Naming a Penguin For Lauren

In memory of 4-year-old Lauren Colombo who lost her battle with cancer in May the Flushing Early Childhood Center community wants to name an animal at the Detroit Zoo that was dear to Lauren’s heart — a penguin. Lauren loved clothes decorated with penguins, had more than 100 penguin stuffed animals and had the chance to meet a penguin shortly before she died. “I think this is a nice way to honor the Colombo’s. They are a strong family,” said ECC Principal Kaye Brisson. “They lived every day. They didn’t dwell on her death. I wish I could be like that.” School officials are raising funds to adopt a Rockhopper penguin in Lauren’s name. The money raised will go to the Detroit Zoo and the zoo staff will put a plaque up recognizing Lauren and the contribution made in her name. Contributions will be accepted at the ECC, 409 Chamberlain St. Flushing, MI 48433 until June 15. Checks can be made out to the Detroit Zoo. Cash should be turned in inside an envelope labeled with the contributor’s name and “Penguin Project.” Until that same day, students at the ECC will have the chance to come up with names for the penguin to honor Lauren. Lauren’s parents, Mike and Gina Colombo, will make the final decision. And students aren’t wasting any time with name selections, Brisson said. “You’d be surprised with what they are coming up with,” she said. Some suggestions were Captain Colombo, Waddley, Rocky, Colombo, Puddles, Lauren, Happy Feet, Hopper and Leilani, which is Hawaiian for heavenly child in love, Brisson said.

Lauren Colombo, 4, of Flushing meets a real penguin at the Detroit Zoo May 10 with her mother, Gina, and father, Mike. Lauren, who died of cancer last month, was described by her family as a passionate penguin lover.


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