Monday, October 10, 2016

2nd Annual Trot for Tillery 5k

It always makes you feel good to be a part of something good. Donating to a cause you support or coming together to show love to others does your heart good. This weekend, we were on the receiving end of these blessings.

Last year, when my cousin Sheyvon pitched the idea of having a 5k in Tillery's honor, we thought it sounded awesome but didn't think we needed the financial support. At the time, we were home from Cincinnati and done with what we considered to be the "scary part". We decided to go forward with it with plans to donate excess to another charity we support. Instead, 6 weeks before the first Trot for Tillery, Tillery was diagnosed with a fungal infection in her brain and abdomen and was airlifted to Cincinnati to endure 5 unplanned surgeries and 8 solid weeks of bedrest. By the time the 5k was held, we had spent much of our reserves on hospital food and travel expenses.

The first Trot for Tillery was so successful, my cousins immediately began work on the 2nd annual Trot. Again, Joe and I had plans to hopefully pay it forward as we found ourselves "doing well". In August, I started back to work part time and on my first day of work, our truck broke down and we were forced to purchase another vehicle. While we had hoped my part time job would help us get a little financial footing, we resigned ourselves to a car payment and hoped the upcoming Trot would be able to see us through Tillery's next surgery. Three days before the 2nd Trot for Tillery, our van went into the shop needing major repairs. A huge expense we had no way of paying. We left the van with the mechanic and headed to Alabama knowing that the support of family would boost our spirits once we got there.

Saturday was a beautiful day in Sylacauga, AL. Blue sky, slight breeze, and beautiful view of the lake. The crowd of over 50 runners and walkers gathered in the parking lot of Russell Chapel Baptist Church and our family split up greeting people and personally thanking as many of them as we could. Tillery even ran around chatting with family and friends.

Sheyvon thanked everyone for coming and gave us an opportunity to speak as well. But what do you say to a group like this? These people had lifted our family in prayer for 2 years. They had sent cards and care packages to Cincinnati, they had shared Facebook and blog posts, and now here they were right in front of us about to run 3.1 miles just to show their love and support for our little girl. Thank you wasn't enough but it was all I had in me.

At the end of the run, Sheyvon gave an initial fundraising total of over $8,000. By the end of the day, the number had grown higher and even now, it continues to grow. The repairs on our van are covered. Some car payments are covered. Our travel for the next surgery is covered. Our family can breathe.

To all who helped, to all who came, to all who donated, THANK YOU. Our family has again been blessed. As we say often, Tillery is Loved.

Click here for a slideshow of photos from the Trot for Tillery!

The link for donations is still open until 11/20/16. Click here to donate.