729
729
69

Jules Laurita-Smith

$121,671 of $250,000 goal

Raised by 1,057 people in 18 months
Prior to October 21, 2017, Jules was enjoying the happiest time in her life - on track to graduate high school a semester early (still did), enjoying a budding career as a singer/songwriter and singing and playing bass in a band (still is), working as a barista (sadly, not), accepted to college for fall of 2018, and generally loving life and being a healthy, positive, blossoming, joyful 17, now 18 year old.


A massive series of seizures landed her in the ER, and a suspicious MRI prompted transport to Children’s Hospital in Denver. Many more tests, and a subsequent biopsy revealed a diagnosis of a cancerous glioma brain tumor, mostly in her right frontal lobe. At first deemed inoperable, many second opinions, sent out across the country and even to Europe, suggested otherwise. After a trip to NYC to meet with a specialist, many more tests, consults and an enormous amount of conflicting and varying information and opinions, she was able to get on the schedule of a neurosurgeon in Denver, Dr. Kevin Lillehei, who removed most of the tumor on 12/8. 


She was a “rockstar” going in, during, and after the surgery with amazing courage and a sense of humor throughout. She did so well, she was discharged in three days and was able to begin recovering at home, celebrating her 18th birthday, graduating, and enjoying the holidays, her favorite time of the year. 


Unfortunately, cancerous tumor is still present in areas that could not be touched by surgery. The treatment plan is being formulated with radiation and chemotherapy stretching over the next year.  Outside assistance with nutrition and supplemental therapies and a procedure that will protect her fertility will need to be paid for ‘out-of-pocket’.  In addition, possible inclusion in clinical trials are being explored around the country, none of which will be covered by insurance and can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

This gofundme page was set up by a dear and supportive friend and the overwhelming support thus far has helped tremendously, though we are now discovering that this is barely the start of what is going to be a very, very long and complicated journey.


So much of what is required to beat this cancer and ensure that Jules blesses the world with her amazing spirit through a full and long life, is unfortunately, NOT covered by insurance, and so we humbly and so greatly appreciate any and all support so we can give her the best opportunity to fight this and for us to be able to focus on what is most important- Jules and her full recovery.


Please share this link.  

With deepest gratitude.

+ Read More
Hello everyone-
Today I received this:

Good morning Dona. I doubt you know who I am but i knew Jules in high school and was in theatre with her as well as directing a one act she was in in 2016. I wasnt her best friend but I did talk to her enough to see how much of a beautiful soul she had and just how good of a person she was. I'm deeply saddened by her passing and want to offer my condolences. I cant even begin to comprehend the pain of losing a child and truly wish you didnt have to go through that pain. I dont have much money but if there is anything I can do to help your family, please let me know. Jules was such a beautiful person and I will forever remember and cherish the short time I spent with her.

* * *

It has been five heartbreaking weeks since my daughter died. Yes. My daughter died. It is so hard to write these words. Through this excruciatingly difficult time of grief, I’m comforted when people reach out and share stories, a meal, some support. We still want to stay connected with our community, all of you who have held us closely through all of this. Grieving takes longer than five weeks or even five months. It is a relief to feel your loving kindness...Thank you
+ Read More
Tribute from Julietta’s teacher grades 1-3:

Over the last days I have been placing my memories of Julietta and then feeling deep sadness thinking of her passing. I am not sure how you all are doing this with such grace but I am so struck by your eloquence and your ability to share your experience so thoroughly with all of us. As heartbreaking as this whole thing has been, everything you have shared has helped me - thank you.

I have scoured memories in my mind, trying to place Jules' as she was during our time together. And while I know she grew so much in the last years (I can tell this by all that you have shared), I believe her essence was the same. Nineteen year old Jules' was so familiar to me, so much the same - exactly how I thought she would be in all of the most wonderful ways. You must be so proud to have been her family through all her life and through this.

This weekend I pulled out a scrap book that was made for me at the end of our three years together. Jules' entry is the very last one in the book - the page is covered with pressed flowers, amazing how they are still perfectly there on the page after all this time. I watched the slideshow we put together to celebrate our time together. You can tell how dear community, friends and her teachers were to her. Her light, her essences, her spirt were all right there. Though this brought me deep sorrow, it was so important for me to remember her this way.

I distinctly remember meeting Jules' and you, Dona before school started as you helped me set up my classroom for my very first year of teaching. Jules was running around full force with Raphael. She had such an angelic look but was truly a force to be reckoned with. She went through a phase where she kept pinching the boys, trying to get them to stop bugging her. She always knew what she wanted.

