Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Shake account from a Newbie!

Hello Mojoy followers! I’m stepping in to “guest blog” today, in which I’m more than honored!, I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated to step into Mo’s GREEN shoes, but I’m give it a whirl! The real question is “How could I NOT want to share the wonderful experience I had this weekend! The Shake for Jake weekend was one I have anticipated for quite some time. It’s like waiting to “jump in” during a game of “jump rope”! You’re excited and know it’s gonna be fun, but you’re not sure just when to JUMP IN! Well this year, ladies and gents, SNEKCIP jumped in!

To condense my personal account of such a magnanimous weekend was no easy feat. I could sit back and give you a visual of everything, but I believe Mo has covered that quite well. I have to admit though pictures and descriptions provide a “good visual” , but actuallybe there in person is by far the BEST! As we were welcomed with open arms, Bree and I felt like family from the time we set foot in the convention center. I had to laugh because my husband thought I was crazy to drive 5hours to meet and stay with people, that I had never met in person before. What’s even worse, I was taking our 4yr old!! I have to give him a little credit, he does trust my judgment, just sometimes…it’s questionable!

However, after following this family thru Jakes illness and on thru MoJoy, I knew in my heart of hearts this was where I was suppose to be! Boy oh boy, was I spot on!! I never anticipated the enormity of the “Shake” or the timeless effort that the Raborn/Massey family and volunteers put into it. I was equally in awe of the close-knit community of West Monroe. From teens to Seniors! Everyone donated of their time! How awesome and rare is that!!! There is no stone left unturned in this awesome event! From the beautiful cylinders of black/green sand at the entrance to the stage crew inside!

I told my husband it was like a scene out of “Willie Wonka and The Chocolate Factory” ! The one where “Charlie gets the GOLDEN TICKET and is invited to the factory”! That’s what it felt like when I had the “SHAKE FOR JAKE” ticket in my hand! When I entered the “Shake” I was simply in awe. I just wanted to sit and “absorb” the evening. What humbled me mostly was the huge smiles and the caring hearts of Don and Staci’s. To not be angry and remorseful was hard to understand BEFORE I attended this weekend. Now I know the reason they smile, I know the reason they continue to do what they do, and most importantly….I BELIEVE!

There is no doubt in my heart that next year will be even more spectacular, because of the dedication of The Raborn/Massey clan and the wonderful community of WM! Thank you again for making me a part of such a wonderful cause. Special thanks to Jin-Jin for the accommodations, and Mary Allison for the babysitting service!! Bree STILL talks about you!! Mo, you are simply awesome and even more engaging in person. Thank you for the personal tour of THE BAH (it is awesome)! Gabbi and Ellie you girls are more beautiful in person. The saying is “We do everything in TEXAS big” well I think there is a small community in LOUSIANA can make that a questionable statement! Thank you for the honor of being there and I most definitely will be back NEXT YEAR!!

Dawn "Dee" Pickens
(snekcip in comments section!)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Jake's Jamboree

I gotta tell you... this NEVER EVER gets old. This is the welcome I get when I come home every day, it's what I get when she rounds the corner and sees I have arrived anywhere she is, and on this day, it is what happened when she showed up at the Convention Center and saw me. I just love it.

These three girls are sitters and, with Mary Allison out of town, KK has been a lifesaver this week!

Someone grabbed my camera and caught a few precious moments.

I liked em all, so I just posted them all!

So while my baby loves me and showers me with affection... my big kid strolls by, nonchalantly with the big kids, being all CHILL and ignoring me altogether!

But, I gotta say, snowcones are pretty hard to resist. In fact, that is her primary request for her upcoming birthday party. Yep... I'll have a four year old in about two weeks!!

Remember Sarah?! Well, she hung out with us at Jake's Jamboree!

A local bakery (Tummy Yummy) brought all these SUPER CUTE cookies and goodies to the volunteers and JORF devotees.

I mean, like, REALLY! What a nice donation.

