In Memoriam

We Have Been So Blessed

to meet so many different families through our charity

Alexis Drumm


Alexis Drumm

Haven Marie-Ann Ledford

Haven Marie-Ann Ledford, a 2015 Grin Kid entered into eternal rest on Tuesday, January 7, 2020 at the tender age of thirteen. She was feisty and clever, outspoken yet confident, loyal and true. Haven was not the typical “girly-girl” robed in shimmering shades of Pepto-Bismol and rainbow-colored tutus adorned with sequins. Her striking beauty was unmasked and plain, radiating out from behind her soulful blue eyes. She was alarmingly self-aware for a child of so little experience and throughout her illness, maintained a strength uncharacteristic of a tween. We will miss you Haven!

Matthew O’Neal Ledbetter

Matthew O’Neal Ledbetter, 11, of Newton passed away unexpectedly in his parents’ arms on Monday, November 25, 2019 at Duke Children’s Hospital in Durham.

He was born November 25, 2008 in Forsyth County to Neal and Misty Ledbetter. Matthew was a student at Conover School and attended Olivet Baptist Church and The Cove Church online. Matthew was a sweet boy and loved by many.

Brickelle Harper

Brickelle Elaine Harper, age 12, departed this life on March 24, 2019. She is survived by her mother, Dena Harper; father, Allen Harper; brother, Camden Harper; grandparents, Janice Nabors and Mike and Pam Harper; and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.

Tanner Evan Roberson (2011 Grin Kid)

Tanner Evan Roberson was born Dec. 27, 2004, and left us at the age of 12. He had completed sixth grade and enjoyed attending soccer games, football games and band contests. He loved being in the pool, going on walks, being outside, taking trips, watching hockey and football on TV and listening to all types of music. He also loved Disney World.

Brooke Kaydence Haire (2016 Grin Kid)

Born on November 25, 2009 passed away March 14th at the age of 7 years due to complications with a surgery. Brooke was an angel on earth. She was fun, sassy, sweet spirited, competitive and taught us all how to love a little more. We know she is dancing and singing her little heart out in heaven. RIP Brooke.

Hazen T. Woodring

September 26, 2003 – May 6, 2016

Mr. Hazen Thomas Woodring, age 12, of Jefferson and formerly of Boone, passed away Friday, May 6, 2016 at the Ashe County Hospital. Hazen was born September 26, 2003 in Buncombe County. He was a member of Faith Bridge Methodist Church. Hazen was a blessing to anyone who knew him. He had an infectious smile and touched the hearts of everyone he met. He was the poster child for happiness. He had many teachers, therapists, and classmates who became family to him. Hazen loved to snuggle, eat cheesecake, watch fireworks, and listen to music – his favorite was anything by Johnny Cash.

Andrew Murray

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of one of our very own 2013 Grin Kids, Andrew Murray today. Your smile was infectious and something we will never forget. Our hearts go out to the Murray family & friends. – Ace & TJ


August 4, 2003 – April 19, 2014

Jackson “Jack Jack” Crawford was born on August 4, 2003. Due to medical errors made shortly following his birth, he suffered severe brain damage and was expected not to make it through the first 24 hours. The medical team told his mom not to expect anything from him if he did survive……boy were they ever wrong!!

Jack Jack had a laundry list of diagnosis, but his major ones were Extrapyramidal Cerebral Palsy, Intractable seizure disorder, trach/G-tube dependency, Scoliosis, Reactive Airway Disease, and Osteoporosis.

His mom, Susie, raised him alone for the first four years of his life, which included countless surgeries and hospitalizations. Then she met an amazing Marine named Jeremy who fell in love with Jack Jack and his mommy. As soon as they married, Jeremy adopted Jack Jack and he and mommy gave Jack Jack two baby brothers. His brother Olly quickly became Jack Jack’s best friend

Jack Jack was able to find so much joy through all of his struggles, and there were very few times in his short life when he didn’t have a huge grin plastered on his beautiful face. The things in life that brought the most joy to him were music, movies, and fireworks! Jack was hard of hearing and mostly blind, but you would never have known it by the look on his face. He was wise beyond his years and to him, being in a wheelchair was no disability at all.

