Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Marathon Pics and News

Our little HERO Jordan walking in Memphis for St Jude
Jordan had a blast! They put him in the stroller to push him, but as soon as we hit the streets to go to Auto Zone, he came out of that stroller and announced he was RUNNING! And run he did!!! He had such a good time all weekend. He gave and received many hugs and kisses. Patricia, and her nephew and his wife were part of the team. Patricia called me today and told me that next year they will be back and the rest of the family announced they are coming too. She said they would just rent a bus and come next year!!! WooHoo!!!

Mardecia, Marcella (NY), Lisa (GA), Brenda (AR)
Team Believe members hanging out at the stadium waiting for everyone to make it in. This is the best most awesome experience. To get to see just how many have participated and watch them cross the finish line. This is a victory in so many ways for so many.

Natalie (TN), Sandy (TN), Mardecia, Nicole (TN), Lenzy (AR),
Susan (TX), Michael (TN), Tyler (TN)
Our combined team with Team Believe and Team Hope. This has become a tradition for our two teams to participate together. Team Hope is Natalie's team. Her family is pictured here with some of our group. They were at the dinner and also stayed with our group at the hotel this year. We even let the twins (officially known as Nic and Nat) come out to my house for Memphis BBQ on Saturday night with us! Sandy and Michael had to go back home to check on Angela, their son's wife, that I have posted and ask for your prayers for her. She is 24 and diagnosed with MS last week. She has now been transfered to Nashville to Vanderbilt for rehab. Please continue to pray for her and the family. We have all grown to love this family so much.

Dean "The Celebrity" Mardecia, Dean (TN/LA), Michelle (TN/LA)
The coolest thing... Dean said he was feeling like such the celebrity after completing the half marathon. He gave instructions to Michelle and I to pose for this photo! He is such a hoot :) He told me that he absolutely knew that Elizabeth had picked him up and carried him through the entire run. He did a great job as did the entire Team Elizabeth Grace team. They were all decked out in pink too! We had alot of pink on the streets of Memphis this past Saturday.

Tyler (TN), Mardecia, Dean (TN/LA), Michelle (TN/LA)

Garrett (TN) Chris (TN)
I am so proud of my boys! Each of my three who participated ran the half marathon. I also want to thank them for all of the work they did to help me prepare for the weekend events and all they did during the weekend to help out. They are great sons, Garrett, Chris and Tyler to help out and be a part of all of this. Stephen had to work again this year so he could not participate in the events of the weekend. Christmas season in the Bass Pro retail business is a very busy time for him.

Tyler, Garrett, Svetlana (GA), Michael (MO)
Again, hanging out. Each of these team members completed the half marathon. Each did an excellent job! Svetlana had on the neatest cap she had made just for this event. It said "Running For Mary Kate" on the front and "Team Believe" on the back! It was so awesome! We picked up a new team members a few weeks before the run and he joins us from Missouri. He is a runner, he has participated in several half marathons as well as one full marathon. He says he will be back with us next year.

Laura (TN), Mardecia, Jordan (LA),
Julie (TN), Regina (TN), Lisa (TN) - My Bunko Gals, new to the team this year!
I truly love and appreciate the support of this group of gals! This is some of my Bunko group that joined our team this year. Each one has told me how much they have been touched by this weekend of events and they will definitely be a part of the team in the future. I am so HAPPY to have some Memphis help now!!! I told them last night that I was going to assign them a job for next year!!! I do not want to take away any help from the others that have helped me, they went above and beyond! Allison did an outstanding job and so did Susan and Brenda with the goodie bags. I got the bags and they took charge of filling them up. I will tell you more about them in another post.

Susan (TX), Brenda (AR), Allison (TX) - Dinner at Chili's on Thursday evening
Several came in on Thursday to help set up and decorate for the dinner. Afterwards, we met up with Regina, Alyson, the Dunfords, The Braswell's family and a few others including some of the Chili's gang and my guys for dinner at our favorite Chili's! We had a blast being together. I also want to thank Chili's for donating our tea for the Team Dinner. That was alot of tea, and it was delicious southern sweet tea!