My kids LOVED these! I think we may have to have some of these for Ellie Sue's birthday party too!

And then it happened! The Hooters girls arrived! They were there with a bunch of wings and to serve on the panel of the telethon.

Didn't take long for Zach to go and "serve" these girls by helping them find their way around and see their way to the telethon panel. Zach, that is SO giving of you. NO. Really!

I have had several people contact me about the tee shirts. I will be sure and give you a way to purchase them if you so desire by the end of the week! They were our favorites ever. Mainly because it had a big fat '11 on the back!

And please pay attention to these pursed lips! I am starting to see them in many of Ellie Sue's pictures lately. I just WONDER where she learns this stuff! Ha.

Almost done with my weekend's photos. I actually didn't take many pics. Don hired a photographer, so I didn't feel the pressure I usually do to capture everything. I felt more pressure to make as many things as I could possibly get made for Jake's store. So, I DO wish I had a picture of the hundred pair of earrings and hundred cuffs that made it to the store! ha. Oh well...

Hitting the hay!


Monday, June 27, 2011

JOR Foundation Telethon

You know you will be seeing pics from this weekend for a while, right? Would you believe that I didnt' take nearly the number of pics I typically take? Don and Staci hired a photographer, so I figured it was his job to get all the pics... since he was being paid and all! So, I didn't lug that thing around quite like I normally do. You've heard me talk about the telethon... well, this is it. All official and all! Hey, Kelli! and Cherry. Those are my two first cousins on the bottom row in red. And between them is a friend they brought, Niki, who is singed up to do the 1/2 marathon for TEAMJAKE in December. Our team has been in the fundraising lead for a couple of months now. Just sayin! Go Team Leaders, Karl and Lori Ann.

We have this commnity convenience store/ gas station that many of us live by. They gave items for our silent auction, and then showed up with surprise lunch goodies for any of the volunteers who may have wanted lunch. How cool, huh?!

And a few minutes later, in strolled Jason, with Iron Horse BBQ, with full on catering for all the staff, volunteers, etc. I mean a BBQ SPREAD!

That's Jason there. He was big brother to one of my very good friends in junior high and high school. She is a personal trainer in Georgia. Where did I go astray!?

And then this beautiful kid showed up to represent at the telethon. Shelbi recently went through radiation AGAIN for a brain tumor which is still present, but currently shrinking. Shelbi Mae then SUNG for the crowd on TV!! There's not a shy bone in that kid's body!

Oh, wait! Did I mention that Chik Fil A showed up TOO with milkshakes for everyone.

Going on in the back room was a blood drive. They told me as they were packing up that they'd not had too much activity. When I asked how many had given that day...

Do I even have to say it?! 11!! Of course it was 11!

Some of you may have seen this picture of Facebook. I just had to share it. She went outside and got into the face paint on her own. This is some sort of hyroglyphics that was obviously written by her! I asked her what it said, and she said , "Believe".

And also during the telethon and blood drive, we were working hard and heavy to get more stuff made for our store. These three darlings were there to make jewelry when none of them ever had! Hey, nothing to stop em! They dove right in. Thank you Hanna Kate, Erika, and Dee!!

Also, thank you to those of you who sent me your phone numbers so I could contact you about a donation. It was cool to connect voices with names.... and in some cases, faces. Everyone seems to "know" me, but I know so few of you!

Another question I am getting a lot is about ordering a tee shirt. I mentioned it to Don, and he said give him about a week, and he will have access to them on the JOR Foundation website. I'll let you know when it's time.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Shake 4 Jake 2011

Ready for this year's Shake 4 Jake report?! Well, here we go! For starters, you should know that we had more people at the golf tournament than ever, more people jogging for Jake than ever, more money spent in Jake's store than ever, and over 125 more people attend the event than ever. So that's good! No. Great!

