Monday, December 14, 2015

St Jude has my heart

When I set goals, I go BIG... and I do whatever I can do to make them happen! Ever since I read about Heaven, I have supported St. Jude. In 2012 (as you can see in my goals on one of the tabs on this page).

First off, I want to thank every single person who has supported me, and donated money to St. Jude. I love each and every single one of you!! I can't thank you enough!

The first stop when I got to Memphis was a tour of St. Jude. When I walked in the front door, I immediately got chills, and got teary eyed. I felt like Heaven was there with me. I was texting Jamey (Heaven's mom) as I was on the tour. We weren't allowed to take a lot of pictures due to the privacy of the families that were there.
Here is one of the first photo op spots. It was a gingerbread house that was made by the kids at St. Jude. I thought it was so adorable!!

We found out that St. Jude keeps every child's DNA in the basement for future testing. I think that is so amazing! One day cancer will be 100% curable!



I asked Jamey what Heaven's favorite spots were at St. Jude. She said "the fish tanks." I let my tour guide know about the fish tanks, and asked if we were going to go to that room. She said, "No, but when we go to the next photo op spot, follow me down the hallway. I'll take you there, but we gotta do it quick, cause we aren't supposed to go into this room during the tour." I followed her, and there were two fish tanks. Random fact: I love fish too!! :)



A little throwback picture--- When I visited Heaven, we took some photobooth pics. Here we are being fishies!!!

After the tour, we were allowed to go to the gift shop on the campus. I walked in, and the first song that was playing was Taylor Swift. I swear Heaven did that on purpose! :)

Next stop: The expo.

I walked into the expo, and there was a random van you could write on. I climbed on top, and wrote what you see above. That was fun!

As I walk walking around the expo, I saw this SUV with names on it. I asked the lady how people got their names on the car. She said, "If you raised over $500 by the end of May your name got put on the car. Did you do that?" I said, "I don't know, but I guess it never hurts to look." She asked what my name was, and I told her. She goes, "Let's look. It's in ABC order." She took me over to where the C's were, and I saw my name. My face was priceless. There was a photographer there taking pics, and I wish she would have captured that moment. I felt so special!







The next stop was the Spaghetti Dinner.

Let's rewind just a little bit: I met this family while on the tour of St. Jude. They asked me if I was by myself, and I said I was. I let them know I was going to go to the spaghetti dinner. They said, "Look for us. You can sit with us. We'll be wearing the shirts we are wearing now." Out of 2500 plus people, we somehow found each other. It was crazy. How on earth it happened, I have not the slightest idea. We got to know each other really well. You'll hear more about them later on.

During the dinner, there was a big TV showing people's tweets. There were probably 10 or so tweets that kept getting shown. The computer guy would throw random tweets in there that people tweeted him. He showed maybe 5-10 extra ones in an hour time span. Mine got picked! I got so excited!!

My text to Jamey:
Me: (Including pic) I GOT ON THE BIG SCREEN!
Jamey: I love you!

The spaghetti dinner was so emotional and powerful. A mom of a child at St. Jude spoke. During her story, she said that she was running tomorrow, and she mentioned that the next time we think about stopping to walk up that hill, count to 140. I am drawing a blank on what the meaning behind that was, but it was dealing with amount of treatments her son has had, or something. Remember this for a little further down in my story as well...

Another one of the speakers was Rick Shadyac, the Chief Executive officer of ALSAC. He is basically the fundraising guy for St. Jude. Without him, St. Jude wouldn't be where or what it is today. Remember this name as well.

They announced the top 5 team fundraisers, and top 5 individual fundraisers for the St. Jude Marathon weekend. I can't remember the exact numbers... but for the individuals, one girl was 10, and another girl was 13. I am so proud of them!

I texted Jamey and told her there was no way I was NOT going to be able to run this again next year. St. Jude has my heart forever. She said that we are going to get a huge team together to run it. I told her we have a goal-- and our goal is to be in the top 10 for teams, but our ultimate goal is the top 5 and to be announced at the spaghetti dinner. Do your remember at the beginning of this post I mentioned that when I set goals, I do whatever I can to get them accomplished? Well, this WILL happen.

