your life. My  heart is heavy and full of love just knowing you are kept in His prayers by your family in heaven.   Always,   Karen



I am so sorry to hear about your loss.  Words canít express my sorrow.  You, Joelle and Laura were always in our thoughts and payers Ė hoping for a miracle.  We now pray to Laura for a heaven filled with peace and love and no pain.  Our thoughts are with you and we pray for you each and every day. 

All our love,

Andrea Ellen and Brian Keigan and family


An interesting link.

Dear Joanne,

It is with awe that I read Laura's web page, such a courageous young lady!  You did a wonderful job Mom.  I think of you and Joelle often and send prayers to you both.  May the Blessing of our Lord be of comfort to you.  

With love,  Leslee

Dear Joanne,
I am not a computer freak at all.  I am hands on.  But I check your website everyday and read your emails that you have received.  It is in creditable what I have read.  If my sister in law thinks you are amazing I know you are because she is the most wonderful person I know.  I wish I could do something to comfort you at such a difficult time,  I know it would make me feel better if I did something worth while.  As i told Joelle I will donate toys to the hospital but I also always wanted to do volunteer work so if you have something I could do for your family please let me know because I would love to do that.

As always my thoughts are with you and your family.

With Warm Affection,
Stacey Armston
Robin Salerno Sister in law


Joanne:  The collage of pictures are beautiful.  How touching and thoughtful for you to share them with everyone.  Thank you.  Love you, Donna xxxooo


I just wanted to let you know that I always think about you and Joelle. Laura was such an amazing person and she will never be forgotten. I wish that we had done some things together. We always talked about getting together and doing things...but by the time we were planning on it, it was too late. I always told her that when i got my license then I'm going to pick her up and we were gonna go have a girls day out. When i got my license she was in the hospital by then...i figured that when she got out we can cruise around. We would talk about it a lot. She was always saying how she can't wait until she can drive her convertible and she was so excited for it. That is one of the very first thing that she said to me when we started talking. I wish we could have done those things with each other, but I am glad that i got to talk to Laura all the time and meet such a wonderful and strong person. But the one time I met her I will never forget. It was the night that she sang at her chorus concert. I came to it and i met her there. She sang the song "There You'll Be" and dedicated it to Nikki. She sang it so beautifully with no sign of nervousness at all. When she was singing she brought tears to my eyes...it made me think about Nikki so much and reminded me how much i miss her. I now know that Laura will always be a part of me because I know that she is with Nikki now and she is watching over us. I have two beautiful guardian angels over me and i know i will be safe. Laura will never be forgotten and I am so happy to have met such a wonderful person. Laura will always be in my heart. Stay strong.....take care ~Tracy Riedl
~I was looking over Nikkis website and I found this song on it that someone put there....I read it and downloaded it and i listen to it all the time...the words are so meaningful...

They gave you a corner room on the fifth floor
The city lights were like candy to a kid in a store
Like a king you'd lay in your bed so statefully
So thankful they gave you a room with scenery

You always were so healthy, so full of life
So seeing you so helpless just didn't seem right
And how you kept your head so high I'll never know
I guess you knew you had a better place to go

Now you've got a room with a view
A window to the world
You always had your sights set high
And now that you're gone
Your memory lives on
And I see you smiling in my mind
With angels as visitors dropping by
Your room with a view

I'll always miss you
I'll always feel the loss
I have to remind myself that you're better off
I gotta believe even through these tears of mine
Wherever you are there's a sun that always shines


With angels as visitors dropping by
Your room with a view

"Room With A View" - Carolyn Dawn Johnson


Dear Joanne,
You and Joelle are so wonderful! and are so special to feel Laura around you! That is so beautiful! Don't let that go. Truth is that we are all together anyway, it is just matter that is different. To feel each other's presence we simply need to think of each other with our purest hearts and we are always with each other.
We continue to think of you all and pray for you and Joelle to be okay.
Lots of love


Dear Ms. Santiago,
My name is Liz. You don't know who I am nor do I know you. Somehow I ended up on Laura's website. What a wonderful family you have! I took the time to read Laura's entries, and how she faught until she got her wings. Your strength as a Mom inspires me! I'm a mother of a 5 year old little girl, and I don't know if I would be able to have your strength! You seem to be a wonderful person with a wonderful family!
Even though I do not know you, your family is my prayers. Keep the faith!


Ms. Santiago,,

It was in Paris when Laura passed. I thought about her the entire trip and am so lucky to have had her in my life. She was such a bright spot in my day when we painted together. Knowing her makes me a better person.

My deepest sympathy.
Kevin Rice

Words can't explain how I feel .........I just want you to know that we are here if you need anything...I hope to see you soon !    cuz,    joey o and family

Dr. Santiago, I have started pennies from heaven at a couple places in Newport.  I am not exactly sure what to do with the donations.  If you have a chance just let me know.  Maybe I should give them to my mom?  Remember your invitation to Newport is always open.

