Community rallies around family of Laiha Slayton

Laiha+Slaytaon%2C+a+2019+graduate+of+Hayes%2C+suffered+second-+and+third-degree+burns+on+over+90%25+of+her+body+while+trying+to+rescue+her+dog+from+a+hot+spring+at+Yellowstone+National+Park+on+Oct.+4.

Photo courtesy of Kamilla Slayton

Laiha Slaytaon, a 2019 graduate of Hayes, suffered second- and third-degree burns on over 90% of her body while trying to rescue her dog from a hot spring at Yellowstone National Park on Oct. 4.

By Elizabeth Atanosian, Rutherford B. Hayes High School

Laiha Slayton, a 20-year-old Hayes graduate, was severely burned after attempting to save her dog who had fallen into a geyser at Yellowstone National Park.
According to East Idaho News, she was placed into a medically induced coma in order to treat the burns that covered her body and is currently in the process of recovering.
In order to help with the medical costs and spread awareness in her hometown, the softball team that both Laiha and her sister Kamilla Slayton played for began selling “Laiha Strong” wristbands as a fundraiser.
“The fundraiser has been going well,” softball coach David Morgan said. “The softball girls and families have really been doing an excellent job getting the word out and selling them to help support the family.”
Laiha is being held close in the hearts of those dear to her and many throughout the community, especially those who she has made a major impact on the lives of.
“Laiha is sweet and puts everyone before herself,” Kamilla said. “She always wants to satisfy the people around her before herself.”
Not only does she put herself before her family, her friends said she takes great care in looking out for those close to not just herself, but also close to her friends and family, treating them as her own.
“Laiha is like my big sister. I’ve been best friends with Kamilla since kindergarten and grew up around the family,” family friend Aubreauna Otten said. “I wouldn’t say I know what she’s like as a friend, but I can tell you she’s an amazing sister. She’s the kind of person that would do anything for someone she loved.”
Everyone who knows her says that, no matter the situation or circumstance, Laiha makes sure to always be there for the people she loves most and will never let them down.
“If you said you needed her, she wouldn’t hesitate to be there as soon as she could be,” Otten said.
Along with the support she provides to her family and friends, she is sure to show the extent of her love with everything she does.
“I’ve never seen someone love so hard,” Kamilla said. “She loves with every inch of her body and that makes her so special.”
Laiha is just as team oriented as she is family oriented when it comes to her sport, softball.
“As a person, Laiha is one of the most loyal people I have ever met,” Morgan said. “As a teammate and player, I would say that she had one of the best work ethics I have ever come across from any of my softball players. Her joy of the game, and with life in general, was inspiring to her teammates and coaches.”
Her teammates and coaches commented that she has dedicated much of her life and free time to the sport, and that commitment has not gone unnoticed.
“Laiha was a 4-year varsity softball player who started her junior and senior years,” Morgan said. “I had the honor of coaching her in 8th grade at Dempsey, as well as at the varsity level at Hayes. It’s hard for me to think of a player who has tried harder and has a more positive attitude than Laiha.”
Laiha has always made sure to live her life to the fullest and isn’t afraid to take a bit of risk when it comes to having fun.
“She loves the adrenaline rushes of going exploring and taking risks,” Kamilla said. ”She always lives life to her fullest potential.”
Even through these tough times, Laiha’s family and friends say they believe that she will be able to push through and make it out of this situation just as she went into it: loving, dedicated, and adventurous.
“She’s definitely one of the bravest girls I’ve ever met,” Otten said. “Laiha has always been a fighter and I know she won’t stop now.”

This story was originally published on Hayes Talisman on November 12, 2021.