Let the race begin!! I signed up for the half originally, but due to my knee giving me havoc, I ended up switching to the 5k a couple weeks before the race. My bib still said half- so I was told I could do either. I ended up doing the 5k.



 
I texted this photo to Jamey and said "I'm off!" and she said "YOU GO GIRL!"

Random fact: I wore Heaven's shoes for the race!!

As I started to cross the starting line, I started bawling. I couldn't believe I was actually there. It felt like a dream. I knew Heaven was there with me, cheering me on the whole way. She is the best cheerleader!! I pretty much had tears streaming down my face the whole race. Earlier in the post, I mentioned about the speaker counting 150 steps before she decided to stop running. I decided I would count to 140. That's 20 weeks (or 140 days) since the day the Lord called Heaven home. 

As we went through the campus of St. Jude, I am pretty sure I touched every single person's hand that was cheering on the sidelines. I can't tell you how motivating (and emotional) that was.
I started to step to the side at a water station because my knee braces were rubbing against my other leg, and causing it to rub a hole in my pants. As you can see, there was a spot that was rubbed raw. I just got those pants a couple days earlier, so I was not a happy camper that happened! A boy came up behind me as I started to step off to the side and goes, "Team Heaven, don't stop! Keep running!" I heard him say that, and said I told myself I got this... I'm not going to adjust it... and I kept going. The boy and I finished the last mile together. I ended up sprinting once I saw the finish line, and beat him by a little bit. I waited for him at the finish line, and tapped on his shoulder. I gave him the biggest hug with tears streaming down my face and said, "Because of you I didn't stop. I love you!"



Here is proof I turned back to look for the boy who inspired me to keep going!! 

After the race, I went to the VIP section. I went to go get a massage, which was definitely needed! There were three chairs to a room. One of the guys next to me mentioned he was a patient at St. Jude in 2011. I waited til after he was done with the massage to talk to him.
Me: Do you know a girl named Heaven Kelley?
Him: Haven?
Me: No, Heaven. She met Taylor Swift when she was a patient there.
Him: YES! I know her! We have so many stories together! She was the only patient who met Taylor.
Me: What's your name? Do you mind if I text Heaven's mom to see if she remembers you?
Him: JonMichael. And no, I don't mind.
Me: Jamey just texted me back. She said "Heaven loved him. They would lay on the chairs in the waiting rooms next to each other."
Him: Let's get a picture!

I keep saying Heaven was there.. and somehow, out of the 20,000 runners, I run into him!

After the massage, and talking with JonMichael a little bit, I went back downstairs to see what venders were outside. I saw this, and had to get a picture! It's kind of an awkward picture, but I rang that bell- and I rang it hard and screamed "I LOVE YOU HEAVEN!!!"


I got my medal engraved. They actually messed up on the first one. They said they were just going to toss it, so I asked if I could have it. My goal was to run the 5K in 45 minutes, because I planned to run/walk it. I didn't train much, because while I was training for the half, I tripped over a curb, and landed on my bad knee. It's been messed up since. It started to hurt worse a month or so before the race, so I didn't run at all. I ended up running the whole race, and got a PR!! (Personal Record). It's still slow, but for not training at all, and having a possible torn ACL again, I'll take the time!! Plus, I beat my time by 11 minutes!


This picture is a little out of order... but here I am pictured with Rick Shadyac. I was sitting at the table with the family from the tour/dinner (I'll explain a little later..) and I saw his name on his bib. I said "That's my dad's name!" and Jordan, the dad, goes "That's Rick Shadyac. From Alsac!" I was like, "He looks so different close up!" I mentioned that I wanted to thank him for everything he does for St. Jude. I asked Jordan what to say, so I did exactly what he said. I went up to him as we was leaving.
Me: Mr. Rick, I just wanted to thank you for everything you've done for St. Jude. I have a friend named Heaven who was a patient at St. Jude, who is now up in Heaven looking down on me. I am actually wearing her shoes!
Mr. Rick: I want to thank you as well! Your story just gave me chills!

I have him a huge hug, and Jordan grabbed my phone, and snapped this picture.

After I was done getting my metal engraved, I went back up to the VIP section. I spoke with a guy who actually dated the person who wrote "The climb" by Miley Cyrus. He went to go meet his wife at the finish line, so I decided to get up as well. I turned the corner to grab a drink, and ran into the boys from the Charlet family. (My friends from the tour/dinner). Again, out of all the people that ran, I see them AGAIN!!!



