Monday, May 29, 2017

Tillery's Hustle for Hope 5k

Sorry to be so late in posting a recap of the inaugural Tillery's Hustle for Hope 5k, life has been happening. That said, on with the recap...

May 20, 2017 was an amazing day!

We had many friends and family from various locations come to town to join us for our first 5k to fund pediatric brain tumor research. It was so great to see so many people who have been with us along the way and to get to share the joy that is Tillery's current health. But all those special friends and family only made up about half the crowd. The others were runners, philanthropists, and people just looking for something to do on a Saturday morning. We were so thrilled to expose a group of fresh faces to our cause and we left there with many new advocates for childhood cancer.

We had 4 awesome kids with us who are currently survivors or fighters who are winning the battle. Having friends like Brody, Wyatt, and Dallas alongside Tillery was a great way to show the crowd of about 150 runners who they were running for. We also had our new advocate mama friend Elizabeth there. She wasn't able to bring her daughter because Julia passed away last May from a DIPG brain stem tumor. The reality of our pediatric brain tumor world was staring these runners in the face. Also, standing with us was our hero, Dr. Sue Spiller. Dr. Spiller is the pediatric oncologist who treats many of the brain tumor kids in the region at East Tennessee Children's Hospital. Dr. Spiller even came ready to run for Tillery with her hair in a side ponytail!



It was a beautiful day for a run and after a few words from Joe, the crowd made their way to the start line. While so many were out pushing themselves on the course, Tillery was socializing on the playground and making new friends with people who had come out in support. Tillery posed for many pictures and told many stories to her new friends.

Top Finishers were:

Men's 1st Place: Eric Suchyta, 20:51
Men's 2nd Place: Bradley Farmer, 21:59
Men's 3rd Place: Andrew Keller, 23:08

Women's 1st Place: Jennie Tillery, 24:02
Women's 2nd Place: Macy Caldwell, 24:32
Women's 3rd Place: Dr. Sue Spiller!!, 27:48

Many thanks to all who participated and our awesome sponsors:

Holston Methodist Federal Credit Union
Ingles Markets
106.7 The Light
Fleet Feet
Acme Printing
Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop
Powell Church

With the help of our sponsors, our participants, and other donations, we raised over $10,000 to fund pediatric brain tumor research grants!

Plans are already in the works for the 2nd Annual Tillery's Hustle for Hope 5k.

Watch the video slideshow from the run here.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Go Gray Sunday

Go Gray Sunday is an idea we have had for awhile. It grew from all of the churches who sent cards, care packages, and prayers to us over the past few years. We began talking about inviting all churches to join us for an awareness day. May is brain tumor awareness month so we decided to coordinate with that and asked churches to participate with us on the first Sunday in May.

Joe pitched the idea to many of his clergy colleagues and I reached out through my clergy spouse friends. We shared the details with some other parents of children with brain tumors and had them send it to their pastors. Before we knew it, Go Gray Sunday was becoming a reality.

We had so many churches interested that our writer friend, Annette wrote a story for the United Methodist publication, The Call, and that article pointed even more people our way.

So far, we know of 21 churches that participated with us in some way. Some churches held fundraisers or took special offerings. Many churches included children with brain tumors during prayer time. One church created an awareness video that was shown in many of the churches. A bulletin insert was created with facts and statistics about pediatric brain tumors.

At our church, we shared our story and a message of the hope that has seen us through it all. To see our presentation from Sunday, click here. We would love to share our story with your group, too. You can email us at to coordinate a time for us to come.

You can hold your own Go Gray Sunday anytime. Contact us for details and we will help you make it happen!

So far, Go Gray Sunday has raised $3500 and we are still waiting on fundraising totals from many churches. To make a donation, visit or mail to TIL Foundation; P.O. Box 12052; Knoxville, TN 37912.

Thanks again to all of the churches who have joined us. You are such a blessing to so many!