Religion News: Shell Point family remembers daughter through donations to animal league

Laurian Joy Baaske loved animals.

She once nurtured Oliver, a cat with a broken leg, and she enjoyed visiting a friend's house, where she would help take care of their horses. She adored the family's four dogs and four cats, which were adopted just like she was.

Laurian died July 4, 2010, at age 13 as a result of the choking game, an activity popular with teenagers in which oxygen is purposefully cut off to the brain, causing faintness or euphoria.

In honor of what would have been Laurian's 15th birthday on Feb. 23, her parents, Erik and Jonelle Baaske, and her brother, Charles, of Shell Point, delivered more than $800 in animal food, blankets, towels, cleaning and office supplies and paper products to the Palmetto Animal League.

PAL is a no-kill animal rescue group supported by volunteers. The center cares for more than 100 animals who need a home. Last year, the center helped more than 700 animals.

"This family is unbelievable," said Amy Campanini, executive director of Palmetto Animal League's adoption center. "Their gift was so generous. It made us all cry."

The family is always looking for ways to honor their daughter's memory. They found the league's wishlist online and started shopping for the supplies.

"When they showed up and said they had some donations, we didn't realize it was an entire van full of stuff," Campanini said. "It just kept coming and coming."

Campanini said it was the largest donation ever from an individual family.

The family has helped other groups as well.

"She loved animals and so we try and do something in her memory," Erik said. "Animals would just come up to her."

The donation gave the family a feeling of peace.

"It was comforting," Erik said of the donation. "It made me smile knowing we were doing something that our daughter would have been more than tickled to do."

Last year on Laurian's birthday, the family collected and donated $500 to the Beaufort Women's Center.

The family also held a yard sale and gave the proceeds to Life Point in Charleston, which is where Laurian's organs were donated to six people.

"It seemed only logical to make donations where other people would benefit despite the loss," Eric said.

Erik, an 18-year veteran senior firefighter and paramedic with the Town of Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue Division, educates parents about the choking game. He has spoken at the South Carolina Coroner's Association's annual meeting in Myrtle Beach, to the Kiwanis Club, the Community Bible Church Home School Association and to school administrators at two local private schools.

"I knew nothing about it until it happened to me," he said. "My wife and I have now done everything we can to raise parental awareness."

Meanwhile, the Dangerous Behaviors Foundation reports that up to 1,000 kids, ages 10-19, die each year from strangulation.

"It is not a game," he said. "It is far from it. ... It is killing our kids."

Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church of Hilton Head Island

The church's youth department will present its annual Easter program at 6:30 p.m. April 7. Easter sunrise services begin at 6 a.m., followed by regular services at 10 a.m. The church's 98th anniversary program will culminate at 4 p.m. April 8. Kenneth Doe, pastor of Bethesda Christian Temple of St. Helena Island, will speak. The church is at 382 Squire Pope Road, Hilton Head Island. Details: 843-681-3678

All Saints Episcopal Church of Hilton Head Island

A service patterned after those used in the first centuries of the church, called "The Great Vigil of Easter," begins at 8 p.m. April 7. The service traditionally begins with the kindling of a fire and the lighting of the Paschal Candle. Following the service, there will be a party. The church is at 3001 Meeting St., Hilton Head Island. Details: 843-681-8333

The Church of The Cross

Easter services include a gracetime service at 5:28 p.m. April 7 at the Calhoun Street Campus, 110 Calhoun St., Bluffton, where the church will also hold its traditional Festival Eucharist Easter services at 8 and 10 a.m. April 8. The CrossPoint worship service with a children's message will be at 9 and 11 a.m. at the Buckwalter Parkway Campus, 495 Buckwalter Parkway, Bluffton. Details: 843-757-2661,

God's Goods Thrift store will be closed April 7. It will resume normal store hours April 10. Donations can be received any time the store is open. Call to arrange a pickup of large donations. Proceeds benefit the mission work of the church in addition to local charities. Details: 843-757-2024

Plant the Seed Ministry

Free meals and friendly conversation are 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Atlantic Inn parking lot, 2249 Boundary St., Beaufort. Details: 843-575-2200,

Walk by Faith Ministry

Walk, play and experience fellowship with writer Lara Love and rescue dogs at 10 a.m. Saturdays in April and May at Folly Field Beach on Hilton Head Island. Walk by Faith Ministry shares the gospel with people and homeless dogs, too. Love is the author of "Slow Dance with Jesus: Inspiration for Intimacy with the Lord." Details: 843-338-2219,

Port Royal Baptist Church

A sunrise service begins at 7:30 a.m. April 8 in the church sanctuary, followed by a breakfast in the Family Life Center at 8:30 a.m. Sunday School is at 9:45 a.m., followed by Easter music and a sermon by Pastor Steven Ruff at 11 a.m. The church is in front of the U.S. Naval Hospital Beaufort, Ribaut Road, Port Royal. Details: 843-521-1995

Bethlehem Baptist Church

An Easter Gospel Concert begins at 5 p.m. April 8, featuring the Rev. Joey Jordan and friends. The church is on S.C. 170 in Okatie.

