Pema Chodron writes, “Let the hard things in life break you. Let them affect you. Let them change you. Let these hard moments inform you. Let this pain be your teacher…What is the lesson in this wind? What is this storm trying to tell you? What will you learn if you face it with courage? With full honesty- and lean into it.”
These are questions we must all ask ourselves in times of hardship, but for Legacy Wealth Planning’s own Wendy Hammond and her family, they are at times quite difficult to answer. Just over two years ago, on July 14th, Wendy’s daughter was severely injured in a tragic bounce house accident. A few days later, she passed away and the family was left to find a way to move forward in the depths of grief.
Lizzy was the oldest of three children for Mitch and Wendy Hammond. She was a doting, tender, big sister to her brother Danny and her sister Abby. She was both a daddy’s girl and her mother’s volunteer sidekick. Lizzy loved soccer and ballet and was raising a goat to show at a 4-H show. She was big-hearted and an active volunteer in her community. She fed the homeless, brought dinners to the Ronald McDonald House, worked with the Food Bank of NNV for MLK National Day of Service, participated in Shopping with the Sheriff and Wreaths Across America, built care packages for local soldiers deployed overseas, and organized donations for victims of the Camp Fire in 2018. She was only 9 years old but devoted to showing love and compassion to all around her, especially those in need.
Keeping Lizzy’s giving spirit in mind, Mitch and Wendy chose to donate her organs to others in need. On July 19th, over 700 friends and family arrived to line the hallways to pay tribute to Lizzy. It was the largest organ walk at Renown Medical Center.
Mitch and Wendy established the Lizzy Hammond Foundation to raise awareness around Bounce House accidents and educate the public on the dangers of poor industry regulation. They hope that this will prevent other families from experiencing a similar tragedy to their own. And in this way, they continue to uplift and bring hope to Lizzy’s memory.
On January 1st, Donate Life America will honor Lizzy, among others, in the Rose Bowl Parade. Their float, Courage to Hope, shares the courage shown by donor families, living donors, and waiting recipients as well as the hope by all that one life’s meaning will save another’s life in need. It is truly the ultimate gift.
As the Hammond family continues their journey of hope and healing, we look to our communities far and wide. The Human Spirit is unbreakable and our community is a testament to what we can accomplish together. Communities rally around friends and neighbors. They support each other through the good and the bad. They hold one another in their hearts when we are grieving or lost. They ease our sorrows and lift our burdens.
Lizzy was young but fiercely determined to spread love in everything she did. Having the opportunity to do what you love most, is truly a goal we should all aspire to. Her memory will forever serve as a reminder to us all to live every day with passion, love, and understanding because we are not promised tomorrow.
If you’d like to learn more about the Lizzy Hammond Foundation, please visit their Facebook page.