The nation grieved with the Graves last month when they tragically lost their 2-year-old son, Lane, to an alligator attack at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. Though there was plenty of parent-shaming going around initially, that was quickly squelched by an overwhelming display of compassion that poured in from parents around the world.
Moms posting pictures of their own children standing in the exact spot the toddler was snatched struck a chord with America as they sent the message: “That could’ve been any of us.”
Now, about a month after the incident, Matt and Melissa have decided to respond out of love rather than vengeance. They’ve made it clear in a statement released today that they won’t be suing Disney for the loss of their son.
Instead, they’re focusing their efforts on keeping his spirit alive through the Lane Thomas Foundation.
“It is our hope that through the foundation we will be able to share with others the unimaginable love Lane etched in our hearts,” they wrote.
The couple expressed they are deeply moved by the “outpouring of sympathy and warm sentiments” they’ve received from people across the globe, but understandably they are asking for privacy in this time as they are still healing from deep wounds.
Read their statement in full below that was released by their church, St. Patrick’s Parish, in Nebraska:
Melissa and I are broken. We will forever struggle to comprehend why this happened to our sweet baby, Lane. As each day passes, the pain gets worse, but we truly appreciate the outpouring of sympathy and warm sentiments we have received from around the world. We know that we can never have Lane back, and therefore, we intend to keep his spirit alive through the Lane Thomas Foundation. It is our hope that through the foundation we will be able to share with others the unimaginable love Lane etched in our hearts. In addition to the foundation, we will solely be focused on the future health of our family and will not be pursuing a lawsuit against Disney. For now, we continue to ask for privacy as we focus on our family.
“Losing Lane has broken our hearts in the worst possible way,” they shared on the foundation’s website. “While there is no way to mend our hearts, we can do good work in his honor.”
If you would like to honor Lane and contribute to his lasting legacy, you may donate to the foundation here. The Graves say they plan to use the funds “to make direct donations to various charitable organizations.”
May the peace of God that passes understanding be with this sweet family as they continue to mourn the loss of their son. Heaven gained an angel too soon, but he will not be forgotten. Our prayers are with you.