Hanna Marie Lund was born on January 16, 2002 in Naperville, Illinois to her parents, Michael and Kim and sister Carolena. Hanna had profound autism, was non-verbal and had behaviors which at a very young age began to interfere with her academic, home, and community life. Hanna, like so many with autism, was unaware of boundaries or dangers. In addition, Hanna was an eloper, a behavior which is common among individuals with autism in which the child, without any warning, runs away from their caregiver. Through her school district, Hanna received support services in order to access an appropriate education. Due to the severity of her autism, Hanna required a level of support which eventually necessitated a residential placement. Hanna attended Helping Hand in Countryside, Illinois; The Autism Training Center with Little Friends in Glen Ellyn, Illinois; and finally Heartspring Residential & Day School in Wichita, Kansas. Heartspring's unique congregate setting within a fenced-in campus provided Hanna with a freedom that she had been unable to safely experience previously. Having the additional staffing supports and trained teachers and professionals that she required allowed her to thrive and make progress in both functional academics and daily living skills. Hanna was known for the contagious smile she always had on her face.
As Hanna approached adulthood she progressed to a level of independence which allowed her to move to one of Heartspring's off-campus homes located within a neighborhood. Here, Heartspring’s students would experience the only type of housing which would be available to them once they aged out of elementary and high school services under The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) at the age of 22.
On September 18, shortly after 8:00pm, Hanna Lund, unbeknownst to her staff, exited her group home, walked out of her neighborhood, and into a four-lane road, where she was struck and killed by a box truck. Hanna's tragic death has devastated all of us in the Heartspring community of teachers, paraprofessionals, professionals, staff, and fellow parents. As we mourn the loss of one of our own, we wish to provide support to Kim, Michael, and Carolena during this unimaginable time, as well as any monetary means to the family so they may select a way to remember sweet Hanna Marie Lund in the future.
Please share your favorite memories or photos of Hanna. To donate to the Lund family, click on the following link: https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/hannalund/journal/view/id/614cd4053c4e7bd33d55aba1