Gaffney moms raise awareness after daughters lose battle with illness

Local News

GAFFNEY, S.C. (WSPA) – Two grieving mothers in Gaffney are wanting to raise awareness about important health issues after their daughters lost their lives.

7 News sat down with these heartbroken parents and learned about the struggles their daughters faced.

Clari Spencer and Lindsay McDowell weren’t related by blood, but they shared more than just the same hometown with one another.

“Very compassionate and loving. She had a huge heart,” Rita Spencer said about her daughter, Clari.

“She loved everybody,” Lindsay McDowell’s mom, Kim McDowell said. “She wanted to make everybody feel good about themselves and comfortable around her.”

The problem was that both Lindsay and Clari struggled with feeling good about themselves.

“She started out with bulimia and it turned into anorexia, and that’s what happens a lot of times,” Spencer said.

While Clari battled an eating disorder, Lindsay fought with the struggles of type-one diabetes and seizures.

“Although her friends were okay with it, she thought they judged her differently,” McDowell said.

“These type of girls have low self esteem,” Spencer said. “They don’t feel like they’re pretty. They don’t feel like they’re good at anything.”

But one thing they both excelled in, and were passionate about, was cheerleading.

“That was just part of who she was,” McDowell said.

While they were in high school, both Clari and Lindsay spent their Friday nights cheering on the Gaffney Indians. And while they’re no longer here, their fellow cheerleaders, and their families, want to make sure their memory lives on forever; so they’ve come up with the idea of creating a scholarship fund that would, each year, give two Cherokee County cheerleaders—like Clari and Lindsay—$1,000 to help them pursue their dreams.

“There are a lot of children and young adults who are struggling with health issues now, and their self image is affected,” McDowell said. “It’s okay to be different and to have to do things differently.”

“We’ve got to build them up,” Spencer added. “We’ve got to let them know it’s okay, and we’ve got to help them get through those difficult times.”

Lindsay and Clari’s families are now selling raffle tickets to raise money for the scholarship fund. The winner of the raffle will get a $300 cash prize.

Those tickets are being sold at a number of places in Gaffney, including Ehlich Family Chiropractor Clinic, Ultra Lube, Beauties on the Boulevard, APS, and Gaffney Insurance.

If you’d like to donate, you can also go to First Piedmont Bank in Gaffney and ask for the Lindsay McDowell-Clari Spencer Cheer Scholarship Fund.

The families hope to be able to give out the first two cheer scholarships next school year.

And if you or someone you know is battling an eating disorder, you can click here for help.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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