While there is no cure, there are treatments that can help. I thought it was only right to turn around and help others that may be dealing with a similar diagnosis.
Laura Anderson’s journey through life has taken her in some unexpected directions. Yet, at each turn Laura has found new opportunities--some of which led Laura to the service of others.
Laura grew up in Lakeland, Florida, the daughter of a Highway Patrol officer and a special education teacher. Her father had polio as a child and, as a result, her parents instilled in Laura an ethos of acceptance and looking out for others.
Laura and her husband Dave have been married for 25 years, and have two sons. Landon, age 24, an Aviation Structural Mechanic in Corrosion Control, who recently re-enlisted with the United States Navy and is stationed in California. Dawson, age 12, is in 7th grade at a performing arts school, with a penchant for the violin.
Dawson has an extremely rare immune disorder known as Common Variable Immune Disease (CVID), as well as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. His body doesn’t produce antibodies, which leaves him susceptible to all kinds of illnesses. While there is no cure for CVID, it is managed through an extensive treatment regimen.
“When you get this diagnosis, it is really scary,” Laura said. “You go on the internet and the only information is that there is no cure. But while there is no cure, there are treatments that can help. As I realized this and got more information I thought it was only right to turn around and help others that may be dealing with a similar diagnosis.”
Thus, for eight year Laura was a support resource for parents struggling to make decisions in the wake of finding out their child has a rare immune disorder, and she is still an advocate for families in the Lakeland area.
Laura is also involved with the Central Florida USO, participating in military Welcome Home events at the Tampa International Airport. The USO has created a private suite for military members and their families, where they can wait for flights when loved ones are leaving on deployments, or when they are returning home. USO members also greet families of fallen soldiers, or wounded warriors who are coming to Tampa for rehabilitation. Laura works hard to deliver a message of thanks to those who serve, like her older son Landon does.
“As a mom of a military child that I don’t get to see but once a year, if that, it’s my way of giving back,” Laura said. “Some of these service men and women haven’t seen parents in a long time and it’s really good to be there when they arrive home, give them a hug, say thanks, and ask if there is anything we can do to help now that they are home.”
It is her own life experiences that inspired Laura to lend a helping hand to other families traveling a similar path.
Laura is also an avid reader and likes to crochet and keep up with her two grandsons, ages 4 and almost 2. Her longtime friend Kellie Beverly, is joining her on the cruise!