LEXINGTON, N.C. (WGHP) — Friends, family and strangers came together to help pay for the funeral for 5-year-old Gracie Lankford.
Lankford, who survived a deadly car crash in June 2022, passed away on Tuesday, according to her family.
Following the crash, Gracie became paralyzed from the neck down.
Her sister Katie Lankford says she was always in good spirits thanks to unconditional love from her family and her stuffed animal Pup Pup.
“She would bop her head and dance and play and everything with what she could still do,” Katie said.
According to Lexington police, Gracie’s mother, Amber Whitaker, was the driver in the crash that involved Gracie and three other children.
Whitaker failed to stop for North Carolina Department of Transportation crews off Fairview Drive and crashed into their truck.
8-year-old Jayden Smith died in the crash.
According to a warrant, Whittaker had taken methadone, which is a drug commonly used for the treatment of opioid addiction.
More than a year after the crash and days after Gracie’s passing, Sinfully Delicious Custom Bakery in Lexington began raising money to cover the cost of the funeral.
The bakery is selling vanilla cupcakes, and 100% of the profits go towards Gracie’s funeral. It’s a generous offer that Katie and her family say they are thankful for.
“It keeps my heart whole. It shows me how many people can come together for such a little girl. Nobody knew her, but her story impacted everybody. It makes me feel amazing to know that my little sister will get the funeral and celebration of life she deserves,” Katie said.
Whitaker was convicted on May 10 on one count of second-degree murder and two counts of serious injury by motor vehicle and sentenced to 17 to 19 years in prison.
Gracie’s funeral is this Monday at the Davidson Funeral Home at 2 p.m.