Our Laps4Lucy fundraiser all began, with our son, Ray. A few months ago, he had an assignment for his 8th grade writing class. He wrote “Losing Lucy,” which he shared with us after it had been turned into his teacher. This came following a very difficult time for our family, in April, following many weeks of hospitalizations.

One by one, our family read Ray’s story, alone in different corners of the home, crying through his honest sharing of his feelings. Ray’s story has encouraged our family to openly discuss our feelings, as we know we draw nearer to “Losing Lucy.”

We would like to share his story with you:



“One man’s loss is so much to change his view of life”
“Life is a precise gift and should be cherished every second every day”
“Love is something that everyone has even if you deny it you still have it”
“Make every second on Earth count for something special or someone special”
Quotes: Ray Gaskill

Losing Lucy
My name is Peter I live in Creek Forest, Illinois. Me and my large family of fourteen live on the block of 601 Ashley Av. Or you could say that we are the only family on the block that doesn’t have a fence. My family members are: Phyllis, Kate, Jenny, Anne, Rose, Skye, Joy, Grace, Jane, Ellen, and Lucy. The boys are Dan, Ed, and Peter, or me. My parents are Bob and Catherine Gaskell. Our pets are Maggie (a black lab part German Sheppard), Molly (a pure bred golden retriever), Rocky and Sunny (my two toads), and the fish. Well there’s the whole gang but this story is really about the bond between Lucy and me. Lucy is my two-and-a-half year-old baby sister. Lucy is an African American, brown-haired, 50-pound, and is about 3 feet tall. She has a genetic disease called SCA7 (Spinocerebellar Ataxia 7) which will eventually shut down all her abilities to walk, see, talk, breathe, think, and pump blood to her heart thus killing her. But I’m only going to tell you about our bond and not the family’s bond with her even though it’s really strong. When I was in seventh grade I loved to run for the fun of it but when Lucy’s SCA7 kicked in I didn’t run for the fun of it, I ran to run away from my problems. After every time I ran I felt better and it really relieved me. But when she couldn’t walk any more I was astonished that there was such a ruthless disease like that. It took a lot out of her. But when winter hit I couldn’t run anymore because it was too cold outside and I had no access to the family treadmill. So I just spent more time with Lucy and that’s when our bond started to grow larger and larger. Then during that period of time we had our special times together. Like for instance the time Lucy and I were playing hide ‘n’ go seek I said it was her turn to find me and she said “MEEEE” but in a really low voice I thought it was hysterical! But on December 1, 2045 she stopped eating well with her mouth. When we went to the doctor’s office they said she needed to get a feeding tube (the food is a liquid that travels into a small tube and is connected to a button that goes into her stomach). During that period of time she had to stay in the hospital so around 5:00 am every day I went to the hospital with my mother and spent time with Lucy, The day she had to go into surgery I was there too and she went in at about 11:00am to 3:00pm until 3:10 pm her heartbeats had vanished. They said that she was being taken over by an ant sized tumor that they removed but was stuck to her nerve and when they removed it she went into shock and stopped functioning thus dying. After three long years of grief and sorrow I decided to start running again. But now I run for kids who have SCA7. We don’t only just run we get sponsored by stores and get paid for every mile we run. By making that money we help kids with SCA7 by using the money to buy tools to help research their disabilities and try to find a cure to get rid of this horrible disease. Hopefully though, in the future people will not have to lose such close relatives to them. But running is not just running to me, it’s like a super power because every time I run I see my baby sister Lucy. I will never ever forget my two and half baby sister Lucy Gaskell.

One Response to “Ray’s Story: “Losing Lucy””

  1. […] Lucy has a genetic disease called SCA7 (Spinocerebellar Ataxia 7) which will eventually shut down all her abilities to walk, see, talk, breathe, think, and pump blood to her heart thus killing her.   As if that isn’t heartwrenching enough – she is part of a large but very close foster family in Oak Park, and one of her brothers wrote a very touching story about her situation. […]

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