THEN AND NOW: LORI MCGREW
Jan 18, 2018 09:33AM ● Published by Caitlin Marshall
In 2008, Travis and Lori McGrew learned they were expecting their first child. The young couple and their families were excited. They immediately named their little girl Madeline Nichole and began the normal phase of preparing for the new arrival. Then, during Lori’s routine 32-week ultrasound, the McGrew’s received disturbing news—their unborn baby had complications and several abnormalities. A few days later, the couple met with a specialist who ran additional tests and confirmed their worst fears—Madeline had a chromosome disorder called Trisomy 18.
Then they heard the words no parent ever wants to hear, “Trisomy 18 is not compatible with life,” and on June 3, 2009, Madeline Nicole was born directly into heaven.
Devastated by the loss and burdened with unexpected bills, Travis and Lori’s family and friends rallied around the couple with help and support. It was a huge comfort for the couple, but Lori felt they needed to do something to honor the memory of little Madeline as well as something to help other women and families who might suffer this same sort of loss. Extremely grateful for the support they received, the McGrew’s decided to pay it forward” and began Maddie’s Footprints, a non-profit organization that provides support to families coping with miscarriages, stillbirths, or the loss of an infant.
It was August of 2012 when we (FACE) featured Lori on its cover, Maddie’s Footprints was up and running and Lori was gaining her stride and making a difference in the community.
Today, Lori tells us life is good. She has two beautiful daughters [ages 7 and 4], is a Realtor® with Keaty Real Estate, and Chairwoman of the Board for Maddie’s Footprints.
“Five years ago, Maddie’s Footprints was barely off the ground. It was being run strictly by volunteers and myself—today, the non-profit is flourishing and has grown exponentially,” says Lori.
Before the organization took off, Lori was unable to pay volunteers and was forced to do much of the work herself. Thankfully, with their feet off the ground, Maddie’s Footprints now has a full-time staff, keeping the ship sailing smoothly, allowing her to continue her career as a real estate agent. In fact, selling homes is one of Lori’s biggest passions.
“I absolutely love helping people find and sell their homes!” she exclaimed. “It allows me the opportunity to help others in a different way.”
Lori was recently elected to serve on the Realtor Association of Acadiana’s Board of Directors. Her exuberant passions for both careers are evident. She began Maddie’s footprints in order to help those who have faced great pain and loss, and her real estate career is guided by her desire to assist people in making one of their life’s largest investments: a home.
With Maddie’s Footprints, Lori explained, the obvious need for an organization such as theirs excelled them forward, giving them the courage to start up the non-profit.
“When we lost Maddie, there was no one for us to turn to. My husband and I felt so alone,” Lori recalled.
Still today, Maddie’s Footprints is the only organization that focuses solely on helping and supporting the families who have lost a child younger than a year old. In 2012, the nonprofit was only able to pay for a portion of funeral expenses for families in need. Now, they are able to provide so much more.
Maddie’s Footprints now has a full-on support group that meets once a month and families have the option to pair up with other families for support. This type of buddy system keeps families from feeling isolated and alone during their grieving process. For those who don’t feel comfortable in a “support group,” setting, they host a once a month dinner for the moms.
Lori wants people to know that they aren’t just dishing out money and sending these families on their way. They keep in contact with and continue to provide any sort of emotional assistance they can.
“We have the resources now to truly help,” she shared. And that’s exactly what they do. Expanding across 10 parishes in South Louisiana, Maddie’s Footprints has impacted over 1,000 families.
“We didn’t come into this with a goal number” for obvious reason, Lori asserted, “but knowing we are able to help so many people? That’s what really matters.”
Maddie’s Footprints has many opportunities for residents to volunteer or support the organization: it holds two large events each year. Its fall event is 5K run and a birthday party for all the babies; in the spring, Maddie’s holds a large silent auction and Spring Gala, which is its formal event and a large-scale fundraiser for the organization.
To some, the fall event might seem like it would be sad, but “when you drive by River Ranch’s Town Square, it doesn’t look sad at all!” Lori said. These are supposed to be events to bring joy into people’s lives—a day of remembrance, not of mourning.
Due to her busy schedule, Lori doesn’t always have a significant amount free time, but she doesn’t let that hold her back from spending time with her two girls. Something not many people know about Lori is that she loves to sing. “My girls and I have dance parties and concerts all the time,” she added.
With her family, Maddie’s Footprints and her real estate career in full swing, Lori looks forward to what is to come each day and with her passion and drive, who knows what will come next.
For more information on Maddie’s Footprints visit www.maddiesfootprints.org
Read Lori's original cover story at https://issuu.com/FACEACADIANA/docs/face_august2012_small_web_final