Lelaina Jaymes Fitzsimons
A Life Full of Love and Kindness
A Short Life, Well Lived
An exuberant and inquisitive child, Lelaina Jaymes, “Laney”, spent the first few years of her life incredibly happy and healthy, seeing the world and taking in adventures with her family and friends.
Suddenly, in May 2016, at 3 years and 9 months old, with no prior signals of neurological disease, Laney started having mini-strokes due to an extremely rare and aggressive vascular condition affecting the brain. These were misdiagnosed as seizures and she was treated for epilepsy. Just two weeks after the first mini-stroke, Laney had her first of many massive strokes.
The last words that Laney ever said were in response to her mother saying “I love you.” Laney said, “I love you too.”
After she began having strokes, Laney lost most of her physical abilities — to walk, talk, eat, and play. It took every ounce of her strength and determination to muster these final words.
Laney worked so hard to get better after being discharged from the hospital. She endured months of intensive rehabilitation. She participated in speech, occupational, and physical therapy nearly every day. Every morning, she would sit on her bedroom floor with her mother and pick out her jewelry and clothes to wear to rehab.
Laney’s therapists fell in love with her quickly, and slowly but surely, she regained some of her abilities to play, as well as cognitive ability. Her smile and laugh would melt the heart of those around her.
Unfortunately, Laney suffered another acute stroke in December of 2016. This stroke wiped away most of the gains she had made from months in intensive rehab. In fact, Laney had new deficits after this stroke and lost certain vision and cognitive abilities.
Later that winter, Laney suffered additional strokes while being transported to Boston for her second critical brain surgery. Her condition became terminal. For the final months of her life, Laney was at home, surrounded by the love and affection of her parents.
Throughout the unspeakable pain and tragedy of these months, Laney continued to laugh, smile, and work to get better. Laney taught friends and strangers alike so much about life, love, perseverance, strength, heart, kindness and to never take things for granted.
We’ll all be forever changed because we were fortunate enough to know her and her journey.
A Legacy of Kindness
Lelaina Jaymes Fitzsimons succumbed to her illness on March 27, 2017.
Wise beyond her years and filled with love and kindness, Laney was always concerned with the betterment of those around her — from animals she saw out in the world to her family and friends. Through the work of the Laney Jaymes Foundation for Pediatric Stroke, Laney’s legacy of kindheartedness and consideration for others will live on.
More than anyone, Laney would be overjoyed to know that through her story and journey, she is the driving force to help the many children affected by pediatric stroke. It is with Laney’s spirit that we dedicate this foundation in her honor.