Friends and family honored Megan Gerhard-Weisberg on Nov. 16 at Fratello's in Laguna Niguel by raising funds for her husband and two young sons.
Gerhard-Weisberg, a Laguna Niguel resident and longtime hairdresser, died March 16 from a rare complication called amniotic fluid embolism while giving birth to her son Tosh. She is also survived by her husband, Jody, 32, and another son, Caydn.
At the fundraiser, more than 200 people gathered to listen to local reggae-rock band Joint Committee, headed by Megan's cousin Adam Gerhard, who also arranged the event.
Twenty percent of the restaurant sales were donated to a fund in Megan's name. If you missed the event and still want to help, the website is: megsfund.com.
"Megan was extremely popular in the area and her untimely passing shocked the community," Gerhard said.
Five generations of the Gerhard family have lived in the area, Gerhard said. Both Megan's parents are local elementary school principals. Megan's sister, Eryn Connors, is a teacher at George White Elementary.
The condition that took her life is caused when amniotic fluid and other debris enters the bloodstream during childbirth and sparks an allergic reaction that is almost always fatal. It's something that happens suddenly which makes it difficult to prepare for, according the AFE Support Foundation.
"She had the reaction while giving birth. Tosh was without oxygen for a short period of time. Fortunately, he's a fighter like his mom and is doing great. However, only time will tell if he has any long-term affects," said Gerhard.
AFE occurs in approximately one in 20,500 deliveries.
"Unfortunately, it's still very misunderstood because most doctors will not encounter it during their career. Our hope is to spread awareness and make people cognizant of it," he said.
"Her husband, Jody has been left with an enormous challenge raising Tosh on his own, which is why I'm putting this [fundraiser] together," Gerhard said.
He added: "Megan's legacy lives on through her two boys, Caydn and Tosh, and Jody. She had countless friends who loved her and a huge family who think about her every day. Everyone who met Megan learned something from her: Love, compassion and selflessness. I see all of those qualities in Caydn and Jody. And I know Tosh will have the same."
Megan's sister, Connors, said: "It was a great night. Great music, lots of friends and smiling faces, which is what my sister was all about. She had a smile that was so warm that it lit up a room. I am touched by all the love and support friends and the community have shown toward my family, especially Megan's boys. ... I miss her smiling face so much and wish we could be laughing and listen to music together."