Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Cheerleaders!!

As you know, we consider ourselves the "cheerleaders". We attend the pep rally before we leave town for Memphis. We get the signage ready. We help with the tee shirts. We print posters of Jake's pictures. And the night before the race, we hit the course, putting out about 50 or so signs to encourage the runners along the route. As I risked life and limb running across the road to put out the signs!! Others run for miles and miles. I take risks like this one.

That's me. And that's my role... cheerleader. Sign putter outer. And the next day, sign picker upper. I don't run. So, this is how I contribute.

And this is a pair of signs we put out that night. There is a little picture of a "bee" before the "encouraged". Pops made it and thought he was being so clever with this little photo sentence. Jake was wearing his backpack in this photo. It was no ordinary backpack. It was full of his fluids that went directly into his central line that was right in his chest. What three year old should have to carry such a backpack!? And still... he smiled!

I got lots of honks on the way to Memphis!

It was imporant to us that the runners knew that we, as a family, are very grateful for their sacrifice and for their contributing to the fundraising efforts of St. Jude.

Here is our driver, Staci.

This was the back up crew for putting out the signs all over the course. Jin went back to the room to cut the mile markers. Staci drove, I jumped out and put out the signs. Madi cheered us on.

We had so many new signs this year, with photos on them that we were able to put a photo pic with almost every word sign we put out. That made for more impact, which meant it was easier (I hope) for the runners to see when they were running by.

Where's Veronicia? Kinda like Where's Waldo?!

Veronicia's role was to put the stakes in the signs and pass them forward. Even though she gets carsick, she sacrificed her own health and climbed right on back to the back. Now, that's sacrifice, V!!

Look at the Target House. They were all ablaze with Christmas lights. I remember the days we played on their playground equipment, shot pool with Jake and the big boys, and rode up and down and up and down and up and down the elevators there. This is also where we sang, "I went skyyyyy diving...." at the top of our lungs.

Would you look at that sweet smile? That would encourage me!! How boy you!? This was when Jake could barely eat a thing. Look at his little neck. He was so skinny!! And yet the sign behind his photo says it all. He kept right on smiling. NO matter what!

It was pitch black and we were still flicking the overhead light on to read a map 26 miles all around Memphis. We really did pretty well. Only took us two hours to get all the signs out.

The runners' course went right by several spots that were very dear to us.

Hey. It's LeBonheur. Or "Bonner" to Jake. It's where he had two brain surgeries. It's where Staci was told Jake, because of his age couldn't have a full sized bed. And so...since he was only used to sleeping with her every night, climbed into the crib with him. Suddenly, they made accomodations!

Some of our signs may have hit home a little more than others, but they were always only meant to motivate!

And all for this super cool, awesome, one of a kind, kid!!

Tomorrow, I start showcasing our awesome runners!!



hannahbeth said...

Love me some Jake Raborn! I'm so glad I was able to come this year- it is definitely going to be a yearly thing! It was also neat to meet a SUPER cool Aunt Mo, Staci, & Jin Jin!

Theresa Shirley said...

That's the sweetest, most precious face ever!! Those signs would definitely make me persevere!

snekcip said...

That child smile could motivate anybody!!! I love the dedication of everyone!! The story of Stacy climbing in the bed "just brought tears to my eyes"! Oh how I miss that PRECIOUS JAKE!!! Smiling here in TX!!

Shannon said...

Way to go MO keeping the memories alive!!! My hats off to all of TEAM JAKE!!!

Susantwilhelm said...

Thanks, Mo. What a beautiful way to remember this little boy that changed so many of us. The entire post brought tears to my eyes as I remembered "living" your life through your posts those 2 1/2 years. He sure has a big heart to go along with that smile!

Diana said...

Wonderful turnout of people. Jake's team did a great job.

jennifer beard said...

The photos and signs were such an inspiration...glad I finally got to "meet" you! LoL

Renee said...

Team Jake looks like they rocked in Memphis.

SamC said...

What a love. I miss him. His little sister has his smile and cheeks. :o)

Mbeaty19 said...

Those signs make me tear up. Especially the YES YOU CAN sign. Like you say you don't run but what you do is such an inspiration. I believe that those signs is truly what helps keeping all those runners going. There are no words for how special you all are and what you do. St Jude is blessed to have such awesome cheerleaders. Just like so many families are blessed to have St Jude!!!!

KimCox said...

The event this year was AWESOME (as usual!). I didn't get to tell you that one of my students got a marriage proposal at the finish line (her boyfriend carried the ring in his pocket through the whole race and proposed on the loudspeaker at finish line). Everyone that I've ever brought with me says afterward that it was LIFECHANGING... such a good way to describe the ongoing effect Jake and St. Jude have!!

Kaia said...

Aw, those signs and pictures made me tear up! You're right, NOBODY should have to carry such a backpack! I pray every day for everyone going through that...

Meredith said...

So I read a blog and she ran in the St. Judes half-marathon. She talked about your purple and yellow signs, "run to remember jake" and how beautiful Jake was. Seeing those signs inspired her!