Imagine 2 sisters are as close as they can be. We grew up in Memphis listening to stories of Danny Thomas from our grandmother and 2 aunts who were part of the First Ladies of St. Jude. We listened as they told stories of what an amazing place it was. Our family has always supported St. Jude, through Math-a-Thon, donating, walks, runs, etc. We had no idea that years later we would become an even bigger part of the St. Jude family.
In 2012, 9 year old Alyssa, Angela's Daughter, was diagnosed with pediatric melanoma. This happened after being told that 9 year olds just don't get melanoma. We turned to St. Jude. She began treatment and endured 4 surgeries, as the cancer had spread into her lymph nodes. St. Jude took the best care of her and helped to save her. In treating her they found out that she has a syndrome called, KDVS, or Koolen-de Vries Syndrome. This is a disorder characterized by development delay. Alyssa is now 15 years old, 5 years NED(no evidence of disease), a freshman in high school, and completed her first 10K this past year thanks to the life saving work of St. Jude!
We had started moving forward and were once again knocked down by cancer.
Tyler, Michelle's son, who was 6 at the time, was diagnosed with ALL(Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) on Fed 4, 2013. His body endured almost 3 years of chemo, spinal draws, bone marrow, OT, PT, blood & platelet transfusions, etc and on the evening of August 29, 2015 we learned he was in remission. If it weren't for St. Jude, we might not have him. Ty is now in 6th grade, on a swim team, Boy Scout, and did his first 10K last year for the kids of St. Jude.
Our team started out in 2012 as Team Alyssa Rocks. The next year we became Team Alyssa Rocks & Dude Dance. We have grown to a team of over 140 runners and grow each year. This is our 7th year. St. Jude never once asked us to pay them anything over what our insurance didn't pay. How amazing is that? They didn't say sorry we won't do that because your insurance might not pay. They moved forward saying we will do whatever it takes to save your childrens lives and your focus should be on your child and your family, not money. For us, we will stand side by side with St. Jude and ALSAC until NO child dies in the dawn of life. We will fight for all the families hearing those words right at this very moment, for the families who have lost their children, for our angel friends like Gage & Arianna, for the families who are walking the paths that we have walked. Our amazing team has helped to raise over $300,000 for the place that has given us something you can't put a price tag on. St. Jude has given us HOPE, more memories, more birthdays, more holidays, more laughter, more tears, more time to travel, more time to be together as a family. Without you, without Danny Thomas' vision, without St. Jude, without ALSAC our families would not be whole. Thank you for your love and support, but most importantly, thank you for giving us Ty & Alyssa!