Dear Joanne and Joelle,
     We just wanted to let the two of you, and everyone who donated food for the gathering following Laura's funeral, to know how much the men of the Immaculate Conception shelter appreciated all the food that was left and taken to them.  We had only just heard that the cooks had cancelled for the Jan. 9 date, when Catherine called and said, "We're expecting hundreds of people, but the shelter can have any leftover food".  Phew.  Panic turned to faith that there would be enough and we knew that there was more than coincidence at work here. 
      On  that cold Thursday night, 125 homeless men had a bountiful, home-cooked meal and the only "complaint" was from a man who said, "I think you are trying to get us to burst!"  We knew Laura was laughing along with us.  The staff agreed that the next day they would "open for lunch" as there were still loads of sandwiches left when dinner was over. 
      We thank you for thinking of the men at "the Mac" ...and for raising the type of daughters, and having the type of friends, who would be glad you did.  K and M


Thanks for sharing - it is a great way towards healing for you both Love Alastair


Hi Joanne,
      I am glad you are taking some special time for you and Joelle.  The shock of what has happened over the past two years will begin to seep into your life a bit more, and you will feel like a walking zombie sometimes. Post traumatic stress syndrome is very real here.  I often feel like a war vet who is having trouble readjusting to life as it goes on in the "real world". If I am somewhere where I can talk about Nikki, friends who still want to share about her life, then I am ok, because there is a vital connection, but when I go places where no one knows or doesn't seem to acknowledge what has happened then I feel lost...I don't mean that I always want to talk about Nikki, but when I see everyone else's life going on as if nothing happened, it can be very hard.  
       Laura & Joelle's pennies from Heaven is such a beautiful and simple idea....After what we have been through we need to create something to honor our special girls and to do what they wanted by helping others. It has helped me to have 'Something' to pour my energy into....   I can see "Pennies from heaven blossoming like "Pay it Forward"!   I have a big, clear plastic animal cracker bear in my office where I am putting all my pennies and will ask the principle if we can either  have the kids and/or teachers add to it.  Debbie Bowie is planning on starting something in Iowa.  It touches my heart to know that your beautiful daughters took their love for each other and are sharing it in their goodwill to others.....but I know they learned it from a very special mother indeed, and I know that Laura and Joelle have always been loving, caring and giving girls.  Laura lives on ....she has touched so, so many people.  I can just feel that ray of light in the chapel, and yes, I agree she is there with you.  You will feel her.         
      I know that Laura gave you strength to go through her ordeal, and that she will continue to forever.....but its so very hard......I love you guys!  Gail


Hello lovely ladies,
   Just a note to say we are thinking of you constantly and hoping that you are healing by the moment. As always, thank you too for sharing your thoughts and opening your hearts to us through your journal. It seems intrusive to call you, so seeing your entries is comforting to us.  WE love you both!
   I have been trying to contain my excitement as Laura and Joelle's Pennies from Heaven idea has surely not just caught on around here...it's on fire! I had a difficult time talking about Laura to my classes last Sunday, as they had been following her story closely, but the best thing came out of that pain! ALL the children got so excited about Laura and Joelle's great idea for the pennies! They immediately began plans for a penny "WAR" in the religious school. Each class will have the opportunity to fill jars with pennies. There is a penalty for having other types of coins or paper money in your jar, so they add quarters, dimes, nickels and currency in to throw each other out of the competition....Okay, I may not be explaining it with the enthusiasm they displayed...but it sounds like fun and effective! Additionally, we are setting up a collection jar for those who wish to give pennies (or more) near the sanctuary. Out Social Action Committee has agreed to help us make it happen and I am writing a piece for the Temple newspaper. We will do this for the entire month of February. Some of the children are planning to collect at their schools (and they come from all over the area) and some are planning neighborhood (adult supervised) events to get those pennies!!! My place of employment has started a hefty collection and has asked that I place a collection bucket out for clients to participate. We've only just begun! I have to confess that this week I spotted some large, clear plastic, empty pretzel jars in recycle bins on trash day. Yes, I did stop and grab them up for our pennies:-)
    I can't wait to share news with you and Joelle about this "snowballing" copper craze! And please ask Joelle if she has any suggestions or requests for us. We could really use her creative ideas and help, if she gets the urge. She can call me or send along an email. THANK you Laura and Joelle for thinking of a way to let us help someone while we feel Laura all around us.  The only 2 things I am concerned about are
a) What happens when we lift those heavy bags and jugs of pennies and throw our
old backs out of alignment? (Just kidding) and
b) Does anybody know what bank will take unwrapped pennies and run them through the machine for all us over achievers? If you do could you please email me at mommybt@attbi.com. Years ago, it was a service banks provided for free (no longer the case I would guess) and we surely do not want to give up a percentage of these pennies to a grocery store machine, so please let me know.  Okay I went on forever, but one more thing. On Weds. I gave platelets at the CT. Red Cross in memory and honor of Laura. As I was leaving the donor area, I pulled my keys out of my coat pocket and a penny fell to the floor and rolled toward the checkout counter. I bent down to pick it up and stood to wait for someone to schedule my next donation. On the counter where I waited were date book planners for people to take and I flipped the cover open to check it out. How remarkable that Laura's beautiful face was looking right back at me and how
amazing that her penny had taken me to just the right place! I am so grateful to have been blessed with Angel Laura's special signs and Santiago love!
    Bless you and everyone!


