Disney gator attack victim’s family to help kids awaiting organ transplants


OMAHA, Neb. (WESH) —The parents of a 2-year-old boy who was killed by an alligator at a Walt Disney World resort last year announced Tuesday that their son’s legacy will be carried on through collaborations with two Nebraska hospitals.

In June 2016, an alligator grabbed 2-year-old Lane Graves, who was playing along the Seven Seas Lagoon beach outside Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.Lane’s parents, Matt and Melissa Graves, launched the Lane Thomas Foundation in honor of their son.

The organization will work with Children’s Hospital and Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine to help cover transportation, lodging, and other nonmedical expenses incurred by families who have children awaiting transplants.

“Melissa and I created the Foundation in honor of our beautiful boy, Lane, in order to do something positive for other families,” said Matt Graves. “We have been overwhelmed by the support and love we have been shown from across the country. We believe we have found an impactful way for us to help others in similar circumstances and ease some of their burdens so these parents can focus on their child.”

The Graves family will formally announce the collaboration during a news conference on Wednesday.

Disney installed a lighthouse sculpture in August honoring Lane.

In the year since Lane’s death, Disney has made numerous changes to increase safety for its guests. It added signs warning guests of reptiles in its waterways. It also constructed a boulder wall along the edge of the lagoon.

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