He was given one of the biggest gifts in life when he was picked to be a Grin Kid in 2008 and got to go to Disney World. His mommy and daddy cried with joy every moment of that trip with him because for once he wasn’t being stared at or being treated as less of a member of society. But rather treated like true royalty. He met some rather amazing friends on that trip and stayed in close contact with those families in the following years.

It wasn’t long after that trip that his mommy and daddy got the devastating news that Jack’s scoliosis was progressing and due to the weakness of his bones, the doctors were unable to do anything to correct it.

In September of 2013, his degree of curvature in his back became so severe that his breathing was being affected so that he was put on a ventilator to help him. Did this slow him down? HA!! Nope! In true Jack style, he kept right along with school, church, and family as he always did, with a huge smile on his face.

However, in March of 2014, the doctors discovered that his scoliosis had shifted his heart behind his left lung and every beat of his heart was putting major strain on his lung and vice versa. Even the ventilator could not help him. He was sent home from the hospital on “comfort care” measures with a DNR order. There was little time left. But his mommy, daddy and the rest of his family spent every moment enjoying every smile, sound and moment with Jack Jack.

On April 19, 2014 at 8:11AM, Jack Jack earned his angel wings at home in the arms of his mommy and his daddy holding his hands. He did not struggle, nor cry. He did what Jack always did, he gave his mommy one last huge “Jack smile” and closed his eyes.

Jack Jack was a huge shining star to anyone who was lucky enough to meet him. He taught so many people about true courage, joy and unconditional love. Though he only had 10 years on this earth, he is still teaching people how to appreciate every second you are given from his seat in heaven.

His mommy and daddy never got to hear his earthly voice, but there was never a doubt as to the level of love he had in his heart.

Isabella Wylie

January 31, 2006 – January 24, 2014

Isabella “Bella” Wylie was born at 26 weeks gestation with her twin sister, Brianna on January 31, 2006. Due to being so premature, it was an uphill battle from the start. Brianna passed at 11 days due to a blood infection. Bella got sick the same day, so the doctors told her mom and dad the outcome would possibly not turn out well for her. However, after being transported to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem, Bella took a turn for the better! She received a PDA heart surgery to correct a defect and had a feeding tube placed because of severe reflux issues. After 3 1/2 months, Bella was diagnosed for severe Cerebral Palsy and brain bleeds called PVL. The doctors told her mom and dad she would never walk or talk. But they were just glad to have her there, alive, and ready to finally come home, regardless of her trials. She came home on May 13, 2006.

Bella just like any other baby except for the tube feedings and all kinds of doctors appointments. She started PT/OT therapy early on and loved all her new friends she made in those journeys. She especially loved her Pre-K Class she went to when she turned 4. She only went 2 days a week, but the other children treated her like royalty. They would push her around in her chair, play dress up, and read to her. She was the star! She even received the “Teddy Bear Award” for most loved that year on awards day!

In October 2013, Bella got to on a once in a lifetime trip to Disney because of Ace & TJ and the radio family! Bella, her mom, and Chris had so much fun! They created special memories and got to see alot of cool stuff that they weren’t financially able to do. The best part was riding the tea cups with her mom. It was her first amusement ride and she had a blast! Mom made some new friends too and stayed in touch with them after the trip.

On January 24, 2014, Bella spoke her first words and took her first steps in Heaven. She passed peacefully in her sleep. Earlier that day, Bella and her mom got to spend the whole day together. They watched her favorite cartoons, listened to her music, and she even got a new hairdo! Not knowing later that night everything would change, they had a perfect day.

Bella or Bella-Boo was she was known, was a huge personality in a small body. She made everyone a better person by just knowing her. There is no doubt Bella was special. She was an angel and love of her mom’s life. Now she dances with Jesus.

“She was planted on Earth to bloom in Heaven”–Author Unknown

© 2020 Ace & TJ's Grin Kids