Family tragedy could help others - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Family tragedy could help others

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SCOTTSBURG, IN. (WDRB)--The tragic death of a 9-month-old Kentuckiana girl could help save the lives of others.  Mallory Lainhart had a rare heart defect.

And that is why her mother Vicki Lainhart knows a lot about gray skies.

"When I started having my bad, we call 'em Mal days, when we started having our bad Mal days, something I do is I start trying to plan," says Vicki Lainhart.

Mallory was her 9-month-old daughter.  She was born with a heart defect.  "Her first two months were spent at Kosair. Then she was home for several months."  During that time at home, there were still countless hospital visits.  "Chest x-rays and echocardiograms, and it was always something."

And in March of last year, surrounded by family members and holding her twin sister's hand, Mallory died.  "I don't want it to be for nothing; I want her hardships that she had to face and go through to mean something."

Family members are doing that by trying to help others.  "We all kind of wanted to do something special, in memory of Mallory," says Linda Dawson, Mallory's aunt.

Mallory suffered from what is known as Hypoplastic left heart syndrome.  "It's where the left side of her heart is not fully developed," says Lainhart.  For the second year, family members are planning a fundraiser at Beachwood Park in Scottsburg on Saturday.

"The first one was last year, first annual Mallory's mission, and we had a blood drive where we were able to donate 30 units of blood." All of the proceeds will benefit families and children facing the same heart defect.

"She touched so many people and that's what we want to do," says Dawson. 

"If we can lighten their load just a little bit," says Vicki Lainhart.  These days her load and heart are still pretty heavy, but Mallory's twin sister, older brother and now this annual event help.

"It does help me cope," says Vicki Lainhart.

The fundraiser begins Saturday with a blood drive at noon.  The day ends several hours later with a free concert and family movie night. If you would like to donate and can't attend, you can do so here.

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