Audrey Gaillard and Natalie Fleischaker’s families had known each other for decades going back to their parents’ time in grade school. So when Natalie died of a brain tumor in May 2013 at the age of 8, it hit Audrey — who was the same age as Natalie — and her brother Michael hard.
In the wake of the death, the Fleischakers established a foundation to promote cancer research in Natalie’s honor. As part of the foundation’s activities, they encouraged people to recognize her birthday, July 22, with acts of kindness. Audrey and Michael have been observing the tradition ever since, and this year the Prairie Village Police Department was the beneficiary.
“We decided that with all the news about bad things going on with police, they needed to be thanked,” said Audrey and Michael’s mom Kerri.
The family put together a poster board reading “Thank you PV police” and then asked friends, neighbors and complete strangers that they stopped at the Village Shops to sign it with messages of appreciation. The Gaillards dropped the board off at the department on Natalie’s birthday.