Official Team Bracelet
This was one of my surprises! I was just about to bust to let it out but I really wanted to keep it a surprise. I will tell you, Christopher Beck, the man in charge of the HERO's program for the St Jude Marathon was the first to get one. He saw the one I had on the day they came in and told me that I knew he had to have one, so I took the one I had on off and told him he knew he was taking mine! He has been so helpful. Team members, if you can take a minute and send him a thank you email that would be wonderful. He works so hard and this event has become so huge it is an unbelievable amount to deal with. I know things seem frustrating to us at times when we don't get what we think we are supposed to or checks do not get posted as quickly as we would like for them to, but this man is AWESOME and INCREDIBLE at what he does. For any of you who have had the opportunity to meet him, you know you can not meet a more dedicated and extremely nice man. I appreciate all he does and continues to do to help our team.

I know this is long, and it does not even begin to cover all of the events or pictures from this weekend. It may take me a month to get all of this out to you. I will do my best to cover and share as much as I can. There are hundreds of pictures and I do not even have the ones Charles (my husband) took yet. I am going to have to figure out a way to do a video.

I will give you a run down on how the events went. On Thursday, Allison, Susan, Brenda, Lenzy and Marcella came in to help out with set up for the dinner on Friday night. As I have told you, we meet up with other St Jude families for dinner at Chili's that night.

Friday, last minute errands and set up. The dinner was that night. At the dinner we had around 120 in attendance. Our team members and then we had 12 St Jude families join us. I will share pictures and fill you in on the families in attendance on another post. At the dinner we had a special guest speaker, Miss Heather Braswell. She did an outstanding job! We also enjoyed a video put together by my wonderful husband filled with pictures from the previous two years. It was such a walk down memory lane! We held a silent auction with several baskets and individual items. This was fun and we made a little extra money for St Jude in doing it. It may be just me, but I think it was another big successful pre marathon dinner.

Saturday, it was very sunny and beautiful but COLD! Thank goodness it was not as windy as last year, and it did seem to warm up a bit and was nice by the time we were in the stadium waiting on everyone to get in. Afterwards we had a change in the location for lunch. Instead of the little burger place downtown, we went out to our favorite Chili's to support them since they do so much to support us and St Jude. This worked out GREAT! Call ahead seating for 25+ people is wonderful! We walked right in and were seated immediately. Did I tell you I love this Chili's! In keeping with tradition, we came out to my house for some Memphis BBQ and cheesecake. This was a blast, we all enjoyed Mameow, Reagan's grandmother, telling her story of the events of her morning at the marathon! I'll share more on that in a later post too. She is such a sweet lady and we were so blessed to have her and her husband Phillip with us on the team this year. She prepare little bags with 5 gum balls in each bag (one for each of the fives years of Reagan's life) to go in our team goodie bags. She included a picture of Reagan in them. This was just so special for us. Thank You again Barbara for sharing these with us.

Sunday, morning church services with me at the congregation where I attend. This is always so uplifting and so neat to be able to pray and worship our most Awesome God together. Then on to Macaroni Grill for lunch. Then the really sad part saying our bye's as everyone one by one began making their way back home to their families. Everyone made it back safe and sound, we thank you Lord for the safe travel for everyone. I am already looking forward to next year and seeing each one again.

As of right now Team Believe has raised $20,177.00!!!! This is just totally amazing and I know that is NOT a final total yet. Each year, our team grows and becomes more of an advocate to promote awareness for childhood cancer. I know that I am not the only one who is so proud of this GREAT team and group of outstanding prayer warriors! I look for each of you to join us next year. Start planning now. The next big St Jude Marathon is December 4, 2010.

Please continue to keep Dax and Jack in your prayers.


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