Lynn West became a member of First Baptist in 1983. When her four-year-old son, David, passed away in 1995, Lynn wanted his legacy to live on. With help from FBCR, Lynn established a fund that would help other families in the community with special needs children, year after year.
1. Tell me a little about David and his story.
Lynn: I was eight months pregnant with David when doctors discovered that something was wrong with his brain. Where a brain should have been on the sonogram, there was only a black area. The damage was caused partly because of David’s twin who had stopped growing around 15 weeks gestation.
All I knew at the time was that it brought me closer to the Lord. I began to pray like I never prayed before. We were told by a doctor that David would never see, he would not know us, he would never hear and he was not really worth keeping because he was going to live a long life being a burden. The doctor advised us to abort him and move on with our lives. He claimed that David was not going to be worth all the trouble. Well, I can tell you that the only person we got rid of was the doctor.
David did see perfectly, his hearing was intense and he totally knew us. He communicated with his eyes and his big giant smile. God gave us a peek into heaven with this little angel. I can tell you he changed my life and taught me so much that I would not give up even one of the days he was with us. He died suddenly while at home with a babysitter. The spastic muscles in his throat cut off his airway. David’s life on earth was finished but his legacy was just beginning.
While on my way home after hearing that the paramedics were at my house, a voice whispered in my ear. I will never forget the words that I heard: “David is totally healed and happy.” I did not comprehend those words or what they meant until later when I realized that the Lord had spoken to me that my son was in heaven. The words were a comfort.
2. What made you want to start David’s Fund? And how did you start it?
Lynn: David’s passing on June 30, 1995 was unexpected and heartbreaking to say the least. Many people sent cards as well as money to express their condolences. We appreciated each and every note. However, I wanted the money to go to something more than just funeral expenses. It became very important to me that David would somehow be remembered and in some little way kept alive. I began to research what we could do with the $3,000 we received. I approached First Baptist Church to ask for help with creating a fund to help families with children that had special needs. The church’s Endowment Fund Committee agreed to start David’s Fund for which I was very grateful. I held garage sales to add more money to the fund, and it continues to grow with interest each year. My goal is to get the fund to $20,000. We are getting there slowly but surely.
3. How many families have you helped since you started the fund? How does the fund work?
Lynn: Each year we use the interest the money has collected to donate to a deserving family. It never fails that God will put someone in my path to help around the time of David’s birthday, April 30. I believe our first year the family we helped was in need of a special stroller for their child. The family struggled with taking him to places because he would take off running. By purchasing them a large specialized stroller, they were able to take him to events and keep him safe. I want to say we have helped a total of 20 families since the start of this fund. That is amazing to think about. We have given money for respite care, to buy diapers, purchase medications and to provide for horseback riding therapy. The list goes on to what children need.
4. When was David’s Corner at FBCR named? What’s the story behind that?
Lynn: While I was talking to Pastor Joe about David’s Fund, he asked me a question I will never forget. He said the church felt they could have done more for our family and he wanted to know what could have been done to help us while David was alive. He asked how I felt about some kind of program for children with special needs. We brainstormed, contacted a few people and the program was born. The name came from me. We named our son David because the name meant “Beloved.” I asked that the program and room be named “David’s Corner” because the children and adults in that room were truly beloved. I still receive the Tapestry and I love when I read about an event happening in David’s Corner. It makes me smile to know the name has stayed even though the program is no longer needed.
Lynn now lives in Texas and works as a special education teacher but continues to help families in Redlands which, she says, will always be David’s home.
-printed in the July 2015 issue of the Tapestry.