Flag given as symbol of hope

Lauren Hood

By Stacey Tucker
Staff Writer

CARO — As a thank you to everyone for their support and prayers to aid a two-year-old battling Hurler Syndrome, a flag will be flown in various areas across the country.

A United States flag was given to the family of Lauren Hood by Senator Mike Green for her courage and strength and unwillingness to back down from adversity. To thank everyone who has helped aid Lauren and her parents, Shane and Colleen (Ball) Hood, the flag will be flown at the University of Minnesota Children’s Amblatz Hospital, two places in Caro and Kingston Elementary School before being presented to Lauren to keep.

“This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to everyone who has supported us,” said Dennis Anderson, coordinator for My Friends Care. “The flag was made to be flown and has been given to her for that reason.”

Lauren was diagnosed with Hurler Syndrome or MPS-I earlier this year. The syndrome is one of a group of metabolic storage disorders in which the lack of an enzyme affects various organs and tissues. The body lacks an enzyme needed to metabolize a substance, such as sugar.

Two main treatments for children with Hurler Syndrome are enzyme replacement therapy and a bone marrow or cord blood transplant.

“Lauren is doing better today than she has all week,” Anderson said. “She had one bone marrow transplant that did not engraft and the second time she had a reaction.”

Lauren has been staying at the University of Michigan Children’s Amblatz Hospital since late May and Anderson said the family hopes to have her home by Christmas.

During her time in Minnesota, community members around Minnesota, Caro and Kingston, have rallied for the family and have thrown fundraisers and prayed for Lauren’s recovery.

The flag, which will begin its tour in Minnesota, is a way of thanking everyone for their support.

“It’s our desire to make this flag available to the University of Minnesota Children’s Amblatz Hospital to be flown as a symbol of hope for all children, patients and families at the hospital,” Anderson said. “The University of Minnesota Children’s Amblatz Hospital has accepted the opportunity to fly the flag as a symbolic gesture of hope and courage to all and as a symbolic thank you to all the people of Minnesota.”

After five days the flag will return to Caro where it will be flown at the municipal building, as well as McComb Elementary School, where Lauren’s brother Landon attends first grade.

The flag will then travel to Kingston Elementary School where Colleen Hood is a teacher.

“The act of sharing the flag is our symbolic gesture of thanks to all of you out there who have helped Lauren Hood,” Anderson said. “God bless Lauren Hood and God bless America.”

Stacey Tucker is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. She can be reached at tucker@tcadvertiser.com.

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