A fundraiser originally intended to offset the medical expenses of a critically ill 42-year-old widower now will help support the three children left behind when he died last month.
“Triple The Love Lapp Family Benefit” will be held May 18 at St. Bartholomew Anglican Church in the Town of Tonawanda.
Kevin Lapp returned to Western New York in early 2005, a widower with three young children. His wife, Lancaster native Kathleen Ann Kaczmarek, 34, died the previous December in Charlotte, N.C.
The couple had met while students at Buffalo State College. They married in 1995 and moved a few years later to Charlotte, where he worked in banking and she was an elementary school teacher.
It was there that Kathleen gave birth to quadruplets – three boys and a girl – in September 2002.
Joshua, the couple’s first-born son, died days after his birth.
Following Kathleen’s death, Lapp returned to Niagara County, where he grew up. He and his kids – Brian, Nathan and Kiersten – moved into a Town of Wheatfield home across the street from his sister, and Lapp got another job in banking.
Then, last November, he was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare blood disorder. “The prognosis was not good,” said the Rev. Arthur W. Ward Jr., rector at St. Bartholomew’s.
Members of the Eggert Road church, where Lapp worshipped with his children, delivered meals and devoted time to help take care of the youngsters as their father faced repeated stays in the hospital. A fundraiser was planned to help with his medical care.
Against the odds, two bone marrow donors in Germany were found to be a match and Lapp was scheduled to undergo a bone marrow transplant April 11.
“Unfortunately, his condition deteriorated,” Ward said. “He just never bounced back.”
Lapp died April 1 in Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Since his death, Lapp’s children have been living with his sister, Patricia Emmons, who’s become their legal guardian, and her family. The kids, who are 10, are fourth-graders at St. John’s Lutheran School.
“We always knew we would help each other with each other’s kids,” Emmons said. She and her husband, Wilson, have three daughters and a son of their own.
“They’re doing OK,” she said of her nephews and niece. “It’s hard ... They miss their dad.”
The fundraiser will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. May 18 at the church, at 2368 Eggert Road. Tickets are $20; admission is free for children 12 and younger.
A second fundraiser, a concert by BBC, is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 31 at the church. Those tickets are $15 each.
Otherwise, donations may be made payable to “Lapp Family Benefit Fund,” in care of St. Bartholomew Anglican Church, 2368 Eggert Road, Tonawanda, NY 14150 or via PayPal at firstname.lastname@example.org.