In looking through my email for your address a few weeks ago, I discovered a letter I wrote to Jules' for her 13th birthday - I adored her and I knew how smart she was, a truly gifted soul. She sincerely holds a special place in my heart - even after all these years and so many other sweet and special little ones. What a gift it was for me to spend so many simple days with her.

I wanted to share with you a tribute I wrote that we will be sending out in the BCSIS newsletter. I have also attached scans from the scrapbook I mentioned above - her writing broke my heart but also helped me find my own grief. I am glad to have access to my feelings of sorrow. I am so glad I was able to find it. So glad that I kept it. The tribute is below and I have attached the pages from the scrapbook as well as the photos we used for the tribute --- whenever you are ready to see them.

All my love and sorrow,

Emily

BCSIS Tribute:

Last week our community received some deeply sad news that a former BCSIS student, Julietta Laurita Smith passed away after a brave battle with brain cancer. As members of a community working to guide children, watching them grow and dreaming of their futures, I am sure you share in our grief whether or not you knew Jules and her family. The Laurita-Smith family were pillars in our community from Jules' 1st day in kindergarten in 2005 to Nikolai's 5th grade graduation in May, 2016. Dona, Jules' mom took our beautiful school photos while her children were at BCSIS and Nikolai, Jules' brother was also one of our bright and dynamic students.
Jules' was a true BCSIS kid - smart, witty, artistic and an asker of the deep questions. She was community oriented, even as a young child and she loved her friends and teachers. I found a note that Jules' wrote as a third grader and when talking about her class at BCSIS she said, " it's like I went through a know-a-lot machine!!! I enjoyed our community discussions, I liked the way I felt when I participated in activities that everyone was a part of".
If you would like to support this family through this unimaginably hard time, there are many ways to do so - please email Emily, emily.clay@bvsd.org for more information.
+ Read More
The urge to write nearly three weeks after my beautiful daughter has died is still with me. I talk with “my”audience, with her, to myself about her and in some strange, unfamiliar way it seems as though she may still be here. Grief is so heavy. I’ve never had a feeling like this as I’ve never loved and lost like this. The sympathy cards outnumber the bills that I receive in the mailbox. Yesterday was the first time I have been alone since the tsunami hit on 10/21/17. Everyone has left. Gone back to their lives. There has been so much loving support around us. But, like Julietta’s beating heart that I heard inside of me twenty years ago...it stopped. The feeling of holding her for hours encouraging her to let go and when she finally did, my head was on her chest and then there was no more sound. No more Julietta Luna Natalia. No heavy, labored breath. No beating heart. Just her beautiful, young, perfect body that got taken from her, from all of us because of this awful disease on March 4th. March Fourth. How does one march forth into their lives after such a howling, great loss?

I will continue to write. To stay connected with one of the strands that helped weave something of illusory comfort. I will continue to share her story.

So many of you ask what you can do for me. For us. Please stay connected. If you want to bring a meal, contribute to helping with vast expenses (including...ugh, grief therapy), act as an “Uber” cause the world still seems so uncomfortably foreign, just know everything helps and your loving support during this deep time of immeasurable grief is still so appreciated and needed.
+ Read More
Thank you beautiful community that continues to support us in all the ways that you have. I will continue to share Julietta’s story with all of you as we grieve her loss. Your loving ways of holding & helping us is unmeasurable. Julietta told me that she wanted to have a party for everyone that has helped us. I am working on just that. Now it is quiet-a time for mourning & grief. Thank you for continuing to think of our needs at this time in all of the creative & practical ways you do...
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update

$121,671 of $250,000 goal

Raised by 1,057 people in 18 months
Your share could be bringing in donations. Sign in to track your impact.
   Connect
We will never post without your permission.
In the future, we'll let you know if your sharing brings in any donations.
We weren't able to connect your Facebook account. Please try again later.
$1,000
Anonymous
10 days ago
$50
Ehdi Volk-Nishimoto
14 days ago
$50
Laura Michaelis-Cummings
15 days ago
$50
Anonymous
29 days ago
$25
Anonymous
29 days ago
$50
Tara Powers
1 month ago
$25
Anonymous
1 month ago
$100
Anonymous
1 month ago
$500
Anonymous
1 month ago
$100
Anonymous
1 month ago
or
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now Not now
Connect on Facebook to keep track of how many donations your share brings.
We will never post on Facebook without your permission.