This is Angie. Angie is the ultimate board member. She works and works hard! She, her husband, Mickey, and her son, Beaux, were all there the entire weekend to help... from set up to clean up/ tear down. Know what I think is the coolest thing?! Her son is in junior high. He is learning from his mama and daddy what it means to serve with compassion, to work hard for a good cause, and to do so without complaining and with a smile on your face. THAT, my friends, is a legacy to leave! Thank you, Angie.

We had volunteers who came and set up to put feathers in peoples' hair. The feathers were red, lime green, and white/black striped. Super cute!

And then, Nurse Terri showed up. Nutse Terri was an ICU nurse at St. Jude. She was a good friend, who decided this would be the year she would make the 5 hour trip down from Memphis to attend the Shake. After all, she took care of lots of the babies whose mamas were at the Shake.

And this is Courtney and Lindsay. They were a couple of the ones in the crowd who went the wild and crazy route, monogramming their shirts, making wing jewlery, getting Believe goodies, and obviously wearing lime green accoutrements!

This is Dawn and Tina. They are a couple of the mamas whose babies are now playing with Jake. They come year after year to celebrate the lives of these three boys and to help raise money for families who are now walking in the same shoes.

And this is Dee. Or Dawn. Or "snekcip" if you pay attention to the blog comments!

She hopped her sassy little tail into her car, threw in a four year old, and told Texas, "I'll see ya on Sunday!" She drove all the way from Beaumont, TX, only because she has read about the event and has always wanted to be here for it. She stayed at JinJin's house! I've asked her to write up her experience to share since I would imagine everyone now knows what to expect from my perspective of the event and would like to hear from someone else!

And this is Hayden and a couple of his friends. For whatever reason, I remember Clay, but I can't remember the girl's name. Trish?! Sorry, Hayden's female friend! Anyway, Hayden is Stanton's brother. Hayden and I used to come up with all the "fun" things to do with those two boys when we were all staying at the Ronald McDonald House or inpatient at the Jude. That gave the mamas and daddies some down time, and besides Hayden and I pretty much liked playing anyway!

Hey, Hayden, remember that time when it snowed and we took the Hummer to the grocery store parking lot and spun out in circles?! Yeah. good times. Safe, Mel. Really safe! Tina, did we ever share that story with you?!

These three darling divas are from Ruston, and I do believe it was their first Shake event. Nicola, middle, is a mom to a kiddo in my clinic. Emery, on the left is a blog reader. Hey, Emery. Oh wait... you never comment! Shame! Other chick... Mallory. Nice to meet you, Mallory!

This is our banged up crew at the check in table. Polly's story is this... she was out running an errand for the set up and got hit by a little old lady. BJ, were you in town?! Just kidding. Anyway, I get a text that says she just had her heart rate checked and it was 111. She said, "Hey Jake". I texted her back that I wasnt' the least bit surprised. Flash forward a few hours, and I find out about the wreck and that she was texting me from the back of an AMBULANCE! THAT is the kind of volunteers I am talking about! Stillllll thinking about Jake and his impact!

And then there's Aunt Bonnie. She had a fairly major surgery a week ago and hobbled herself to the front door and just inside a bit to take up tickets for Shake 4 Jake. She'd have had to been hit by a train to miss it!! And of course, Aunt Starr is there every single year, as is Uncle Chris! They loved that boy like he was one of their own too.

One of the things I think is neat about Shake 4 Jake is the special touches seen throughout. It really is, as they say, in the details! For example, this heart with wings stamp is what gets you in the door. And by the way, the cuffs FLEW out ! I only have a few more. To those of you who ordered them via email. I sent the first ones I heard from, then had to just pack up and head to Shake on Friday. I'll check the stock and see if any you asked for are still in there. I know Riley, Cindy, and a few more sent me an email.

Oh, and we also sold these FABULOUS rings. Arent' they great?!

This is PawPaw Raborn and Margie. They, too, were there throughout the entire set up experience, the whole day of the telethon and Shake, and PawPaw was back to help clean up. Thanks, you two, for being available to handle any job!

This is Jake's store. Have I mentioned that a preliminary count is that they made $12,000 on our handmade jewelry and tee shirts. Not too shabby, eh?!

