TODAY   |  June 06, 2013

Mom is ‘proud’ daughter overcame tough teen years

Lauren Clinton is honored by her mom, Cheryl, for her determination to finish school and graduate from college despite giving birth at age 16. Broadway performer Judy Kaye salutes her with the original song “We Are Blessed.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> it's time for "everyone has a story." meet this month's contest story. sheryl of port st. lucie, florida, wrote in to honor her daughter.

>> let's listen to sheryl tell her daughter's beautiful story.

>> my story is about my daughter, lauren clinton maylo. almost ten years ago, her life changed. we lost our daughter, jessica clinton at the age of 17. lauren lost her sister and her best friend . from sudden cardiac arrest during cheerleading practice. we didn't know jessica had might ral valve prolapse, a heart condition where one of the valves doesn't work properly. months went by and lauren found out that she was pregnant at the age of 16. she knew she wanted to keep the baby, because she felt it was a gift from god and jessica . that day at the doctor's office we made a promise to each other. that lauren would not only go to school and finish, she would also graduate from college. we knew it wasn't going to be easy, but she was going to show everyone that not all young mothers drop out of school. lauren has been blessed with a great husband and a new baby. her husband is in the army and has been stationed in japan for other two years. but on may 3rd , lauren graduated from college with a degree in elementary education . we are so proud of her. colleena is now eight years old and a great student and a great young girl . not only has lauren gone through school, but she has also helped me with keeping her sister's memory alive by helping me with the jessica clinton foundation . it gives free heart screenings for children and places aeds in schools and parks. i don't know if i would have made it through the loss of jessica if it wasn't for lauren and my little angel , colleena. my husband and my daughter, rachel would love you to let lauren know how proud we are of her and we knew she could do it.

>> and you see why we picked that letter. it's just an awesome story. sheryl is her with her daughter lauren and lauren 's beautiful children, colleena and adam. who is going to get an aunty kath kathie's cd.

>> you leaned over to me and said i was the loudest one here.

>> this has been quite the journey you all have been on.

>> it has.

>> and you said also as you saw your deceased daughter's picture, what did you say to me?

>> it never gets easier.

>> but look what's been restored to you, two beautiful children.

>> one of the things, i think a lot of people when they see a teenaged mom, there san instant stereotype in your head, we see television shows and you wanted to break that stereotype, didn't you?

>> i never like to be compared to that. because i was a good student. i was a good, i'm a good person. i never wanted to be judged and negative when i got a gift and i owned up to my gift.

>> did you at any time think about not having that gift come into the world?

>> you might have it for a split two seconds, but from the minute i just knew she was, she was mine.

>> i love that you thought it was a gift from god and also your sister.

>> a gift from god in a way that, many people you think out your 20s, you miss out your teens. and my way was, she kept me on the right direction. i didn't go through, i went through it a different way, i planned birthday parties and anyone knows me, i'm a doer.

>> aren't you just melting.

>> how old are you now, sweetheart?

>> eight.

>> and your teeth came in so nice.

>> there's always a question, you never know.

>> all right. coming up, you guys, we have a very special performance , just for lauren by broadway star judy kay. tony winner many times, like over and over .

>> and now please welcome broadway performer, two-time tony award winner, with the song, "we are blessed." when we are very young and we first encounter sorrow we might think our life is done and there's no hope for tomorrow but if someone very strong can take life as it's given they can prove that nothing's wrong by the way that they keep living you were very young when the pain and heartache started but you clearly weren't one to be dejected and down-hearted you chose instead to see all the gifts that might be waiting and your life turned out to be cause for joy and celebrating and the triumph that we see as we all look back today have truly come to be out of what happened on the way and all it only goes to show that with gratitude and grace we must always, always know there is nothing we can't face so your husband and your child and your loving family want to take this day to honor you for all you've come to be for the faith you've always shown that things all work for the best we have watched you as you've grown and we know that we are blessed by your willingness to live by your eagerness to give by the memories that we share by the love that's always there we are blessed

>> woo, judy , that was gorgeous, as usual. we'll be back in just a moment.

>> sister rachel joined us along with the two davids.

>> thanks, guys, judy , that was so beautiful.

>> what did you guys think of your song?

>> it made me cry.

>> it was beautiful.

>> thank you.

>> there's a little something we're going to give away. lauren , we "now" know how busy you are with your stuff, we decided that our friends at, each donated a $500 gift certificate to help you out with whatever you need. toys, beauty products , household items. and they'll have everything delivered right to your door.

>> so anyway --

>> thanks.

>> nice work if you can get it, how long, hon?

>> until the 15th, then i've got a book, sue grafton book to read.

>> we just got so much going on. two new shows, david. all right, so proud of our team. thank you, god bless .