Saturday, May 11, was Lauren Day at Hannibal’s Walmart Supercenter, where 13-year-old Lauren Peters of Monroe City was honored by many associates, along with her family and friends.
Lauren has cerebral palsy, and she was nominated for the Walmart Has a Heart program by her great-uncle, Donald Broughton, who drives a Walmart truck. This program gives young people a ride in a Walmart semi, with their name added on the truck’s cab, along with a party in a Walmart.
After being transported to Walmart, the honoree receives gifts from the group of drivers who donate funding for this program, along with store personnel.
Lauren, the daughter of Angela and Kevin Peters, rode with her mother in a big Walmart truck, driven by her Great-Uncle Donald Broughton.
Angela said as Lauren looked forward to her special day, she was very excited and had been “counting down the days.”
The truck she rode from Monroe City to Hannibal was escorted by a fire truck and Marion County Sheriff’s Department car, along with additional Walmart semis.
When Lauren arrived in Hannibal, Walmart personnel greeted her with signs and gifts. They also had a balloon launch before Lauren went into the store for a pizza party and shopping spree. The balloons contained cards saying, “My name is Lauren Peters. I have cerebral palsy. Will you please write me, in care of Walmart store No. 609.”
At Lauren’s party, a Walmart official told her, “This is Lauren Day. We made you an honorary Walmart driver.”
Among the family members at her party were her parents; her 20-year-old brother, Aaron; and her grandparents, Gary and Barbara Broughton and Rita Dry.
On Sunday, May 12, Angela said, “Lauren had a ball. She loved all of it.
“She said her favorite part was getting to ride in the semi with her Great-Uncle Donald. He is the one responsible for getting her name submitted for this event.”
Cerebral palsy is a condition, not a disease, Angela said. “It does not get worse. Lauren does not have any learning disability. It is all physical. She is very fortunate in that respect.”
Lauren is a seventh-grader at Monroe City Public Schools. She walks with a walker, and at school she uses an electric wheel chair.
“Lauren has had multiple orthopedic surgeries and extra surgeries,” her mother said. They were done “to help her walk better and in hopes eventually she will be more independent.”
A laptop computer was among her gifts from Walmart, along with a case. “Lauren does most of her homework on a laptop and emails it to her teachers,” Angela said.
Page 2 of 2 - During her shopping spree Lauren chose some clothes, some movies and music CDs.
“Walmart also gave her a new bike helmet, and a life jacket so she can use it to swim this summer,” Angela said, noting that Monroe City is opening a new swimming pool.
Lauren has an adapted bicycle with three wheels and a special seat with a seat belt.
“She loves to swim,” Angela said. “With a life jacket she is able to be completely independent in a swimming pool. ... Mom and Dad (Gary and Barbara Broughton) have a pool in their back yard, and it serves as pretty good therapy for her.”
Angela added that “we were so very appreciative of how wonderful a day they made it for Lauren - the Walmart staff, everybody. The room was decorated.
“It was pretty special that they went to all that work for her.”