So, you met Polly earlier. She is the committee head for the volunteers. Anna Lea may just get volunteer of the year! She was up at that convention center both days and helped with absolutely anything we needed! Thanks, Anna Lea, for your undying commitment to the JOR Foundation.So, here's a peek at the room around 6:30. The event started at 6:00. Because you can only fit so many people into the room and still have a small dancefloor, an auction, a buffet line, and a bandstand, there were MANY who had to stand. We did the best we could, but this year, the only people who got a "reserved" table were those who committed $2500 or more. And believe me when I say, there were LOTS of reserved tables. We have a follow up meeting on Wednesday of this week, so there are many "problems" to solve. "Problems" like how to better accomodate so many people.

My MMPT peeps have been supporting my family and this foundation for the past 7 years. Kinda hard to believe! They were there when Jake first received his diagnosis and worked the magic to see that I could get to Memphis- OFTEN! And still today, if it supports the foundation, then well, they are gonna be there! That means a lot to me.

Table two of MMPT peeps. We had a CREW!

Even our sweet little students who are at our clinic doing an internship either bought a tee shirt or showed up to support our cause.

Charlie is our emcee every year. He does a really great job keeping things moving along and keeping the crowd engaged with ongoing raffles, time limits of the silent auction, and etc.

Check out all the names on the banners above. We had over $60,000 in sponsorships. We have such an awesome and supportive community! There were people from all walks of life. Take for instance these two friends. One has on as wild an outfit he could find, complete with green boat shoes (are they still called that!?). And the other, a cowboy, wouldn't be caught dead in lime green anything! It is fun to see all the crazy outfits!

Can you believe how many people were at this cool event?! This is about 75% or so of the crowd.

Everyone listened very attentively as the video played of the kids near and far who've had cancer, as well as the interviews which were conducted with one family recently. Oh, and a parent of a local kid with a brain tumor (now cancer free!) also took the mic and told their family's story and how the JOR Foundation helped when they really needed it.

There was really something for everyone. A whole lotta activity!

Todd's parents came from Orlando, FL, for the big night. They know how committed Todd and I are to this organization, so they wanted to come see what all the fuss is about. Well, now they know! They said they knew from what we told them it was a big deal, but being here helped them realize how much actual work goes into this weekend. AND how many turn out to enjoy it and give generously to help it grow. Recognize any of these LA Tech co-eds!? Hmmm? Well, I'll give you a hint. There's a brunette who was dancing with her date who kept getting a tap on the shoulder or maybe even an actual physical intervention by her surrogate daddy, Todd the Bod! You got it. KK! This year she got to see what we've been doing every year while we ask her to keep our kids. She's onto us now! Thank goodness for Mary Allison.

CoCo is on the bottom left. Her little sister, Julianne, joined Mary Allison in the babysitting department. Remember her from the beach? Those have got to be the wealthiest teenagers around! Oh, and bottom right is Brittany. Brittany reads my blog. Good girl! so, shout out to Brit! Heeeeeyyy! Hope y'all had a good time.

And this is Kim. Kim is a physical therapist in my Ruston clinic. She is pictured with Nicola. Nicola is mom to one of the cutest kids I've ever seen and we get to see him every week in the same said clinic!

Here's Lori. She was my jewelry making compadre! I am talking we made jewelry until LATE on Friday night to have plenty of extra things to sell. I appreciate you ,Lori, for all you did, as well as for all the comic relief!

As the night wore on, there were cellphones coming out everywhere and pictures were posted all over Facebook. Speaking of pictures, there are pics taken by the band on their website,

Flyby Go check that out. And don't hold me responsible for anything! That was late night. Just sayin!And finally, there were some newbies at the event. This is Anna Lea and her cousin, Jason and his wife, Nicole. They almost didn't 'make it, but I promised them it would be worth it. Same is true for you. Next year, you should just jump in your car and head to Louisiana! It will be inspiring... no doubt about it. I'll let Dee tell you more about it this week.