About the Fund
Established in 2002 by a friend of the Cranston family, the Holly Cranston Memorial Fund (HCMF) continues to evolve, with a focus on raising monies to help those whose needs are not met through traditional methods. Our aim is to help children with disabilities and their families who reside in our community. We are able to provide both financial support and guidance to these families.
To date the fund has donated about $80,000 for scholarships and grants to those who plan on working with children with disabilities, to individuals with disabilities, and to families whose lives are affected by someone with a disability. The funds have been raised through annual crab feeds, wine tastings and silent auctions, and golf tournaments.
The HCMF Board of Directors is a collaboration of a small group of local business people.
The board president and HCMF founder is an independent business owner who works closely with many of the valley's wineries and large corporations. His wife, a businesswoman with more than 25 years of business experience, serves as our vice president. She previously managed her own beauty salon and has many other interests in the community.
Our treasurer is a well-respected CPA in the Bay Area and is also a licensed attorney. He was extremely generous with his time and expertise when the time came to start up this nonprofit endeavor. He, along with our president, brought this 501(c)(3) to fruition.
Holly’s mom is the HCMF board secretary and works for the Napa School District. She has lived a majority of her life in Napa and is proud of the work done by the Holly Cranston Memorial Fund.
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HCMF donations have included scholarship monies to Napa High School, Vintage High School and Justin High School students ($9,500), a playground for special-needs kids at Medical Therapy Unit/McPherson School, college scholarships to children that have lost a parent, a Dell computer to a Napa High School student who has battled leukemia and suffered a stroke, special shoes for a disabled teen, and equipment and supplies to enrich disabled children's lives.
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When someone gives you something wonderful and unexpected, it’s hard to find words to thank them. I just want you to know I won’t ever forget Holly’s name or the day that I met her family.
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Holly died unexpectedly on Feb. 5, 2002, eight days before her ninth birthday. She was at home, napping and ill with a respiratory infection.
Before she was a year old, it was obvious Holly was not developing normally. She began having grand mal seizures at about 14 months. She did not walk until age four and developed a vocabulary of about 60 words and phrases, such as "boo," "help me," and "hi." She was also developmentally delayed. Her disabilities were severe, requiring frequent hospitalizations, intense care, and constant attention from her family. She was part of a research project at UC Davis because there was no specific diagnosis for her particular group of symptoms. DNA testing revealed a gene defect related to myasthenia, a severe weakness of the muscles. This research is ongoing.
Despite her many challenges, Holly lived a very full life, enjoying the things that any little girl would enjoy. She loved new clothes. Whenever she received something new to wear, she would slap her chest with her hand, letting all of us know that she wanted to put her new clothes on without delay! With a closetful of clothes, Holly was always “dressed up."
HOLLY AND HER BROTHER RYAN
She also loved her big brother Ryan very much, and he took very good care of his little sister. He spent many hours with her sitting on his lap watching Sesame Street and Barney. They would often play in one of their rooms, whether it be with dolls, the Brio train set, or just hanging out. They truly enjoyed each other's company. Even when Ryan would have his friends over, he never seemed to mind having his sister around. He was very proud of Holly.
Her favorite activity was riding the school bus every morning to school. Waiting for the bus to pick her up, Holly would laugh and be eager to get on with her daily journey.