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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

GRIN Scholarship Uniting Families


Kason Dedmon was an extraordinary little boy. At three years old his parents received his GRIN1 diagnosis. GRIN1 is a rare disorder that presents with varying degrees of developmental delays. 

Upon receiving the diagnosis, Kason’s parents began joining Facebook groups to find families experiencing the same thing as them. At the time, Kason was the only child with this specific diagnosis in Arkansas. The closest family was four hours away from them.

On August 22, 2022, Kason passed from this life into his eternal home with Jesus. Kimberlee Dedmon, Kason’s mom, said “when we lost Kason, we received an outpouring of love from our GRIN1 family”. Just nine days later, another member of the GRIN1 family passed away, Aspyn Randall.

At the time of Kason and Aspyn’s passing, neither family had met another family, in person, whose life had been impacted by the diagnoses their children had received. 

In memory of Kason, his parents Kimberlee and Keith Allen, started a scholarship for the class of 2023. The scholarship, which was open to Waldron and Mansfield seniors going into the medical field, was awarded to two seniors. This year they announced the second annual Kason’s Big GRIN memorial scholarship. 

Kimberlee said she got a message from Aspyn’s mom requesting an application and knew they would be making the trip to present a scholarship to someone outside the area. This trip allowed both families to come together. Families who had a mutual understanding of what their children had gone through.

Aspyn’s oldest sister, Maddie Milton, from Tonkawa, Oklahoma was one of the recipients of the 2024 Kason’s Big GRIN memorial scholarship. 

Two additional scholarships were awarded to Reagan Adams and Emily Powell both of Waldron.

Photo by Sandy Tull.
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Madison VanRavensway
Madison VanRavensway
Don't let her quiet nature fool you. Madison is a force to be reckoned with in the outdoors, or creating amazing recipes from scratch.
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