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Austin Mom Layla Fry Fundraises For Children In Memory Of Her Son

By Southwest Key on 04/01/2014 @ 05:54 AM

Tags: Children's Promise, Community Empowerment, EA College Prep, East Austin, Education, Events, Fundraising

Layla Fry with her husband Joe Maloney and son, Gus.

Layla Fry with her husband Joe Maloney and son, Gus.

East Austin College Prep raised over $8,000 during the 2nd annual Amplify Austin event, a 24-hour, web-based, festival of giving that took place March 20-21st, 2014. Southwest Key Communications and Web Manager Layla Fry raised over $3,000 of that amount on her personal Amplify page by sharing her personal story of loss this year.

Fry had big plans for 2014. Her second child was due on New Year’s Eve and 2014 was to be filled with all sorts of changes including maternity leave and caring for a newborn along with her four year-old son Gustavo. But then the unexpected happened. A complication with her pregnancy meant Fry’s baby boy, named Rocket by his older brother, was stillborn.

Layla with Gus at Southwest Key’s annual Posada celebration in December 2013.

Layla with Gus at Southwest Key’s annual Posada celebration in December 2013.

“It’s been a tough year,” Fry wrote on her Facebook page. “I should have been celebrating my 35th birthday drowsy, unkempt, with a 2 month-old in my arms. His death was so backward–a contradiction of what we expect in life: death before birth, stillness replaces movement; birth becomes an ending instead of a beginning.

So this year I am focused on celebrating the children who are in my life.”

Fry works year round to provide communications support to East Austin College Prep, but this time the message she’s spreading is truly personal.

“This page is in memory of my son, Rocket Maloney,” the first line of her Amplify Austin page reads. “You honor him by helping our children at East Austin College Prep achieve their dreams.”

The kids at EAPrep come from an underserved part of Austin where the drop out rate is 50% and unemployment is three times higher than other parts of the city. EAPrep is a free, public charter school that provides extended teacher hours, free tutoring and promises that, if a student wants to go to college, the school and its support staff will get them there.

Fry’s willingness to share her personal loss on behalf of others touched many hearts and she quickly surpassed her fundraising goal of $1,000 before raising a total of $3,174.

“It is very healing to know that [Rocket’s] death can have some meaning for other children,” Fry said. “To see something good come from something horrible.”

Thanks to the generosity of all who participated, a total of $8274 was raised for EAPrep during Amplify Austin. Other employees of Southwest Key and EAPrep who created personal webpages to fundraise were East Austin College Prep Superintendent Dr. Joe Gonzales, Southwest Key El Presidente/CEO Dr. Juan Sánchez, Southwest Key CFO Melody Chung, Southwest Key Development Associate Angela Drake, Southwest Key Director of Strategic Initiatives and Special Assistant to El Presidente/CEO Leo Ramirez, and Southwest Key Multimedia Specialist Lizzie Chen.

You can still donate to East Austin College Prep at the Amplify Austin website or through EAPrep’s website.

The children sang at the doors of neighborhood homes as they commemorated St. Joseph and the expectant Virgin Mary’s search for lodging in Bethlehem.

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