Bio: Strangfeld, Sierra/Lee - ‘Smiling for Samuel’ Found. (2020)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 2/12/2020
Community to ‘Smile for Samuel’ (Non-profit – 2020)
Community to ‘Smile for Samuel’
By Valerie Brecht
Through a lot of heartache and tears, Sierra and Lee Strangfeld of Christie have gone on a journey they never expected. Now they are seeking to help others going through the same circumstances and to keep “Smiling for Samuel.”
After the couple’s loss of their newborn son Samuel last fall due to a rate condition known as Trisomy 18, Sierra donated her breast milk to help babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. Sierra’s story went viral and inspired many. After that, Lee and Sierra decided they wanted to establish a non-profit to help families who have children with Trisomy 18 as well as families suffering from infant loss. They established Smiling for Samuel, a non-profit organization, on Jan. 17 and are excited to be hosing their first formal fundraiser soon.
On Saturday, March 14, “Cutting for a Cause!” will take place in the Neillsville High School auditorium from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Four stylists will give haircuts for adults and kids, and there will be purple feather hair extensions available upon request. Proceeds will go to Smiling for Samuel.
Why a cut-a-thon?
“We’ve done a couple cut-a-thons through the salon already,” said Sierra, who works at Family Roots hair Salon in Christie. “Cutting hair is something I’m good at, so I can give back that way.”
Even if people aren’t interested in getting a haircut, there are other ways to participate. There will be a variety of raffle baskets, a 50/50 raffle and a bake sale. Also, “DJ Matteo,” Matt Coulthard, will provide music and share some information about Trisomy 18.
According to Trisomy 18.org, “Trisomy refers to cells having three copies of a chromosome. When three copies of any one of the chromosomes are present, rather than the normal two, the outcome is 47 chromosomes in the cell, instead of the usual 46. In the case of trisomy 18 and 13, this extra chromosome results in congenital malformations, serious developmental and motor delays, and a high incidence of mortality.”
Trisomy can occur with any chromosome, but the most well-known syndromes are Trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome), Trisomy 18 (Edwards Syndrome) and Trisomy 13 (Patau Syndrome).
March is Trisomy Awareness Month, so the fundraiser will be an opportunity to make people aware of Trisomy 18, 13 and related disorders, and the challenges these conditions pose to individuals and families.
Businesses and individuals are encouraged to donate raffle items or baked goods to the fundraiser.
“We’ve already had a lot of businesses donate items,” said Sierra. “They don’t know how to help our hurting hearts, but this is something that they can do. It’s encouraging to see the community support.”
One recent example of community support came from the alumni volleyball tournament. Every year, tournament organizers choose a local cause to support with the money from player registration. This year, they chose Smiling for Samuel and raised $316.
“We are grateful and proud to be part of this amazing community,” Sierra wrote in a Facebook post about the donation. “We’ve had a lot of local people coming forward to ask if they could support Smiling for Samuel in future events,” she added.
The money raised from the cut-a-thon specifically will be used to provide support materials such as books and memory boxes to parents with critically ill babies. If a family should happen to experience infant loss, Sierra would like to use the funds to pay for a funeral, to alleviate at least one burden for the family in a difficult time.
Smiling for Samuel will likely host additional fundraisers as the organization continues to grow. An additional fundraiser that is ongoing is the Smiling for Samuel apparel sale. Go to bonfire.com and search “Smiling for Samuel” to order.
People may just show up on March 14 to get a haircut, but they may also reserve an appointment ahead of time by calling Family Roots at 715-743-4548. Raffle items and bake sale items are also being accepted through Friday, March 13 and may be dropped off at the salon.
Sierra is looking forward to this first fundraiser and giving people a chance to get involved.
“People are excited … It will be a good event to establish ourselves and show people what we’re all about, and then I think people will be even more excited.”
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