BEAUREGARD, Ala. (WSFA) - What started off as a way to get birthday cards for a Beauregard resident who lost nearly everything in the March 3 storms, has grown into so much more.
Kayla Grimes will be celebrating her 12th birthday on July 17. This birthday will be bittersweet after losing her dad, soon-to-be stepmother, and her best friend in the tornadoes in March. She was also critically injured herself.
Now she’s healing, both physically and emotionally and her community has rallied around her.
“From going though such a horrible tragedy, I feel greatly appreciated,” Kayla said.
It started with Cards for Kayla, which is an effort to get people from all over the country to send Kayla a card for her birthday. Then, Alicia McLeod found out about Kayla and wanted to do more.
She started Karing 4 Kayla, a fundraising event to help take care of Kayla’s medical bills. Kayla was on her dad’s insurance when he died in the storm, and now her medical bills are piling up.
“The idea behind it is to raise money to help with Kayla’s medical bills, because there’s a glitch in the insurance, there’s a delay in everything," said McLeod. “It just keeps mounting and mounting and mounting. They need help now. They’re great people and they’ve lost so much.”
Now, there will be a massive fundraiser at the Lee County Fairgrounds on July 20 from 9:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. There will be concessions, face painting, inflatables, live music and more. Money raised will go to help pay for Kayla’s ongoing medical expenses.
“I’m hoping we’ll have a lot of participation here. People will come out and they’ll spend money, because it is a fundraiser," said McLeod. "It’s going to be a great time, lots and lots of fun. But from my standpoint, it’s get the people out here, let them have a good time and they’ll spend money on that and the money can help Kayla so its a win win situation for everybody.”
Kayla and her mom say that they are looking forward to it as a way to further celebrate Kayla’s birthday. Through it all, she’s grateful for the support.
“Thank you and I love each and every one of you,” Kayla said.
Volunteers and donations are still needed to help the fundraiser be a success. Anyone wanting to get involved is encouraged to contact Alicia McLeod at 334-740-1991.
If you are interested in sending Kayla a card, cards can be sent to:
Kayla Grimes 1277 Lee Road 119 Opelika, AL 36804.