Coins for Kathryn: Cook Community Supports a Little Girl

By KBJR News 1

January 17, 2012 Updated Jan 17, 2012 at 1:10 PM CDT

COOK, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)--Kathryn Lofgren will turn four next month but will likely never walk or run.

She's diagnosed with 18 illnesses, the most severe being epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

Now, students at the North Woods elementary school in Cook are collecting coins for Kathryn to help alleviate the families extensive medical and transportation expenses.

Kathryn was the star in her oldest brother Cash's second grade classroom when he brought her in for show and tell.

His classmates were eager to get to know his little sister and had many questions.

"Can she draw? Does she have a wheel chair? Can she eat? Stuff like that," Cash Lofgren said.

"This just shows the kids what she's like," Dan Lofgren, Kathryn's Father said. "And you know, it takes away any mystery so you don't have to think about it, you can just say, oh, that's who she is."

Families in the community continue to show support as students collect money for the "Coins for Kathryn" fundraiser.

"Not just change and coins but dollars and $5," Denise Parson, a third grade teacher said. "And in fact, one of the fourth grade teachers said a girl in her classroom asked her mom if she could go to the bank and get $100 in pennies."

Kathryn takes about 14 medications daily and requires constant medical attention.

If the family isn't traveling to visit doctors, in home treatments have been focused on developing head and trunk control.

"We'd like to be able to keep her joints and her spasticity under control so that maybe she'd be able to sit more independently," Vicky Salmela, Kathryn's Occupational Therapist said. "She's up in a stander so that we make sure we stretch out all of her muscles, so that we don't get contractures because that's going to cause her more pain."

When she isn't in pain, Kathryn likes to play with her brothers.

"She's very happy, she has a lot of seizures and she smiles a lot when I read to her," Cash said.

"She affects most people she meets in a good way," Dan Lofgren said. "I mean they kind of slow down, kind of appreciate life a little bit and are kinda, you know, a little slower, a little kinder, a little quieter. "

A "Caring for Kathryn" spaghetti dinner benefit will take place on Jan. 29, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the North Woods school cafeteria.

The event will include a silent auction, raffles and bucket drawings.

Posted to the web: Jennifer Walch