Lighthouse Christian Center

Easter service is at 10 a.m. April 8. The church is at 3538 Trask Parkway, Beaufort. Details: 843-525-6910

The Beaufort Church of God

Easter sunrise service begins at 6:30 a.m. April 8. The church is at 641 Parris Island Gateway, Beaufort. Details: 843-525-9385

The Anglican Church of the Redeemer

Easter services begin at 10 a.m. April 8. The church is at 1 Mathews Drive, Suite 101, Mathews Pointe North Complex, Hilton Head Island. Details: The Rev. Chris Gardner, 843-815-5820,

Providence Presbyterian Church, Hilton Head Island

Traditional Easter services are at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. April 8, with contemporary worship at 10 a.m. The church is at 171 Cordillo Parkway. Details 843-842-5673

Beaufort New Directions Church of the Nazarene

Easter services April 8 will be led by Dr. Roland DuBay, with the sermon "Empty is the Tomb." Sunday school begins at 10 a.m. and services at 11 a.m. The church meets at Copeland Chapel, 6 Copeland Drive and Robert Smalls Parkway. Details: 210-215-9515

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Beaufort

The Rev. Nan White will discuss the third principle: acceptance of one another and encouragement of spiritual growth at 10 a.m. April 8. The service will include welcoming new members and the annual Flower Communion. Bring one flower to share. The fellowship meets at 178 Sams Point Road, Lady's Island. Details: 843-838-1399

Christian Science Society of Beaufort

The church joins with the Hilton Head Island and Savannah Christian Science churches to sponsor a weekly radio broadcast on WLOW 107.9 FM at 8:30 a.m. Sundays. Topics include how people overcome illness, relationship difficulties, financial hardships and other trials through prayer.

The question "Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real?" will be examined at 10:30 a.m. April 8. The society meets at 401 Scott St., Beaufort. Details: 843-441-2262

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Lowcountry

The Rev. Dr. Neal R. Jones, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbus, will discuss "What Will Become of the dream?" at 10 a.m. April 8. Jones will consider "What Does Resurrection Mean?" and discuss "How the world may kill the dreamer, but it cannot kill the dream." The church is at 110 Malphrus Road, Bluffton. Details: 843-837-3330

Psychodrama, a form of group psychotherapy, meets 4-5:30 p.m. Fridays at the church. The group works to solve anger, depression, grief and confusion. Someone presents a problem and several people act it out. With the help of the audience, understanding of the situation and its resolution can produce a change. Anyone older than 18 is welcome. Details: 843-682-3191

Friendship Holiness Church

The church will honor its pastor, Dr. Willie Webb, and Fredricka Webb during the anniversary celebration at 7:30 p.m. April 9-13, and at 2 p.m. April 15. Guest speakers are: Arthur Cummings, pastor of Bethel Word and Worship in Beaufort, on April 9; Daniel Russell, pastor of New Life Deliverance Temple on St. Helena Island, on April 10; Walter Capers, pastor of Life Ministry in Burton, on April 11; Larry Green of R.O.A.T in Burton on April 12; and Norman Jenkins Sr. of Grays Hill Full Gospel Deliverance on April 13; and Henry Chisolm of Jehovah Church of Jesus Christ on St. Helena Island on April 15. The church is at 6 Cuyler Lane, Seabrook. Details: 843-263-9002

Faith Memorial Baptist Church

The church will celebrate its 57th anniversary at 7:30 p.m. April 9-13. The Rev. Willie Wilson and Adam Street Baptist Church will speak April 9; the Rev. Leonard Ritter and Ebenezer Baptist Church will speak April 10; the Rev. Kenneth Doe and Bethesda Christian Fellowship will speak April 11; the Rev. J.W. Williams and Mt. Nebo Baptist Church will speak April 12; and the Rev. Sam T. Spain and Lady's Island Baptist Church will speak April 13.

Services will conclude at 12:30 p.m. April 15 with the Rev. Lawrence Miller and Grace Chapel AME Chapel. At 2:30 p.m. the church will commemorate the life and legacy of the late Dr. Horace Williams Jr. with the Rev. Abraham Murray and Brick Baptist Church as guests. The church is at 28 Lands End Road, St. Helena Island. Details: 843-271-6473, 838-838-5826

Lunch Hour of Power

The Rev. Joseph Bryant, associate minister of the Ebenezer Baptist Church, will speak noon-12:45 p.m. April 11 at the Lunch Hour of Power, which is weekly in Helen Galloway's Memorial Chapel, 808 Bladen St., Beaufort. Details: 843-524-6634

Shell Point Baptist Church

Free, warm meals and conversation are 6-7 p.m. Fridays at the church, 871 Parris Island Gateway, Beaufort. The Refining Christian Maturity Recovery meeting is at 7 p.m. A food pantry is also available. Details: 843-575-2200,

Parish Church of St. Helena

S. Wayne Foster, organist-in-residence of First Congregational Church of Los Angeles, will perform on the Taylor and Boody organ at 7 p.m. April 13 at The Parish Church of St. Helena. This free performance is part of the spring concert series arranged by the church as part of its tricentennial celebration. Originally from Melbourne, Fla., Foster is a graduate of the Interlochen Arts Academy and Stetson University. The church is at 505 Church St., Beaufort. Details: 843-522-1712