Hundreds of teal and white balloons drifted into a clear sunset June 14 as family and friends of Elizabeth Eidson remembered their lost loved one, who died at age 16 in an October car accident on her way to class at Russellville High School.
About 300 people gathered at the Celebration of Life Fundraiser for the Elizabeth Eidson Memorial Fund at 6 p.m. on the High Point R-3 softball field. Participants released 275 balloons — some teal for Elizabeth's favorite color and the others were white for all parents who have lost a child.
Elizabeth is remembered as an energetic, caring individual who brought joy to many people in her life. Her loved ones celebrated her life with music, fun and a little karaoke.
Elizabeth's mother, Robin Eidson, said she greatly appreciated all of the help the family received in holding the celebration. Dozens of friends, acquaintances and even complete strangers from Russellville, High Point, California and Eldon took part in preparing for or holding the event.
"We've had a lot of help," Robin said. "It's been great community involvement. I still randomly get cards in the mail from strangers or anonymously with just words of encouragement and prayer."
Rochelle Eidson — Elizabeth's sister, event coordinator and High Point R-3 special education teacher — said they easily exceeded the $1,000 goal to fill the Elizabeth Eidson Scholarship Fund, which the family hopes to annually award to a student to help pay for their plans after high school, whether it be higher education, the armed services or the work force.
Participants raised money by selling #Love4Lizzie T-shirts, memorial bracelets, concessions and holding an auction, which included gift cards for area businesses, a custom-decorated dresser and other items. The shirts are still available for $10 by contacting email@example.com.
Elizabeth's former boyfriend and winner of the first memorial scholarship, Liam Davis, publicly unveiled his original tune, "Lizzie's Song," a mournful country number written shortly after Elizabeth's passing. He will be using the scholarship funds to help pay for attending the United States Coast Guard.
"We set it up so they can use it for anything," Robin said. "If they are going to go work at McDonald's after high school and that's their career, they can buy uniforms and put gas in their car. I think what Liam is going to do is help his parent's travel to his boot camp graduation."
Liam, a recent high school graduate, said he was very appreciative of receiving the scholarship. He enjoys writing original songs and hopes to develop as a musician, but he was a little nervous about performing his song for Elizabeth.
"One of her favorite qualities was my musical abilities," Liam said. "There would be some days where she would ask me to play her something, so I figured it would be a good way to honor who she was and use that to embrace her."
Liam knew he needed to push through his nerves to perform the song, because he knew Elizabeth was watching from up above. As the chorus goes, "I hope you're doing well up there. I know you're watching down on us, and while we are stuck down here, we will be thinking about you. And all the times that we had, all the good and the bad, no matter what we do, we will always be thinking of you."