Lauren Roffers tragically passed away on October 15, 2004
at the age of 23. She left behind grieving parents Jill and Rob Roffers,
a younger brother Jared, grandparents, and a 3 year old son Christian.
Lauren's mother, Jill Roffers, decided that she
couldn't let Lauren's birthday pass this year without a celebration.
As Lauren's grandfather, Bill, told us:
Since Lauren was a little girl her birthdays were
pretty big days. No matter what kind of party she had she would
always come around the next day with a plan for the next year
and a new gift list. It became so annoying that her parents made
a new rule that she could not talk about her next birthday until
30 days before. She always followed this rule. Even last year
she called her grandmother 30 days before her birthday to talk
about it. We knew we had to do something special to continue to
celebrate July 30th, her birthday. Jill wanted to call it the
Love, Lauren Celebration as that is how Lauren always signed things.
Then Jill wrote to us and continued the story:
You think you know your kids, and what they are
like, but when someone dies, people come from everywhere to share
their stories....and one thing rang out: Lauren gave and gave
and gave. She would give her last dime to someone who needed it.
She was a feisty, strong, independent young woman who was afraid
of nothing. She was gifted and beautiful, and never entered a
room unnoticed. She was never diagnosed with bipolar disorder,
but I think she may have had it mildly. Her death, however, was
But my son, Lauren's younger brother, was diagnosed
over two years ago with bipolar disorder. I just felt I had
to raise awareness about this illness while we celebrated her
When Jill told us at JBRF that she was planning the
event in honor of Lauren on her birthday, and that she and her family
wanted JBRF materials to give out, and to give the money to support
JBRF's research, we were so touched. We wanted to know everything
about the celebration so we could be a part of it. Jill said:
We sent out the invitations, and let people know
we needed items for the silent auction. At first reservations
trickled in.......but what happened from there was nothing short
of a miracle. Reservations came flying in--checks and donations
appeared in the mail or my doorstep every day--and the items for
the auction started to fill my dining room.
The day before the auction, some of my family
came in from Eau Claire, Wisconsin and Minnesota, all bearing auction
items. Another friend from Minnesota loaded up a trailer with a
riding lawn mower, oak table and chairs, and a stove. We had airline
tickets and Harley Davidson leather jackets and riding goggles.
We had gift baskets, art, Paul McCartney tickets, Packer tickets,
and even rolls of sod (I guess it doesn't get any more grass roots
than that!)). We had something for everyone, and the band that played
for the event, Von Din, played for free.
We designed T-shirts and everyone wore heart
stickers in honor of Lauren. You asked about the "theme."
We are keeping the hearts and roses, and her favorite colors, purple
and red. When she was a baby her Granny Pat called her "my
little rosebud" and made her many outfits in lavender roses.
We had 24 red roses there for her 24th birthday.
One of the highlights of the party was when Christian
was on stage with Jill and his grandfather, Bill, drawing names for
door prizes. Unplanned, Christian took the mike and thanked everyone
for coming to the party. That brought a few tears along with the applause,
Jill told us.
sent our organization wonderful photos of the event, we were curious
about the flags that we saw in several of the jpegs. We found that
they came from a state representative who had them flown over the
state capitol in Wisconsin. The plaque the family was given read:
This United States flag was flown over the Wisconsin
State Capitol in honor of Lauren Kay Roffers and the 1st Annual
"Love, Lauren" Celebration, an event to recognize the
life and charitable spirit of Lauren Roffers and the fundraiser
for the Juvenile Bipolar Research Foundation".
Jill and her family decided not to auction the two
flags "My parents got one," she said, "and I will
display the other in my son's bedroom that is done in a patriotic
We, at JBRF, are so honored to have been the recipients
of the proceeds of the First Annual, Love Lauren Event. We are in
awe of the Roffers and all the families who have heroically decided
to fight this illness, and to turn something so tragic into something
so shining and good.
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