Our story began over 30 years ago in upstate New York when Lauren Dapice, then 3 years old, began having health issues. Lauren had three kidney transplants, lymphoma, kidney disease, a pulmonary embolism and many other ailments and illnesses during her 23 years of life. Her mother, Denise (Dapice) Sears was at Lauren’s side throughout her life as she battled one health issue after another. Lauren loved children and wanted to use her experiences to help other children facing health issues, but never was well enough herself to fulfill her dream.
Denise is the President/CEO of SOS, and in September 2018, Denise and her husband, Barry Sears, traveled to Nigeria, Ghana and Uganda to visit doctors and facilities that had received medical supplies and equipment from SOS, and to meet with others wanting future shipments. They saw first hand the results obtained with these supplies and equipment. They saw sight restored to nearly 50 people in one day at an eye clinic in Ghana after the people had received cataract surgery that involved some of the equipment and supplies sent to the clinic.
They also visited a remote village in northwestern Uganda where a new clinic has been constructed that received equipment and supplies in a container shipped there. The clinic was the idea of Bishop Kiiza Sibayirwa Thomas and named in honor of his mother -- the Mama Sabina Community Health Center – Kisebere.
When Bishop Tom spoke with Denise about obtaining a container of supplies and equipment for the clinic and a new Maternal and Child Ward, he learned the story of Lauren and her love of children. He then decided to honor Lauren and name the Maternal and Child Health Care Ward after her.
During Denise and Barry’s visit to Uganda, the Lauren Dapice Maternal-Child Health Care Ward was officially dedicated. While visiting the village of Kisebere, Denise and Barry were struck by the overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy exhibited by the children there, but they were also struck by the poverty and unhealthy conditions that exist in the village.
After their visit, Denise and Barry knew they couldn’t just go back home and do nothing. Denise worked hard to make sure that the container got sponsored and sent to Kisebere. Barry doesn’t work for SOS, but felt compelled to do something else to help these children.
Bishop Tom and Barry talked about what else could be done to help the children and came up with the idea of forming a non-profit organization to allow people to sponsor a child or children in the village to pay school fees, provide school supplies, school uniforms and a meal at the school in Kisebere.
Since returning from the trip, Barry worked to set up Lauren’s Kisebere Children’s Foundation with the goal of changing the lives of the children in that village. The Foundation will help them get the education they need to make a difference in their own village and make their future brighter.
To provide sponsors for the children of Kisebere village in Uganda so that they may have their school fees paid, school supplies, school uniforms, clothing, meals and other essentials to help with their physical and spiritual needs.
Board of Directors
Barry has worked in the legal field for over 25 years as a Paralegal and Litigation Support Specialist. Barry serves as the Elder of his church and has served in leadership roles in his church for many years.
Barry traveled with his wife, Denise, to Uganda in September 2018 and saw the extreme poverty and lack of clean water and other resources in the rural village of Kisebere. When he returned from the trip, he worked on the formation of Lauren’s Kisebere Children’s Foundation and currently serves as President.
Denise is President & CEO of SOS, a global health non-profit that recovers surplus medical supplies in the United States and redistributes them to medically impoverished communities around the world.
Since the passing of Lauren in 2012, she has worked in the non-profit field focused on breaking the cycle of poverty through education and improved health. Her personal mission is to save the lives of children and prevent their mothers from knowing the loss of a child.
LKCF Board Member
Tracy Patton is the co-founder and Pastor of New Beginnings Church. She is also the founder & President of Tracy Patton Ministries.
Tracy has college degrees in Criminal Justice and Social Work, and enjoyed 18 years of service in the social work field. In 2000, Tracy suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm, and was not expected to live. After a miraculous recovery, Tracy dedicated the rest of her life to helping those in need.
Tracy spends each and every day of her life serving others, while inspiring people of all ages to “reach for immeasurably more!” She enjoys spreading messages of positivity to schools, organizations, churches, and businesses.
Tracy is honored to be part of LKCF, and is excited to be a part of such a world changing organization!
LKCF Board Member
Clark Martin is Lauren's Uncle and began serving on the LKCF Board in 2021.
Clark has 3 children and currently resides in Wilmington, NC.
Clark is excited to join the LKCF Board and strongly believes in the mission of the Foundation. He is working on spreading the word about LKCF in order to help locate new sponsors for the children in Kisebere.
Christine spent 14 years working in the intensive care unit of the local children’s hospital during which time she obtained college degrees in paralegal studies and psychology. She has worked as a paralegal for over twenty years. Her years at the children’s hospital gave her an up close look at children in suffering, and sometimes dying, from illness and injury. Christine also saw how basic medical care for the child and education for the family helped heal these children and start them on a healthier, more productive future.
Christine was raised with the tenet of giving back to people and the community. Whether it is the almost two decades she has enjoyed volunteering at her church’s soup kitchen, working with Habit for Humanity, or sitting in a pile of yarn making afghans and hats for the sick, elderly and those in need, her goal is to help improve the welfare of others.
LKCF is a perfect match for Christine’s love for children, belief in giving back, and desire to help improve one’s situation. It is a privilege to be able to help the children and community of Kisebere to open up opportunities for brighter futures for the region.
LKCF Board Member
Gina Picarillo, M, S.N., RN - was Lauren’s pediatric nurse at Albany Medical Center Hospital and was often inspired by Lauren’s strength and perseverance while Lauren fought against cancer and kidney disease as a young child to young adulthood.
Gina received her A.A.S in Nursing from Junior College of Albany in 1986, a B.S. in nursing from the SUNY of Polytechnic Institute, and M.S. N. in Nursing Leadership from Excelsior College.
She worked as a pediatric nurse at Albany Medical Center for 31 years. Following this, she became the Director of Nursing of Whitney Young Health Center and focused the nursing team delivering quality care to the underserved in the community.
Presently, she is an adjunct professor at Russell Sage College where she teaches baccalaureate nursing students in the Pediatric, OB/GYN, and Medical Surgical clinical areas.
She has been a board member of the Center of Transplant and Organ and Tissue Donation of NY and VT and a volunteer for Northeast Kidney Foundation since receiving a donor kidney transplant in October 2011.
She joined the Lauren's Kisebere Children’s Foundation Board of Directors in January 2021.
Gina lives in Brunswick, New York with her twin daughters, Jenny and Jillian and her son, Matthew lives in Halfmoon, New York. Gina has one granddaughter; Aurora Faith.
LKCF Board Member
Myranda lives in California, but grew up in Chatham, NY and was one of Lauren's best friends, along with Claire Packet. Myranda and Lauren were nearly inseparable from high school until Lauren's death in 2012.
Denise reached out to Myranda to ask if she would like to be involved with LKCF as a Board member and she instantly said "yes" and is very excited!
Myranda joined the LKCF Board in 2021.
LKCF Board Member
Beth is a retired teacher from Chatham Schools in Chatham, NY where Lauren went to school and currently works in real estate.
She knew Lauren from 1st grade and Lauren knew her two younger sons. Lauren was a cheerleader for the basketball team on which Beth's sons played.
Beth organized Bishop Tom's visit to the Chatham schools to tell the students about Uganda and also organized a fundraiser that helped purchase a rain barrel for the community. She also sponsors one of the children through LKCF.
Beth joined the LKCF Board in 2021.