Lawson Susanne Mayfield was born and raised in Tallahassee, FL. Lawson’s immediate family consisted of her parents, Emory and Cathy, and her three siblings: Jenny, Emory, and Henry. Lawson spent the weekdays attending school and the weekends were reserved for equestrian competitions and trips to the family beach house at Alligator Point.
When not riding horses, she was often found reading, which was one of her favorite hobbies from a very early age. Lawson loved to tell stories and to laugh. She had a permanent smile on her face and a playful demeanor that put everyone at ease. She was sincere, generous, humble, and determined to experience all the world has to offer.
“Our daughter, Lawson, made an indelible mark on everyone who crossed her path. She had an insatiable curiosity to experience everything. She loved life. Above all else, she poured her energy into being a good student, daughter, sister, aunt, niece and friend,” said Cathy Mayfield, Lawson’s mother.
Lawson received her early education at Holy Comforter Episcopal School where she completed kindergarten through eighth grade. She then attended high school at Maclay School and graduated with honors in 2009. Lawson was due to begin her undergraduate education at the University of Central Florida in January of 2010. Thanks to countless hours she spent riding and training, Lawson achieved national recognition as an accomplished equestrian. She qualified for prestigious competitions including the Devon Horse Show, the Pennsylvania National Horse Show, and the Washington International Horse Show as a Junior Hunter and High Junior Jumper. She was also a proud member of Live Oak Hounds.
At 18 years old, Lawson was a healthy, vibrant teenager with unlimited energy. Returning home on Sunday evening, September 20, 2009, from a two-week visit to Germany with her older sister’s family, Lawson complained of a dull headache. The following day, Monday, she was back at her full schedule – she rode five horses, spent time catching up with her mom while enjoying a pedicure and had conversations with friends, all while dealing with a headache. Lawson did get an occasional migraine when exhausted, so there was not a reason to become overly concerned with her headaches. Later that evening, after Lawson become more sluggish, her parents suggested she see a doctor and perhaps they could prescribe something stronger to help with the headache.
The family arrived to the hospital around 9 p.m. Monday night and were still under the assumption that Lawson was experiencing a migraine. She had become increasingly lethargic and very sensitive to light. Lawson did not have a fever or a rash of any type. An emergency room doctor was adamant that a spinal tap was necessary to rule-out meningitis. In the early hours of Tuesday morning the tests retuned positive for meningitis. Lawson was immediately treated aggressively for bacterial meningitis even though the specific nature of meningitis was not determined. Later that morning, the family was informed that she did in fact have bacterial meningitis and the appropriate treatment was being administered. In Lawson’s case it was pneumococcal meningitis. Lawson was unable to fight this horrendous disease and passed away on Wednesday, September 23, 2009.
Lawson elected to be an organ donor when she earned her Florida driver’s license at 16 years old. Due to this designation, Lawson was able to save or significantly improve the lives of others by donating her organs.