WESTERVILLE (WCMH)–The family of 18-year-old Lauren Seitz, who died earlier this week after contracting a rare brain infection, is asking people to donate to her church and alma mater in her memory.
Her obituary lists a memorial music fund at Westerville South and a memorial scholarship fund at Church of the Messiah in Westerville.
Seitz died after contracting a brain-eating amoeba while swimming on a church trip. She had planned to attend Denison University, majoring in environmental science with a minor in music. In a statement, her father James said she loved the earth and music, and cared deeply about the welfare of the earth and the people she shared it with. He described her as kind and encouraging.
The statement in its entirety:
Our family is completely heartbroken and lost without Lauren. It is unacceptable that a person who loved nature so much, and was so passionate about environmental issues should be taken from us this way. These few words are inadequate for expressing how truly special she was, not just to our family, but to so many in our community. But we want people to know at least a little bit about her.
Lauren loved the earth: lush, green and growing. She used her talents as a writer, photographer, musician and composer to express the beauty she saw in our world, and call attention to the importance of little things. She cared about sustainable agriculture and providing people better access to healthy fresh food. She imagined a more humane world, and through simple kindness, caused her vision to ripple outward and become a little more real every day. She was completely untouched by cynicism, always gave the benefit of the doubt, and saw the best in every person.
In her college application essay she wrote, “I have always felt a profound respect and deep love for the earth . . . I want our planet’s future to be as amazing as its past, full of biodiversity and natural wonders. I want to protect the earth not because I think it is my duty, but because its existence simply confounds me.
Life on earth is so precious . . .”
Yes, Lauren. Yes it is.
We wish to thank the people of Church of the Messiah for their love and support, and also acknowledge with gratitude the tremendous outpouring of heartfelt condolences from our community and from people across the country who have heard our story.
We also thank the media for respecting our family’s privacy, and not requesting interviews or further comments.
There will be a celebration of life for Seitz at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, June 25, 2016 at The Church of the Messiah, 51 N. State Street, Westerville, Ohio.
The family also released information about the memorial funds set up in her memory:
At Lauren’s request, please do not send flowers. Instead, please consider a gift to either of the following funds that support the music she loved:
As a lasting tribute to her memory, her love of music, and the self-confidence and maturity that grew out of her experiences in the band program at Westerville South, her parents have established The Lauren Elisabeth Seitz Memorial Music Fund. Donations will be used to create an endowment that provides support benefiting all music programs at Westerville South in perpetuity. Make checks payable to “The Lauren Elisabeth Seitz Memorial Music Fund” and send to First Financial Bank, 780 South State St. Westerville, OH 43081. Or call the Westerville branch of First Financial Bank at 614-776-5300 and a banker will help you with your donation.
Lauren loved singing and playing handbells in the youth choirs at Church of the Messiah. Her experiences on tour with the choir this year were powerful and transformative. To help students with financial need participate in future tours, the church has established The Lauren Elisabeth Seitz – Youth in Mission Music Tour Scholarship Fund. Contributions can be made on-line at messiahumc.net/support/ or sent to Church of the Messiah, 51 N. State St. Westerville, OH 43081 with an indication in the memo line for the Lauren Seitz Memorial.
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