Dear Joanne,
Just wanted to send along our love, prayers and thanks for so generously continuing to share your journey.  I'm not sure how we would all manage without being able to "check" Laura's web site! It has been such an important part of what we do each day.  I also think that we all are comforted by the beautiful out-pouring of love and support.  When you think of over 36,500 times that people have "checked in" on your family it really is AMAZING!!  That's "a lot of love!" 
I think "Laura's Pennies from Heaven" is a wonderful (and beautiful) idea...and I think it's "gonna be big!!  Remember all of us who are are ready to do anything for you and Joelle.                                               Love and prayers,
                                                                Mary & Ken


Hi Joanne,

I had been doing something that I was I had hoped would be neat.  I have been growing my hair long to be able to then cut it and give to Locks of Love for it to be made into a wig for kids under 18 who have cancer.  I had hoped that I would be able to give it to Laura for her to send with me to help other kids.  I have now cut off 10" in her honor and memory and will be sending it to them this week.

Love, Pam

1/18/03 Hello Dr Santiago.  I just wanted to drop a note to say hi.  I think of you and Joelle daily.  I'm so glad to have met you the other day.  I hope all is going well!  I started my own penny jar the other day.  It's amazing that something so small can add up to something that means so much.  Just in my room I had a dollar!  Say hi to Joelle for me, Torie Eells




Dear Joanne, this is the hardest letter I have every written.....I think of you daily ....many times each day! I received notice of Laura's death when we were in Ocala visiting Craig's brother. I so wanted to get on a plane  but I knew I was right were I needed to be and that you may need my support more at a later time. Thank you so very much for posting your letter describing the last week.....I smiled through my tears. We are all richer for knowing and loving you  all. Because of your willingness to share Laura's Journey with us, I don't think I will ever look at life or a penny in quite the same way. I can only imagine the awry of emotions that you experience each day but one thing that you can depend upon is that you are never alone....prayers and love surround you continually. With all my love, Nancy


I was recently on the St. Ann's Home page and saw the link to your daughters web site.  I took some time while my two girls are sleeping to read so many wonderful things about your daughter.

You are truly blessed to have a daughter that performed so many wonderful things prior to her passing.  In return, I feel blessed to have spent some time learning about your daughter and the beautiful letter you wrote on her home page.

I truly believe that God does not give us a heavier cross than we can carry, but you truly have carried your cross, and continue to carry it and become a stronger person.

Your strength, and faith beliefs will carry you through the difficult times.

May God Bless you and your daughter and always remember that Laura will be your guiding angel from heaven.

Joan D.


Joanne and Joelle,
     Please accept my condolences on losing a very special member of your family. I want you to know that you are in my prayers and I will have the priests here
offer up mass for your family.  I am sorry, she was (and still is!!!) a very nice girl from what I remember from when we were in Rome together.  I'm sure she is
beholding the Adorable Face of Jesus and interceding for you and getting graces for you to be strong or to finally let go because I can only imagine that you probably had to be strong for her.  Now she is in heaven and she has enough strength for you. (I hope I'm writing the right things, I don't want to offend.)  I hope you find healing now knowing that Laura is with The Lord.

Hello Joanne, I recently learned of the passing of your beautiful daughter, Laura.  I'd like to express my deepest sympathy to both you and Joelle.

I'm attending a benefit next weekend for a father (my daughter's friend's father) who was in a terrible accident last October.  He is recovering, slowly, but as you know, the medical (and other) expenses are enormous.  The benefit is to help the family.

I was speaking with another mother about the event telling her about Laura's pennies from heaven.  As we enter the Wallingford YMCA, there was Laura's face on
an American Red Cross poster .. about giving blood.  I think it was your daughters way of saying "thank you" for helping another when in need!

My children and I have started our own "pennies from heaven" jar.  Once we reach $100, we will give that money to someone .. someone, for whatever reason, who
needs that money!

I regret not being able to come to the benefit in NJ. I would love to see you, Alba and your brother Jim.  I did, however, send a gift to the appropriate party.

Please know, Joanne, that you and Joelle are in my thoughts and heart during this time of loss. 

Lisa Swanson .. aka Lisa Lytec
DataControl, Lytec Medical

I was absolutely shocked to see the update.
I am so sorry - what a beautiful and inspiring young lady.
Please extend our deepest condolences to the family from everyone at Smile