 
This is Collin. He is the boy that kept me going. 

Again, I apologize that this is out of order. We didn't get this picture until we said our goodbyes... so that is why this is at the end.

When I saw the three boys, I asked them how they did during the race. I went down the line, asking them how they did. I get to the littlest one, and he goes, "I ran with you." I was like, "THAT WAS YOU?" I don't know why it didn't dawn on me before that, but for some reason it didn't. Their mom was running the half, and their dad was running the full. I hung out with them the whole time. We had a blast- they are such sweet young men! I even found out that one of the boys names was Jude- which I LOVED! The boy who pushed me is Collin. When their mom, Aimee, finished, we all sat outside waiting for their dad, Jordan, to finish. He came up to see us. He mentioned that he had a rough race. He went to clean out his fanny pack thing, and said that he had three pieces of gum left, and pulled it out of his fanny pack. The gum was torn up into a bunch of tiny pieces. He came over to me, and told me to put my hand out. I thought he was going to give me the gum to throw away. He gave me a coin. Here's what he said:
Jordan: You need to carry this with you every time you run. It is St. Sebastion. On the back it reads "St. Sebastion is the Saint of Athletes and sports, help me to do the best I can, aim high and always give it my best effort, and if I should fall give me the strength to try harder.."

That was so sweet of him! It's in my wallet- and you betcha I'll carry this with me forever!

Here are some pictures I took at a photobooth in the VIP center.



The next day, Sheryl and Rod took me down Beale Street. I saw this painting on the street, and had to get a picture taken!! Of course I had to get Heaven's shoes in it! I was also wearing the shoe laces I got at the St. Jude 5k in KC in September!


I am considered a St. Jude Hero because of the amount of money I raised.

As I left Memphis, I had the girl next to me take a picture of me as we flew over Memphis. My goal was to get St. Jude in the picture. I think I missed it... but it's the thought that counts!! :) I sent this picture to Jamey, and she said "it will be in your heart forever". She couldn't have said that any better. St. Jude will ALWAYS have my heart.... FOREVER.

I have only ran a few races in my lifetime. Every single one that I have ran was for Heaven. As I cross the finish line, I do a "Taylor heart", T, and an H, which stands for Team Heaven. I am so glad that the photographers captured this photo of me doing an H as I crossed the finish line! It's PERFECT!


I am ending this post with a couple pictures of me and Heaven.  This is when she dropped me off at the airport. This was one of the hardest goodbyes I have ever had to do. As I walked through the doors, and they drove off, Jamey texted me saying "Heaven just asked when you're coming back, because she didn't want you to leave."
This was our final goodbye hug. That hug is still wrapped around me, and it will be forever. "Even though we're miles away, that place in my heart will always stay." ~Lyrics by me


Taylor Swift brought Heaven and I together. You can read about it more on one of my blog tabs. Because of that, I am ending it with some lyrics by Taylor Swift.

"Stay beautiful, cause I see, sparks fly, whenever you smile and had the best day with you, today"




Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Happy Birthday Colin

EDIT:
I just watched the episode on Good Morning America. I LOVED it- and as a matter of fact, I'm crying right now! I can't wait to see his response when he gets home from disney world!!!

You can watch the episode here!! http://gma.yahoo.com/video/colins-birthday-surprise-party-124543069.html



****

I came upon a facebook page, Happy Birthday Colin, and it really hit home to me. His mom wrote this on a pinned post:

"I am Colin's mom, I created this page for my amazing, wonderful, challenging son who is about to turn 11 on March 9th. Because of Colin's disabilities, social skills are not easy for him, and he often acts out in school, and the other kids don't like him. So when I asked him if he wanted a party for his birthday, he said there wasn't a point because he has no friends. He eats lunch alone in the office everyday because no one will let him sit with them, and rather than force someone to be unhappy with his presence, he sits alone in the office. So I thought, if I could create a page where people could send him positive thoughts and encouraging words, that would be better than any birthday party. Please join me in making my very original son feel special on his day."  

Here is a picture of him:

His smile would brighten anyones day! 

Colin, I want to wish you a happy happy 11th birthday. While you're going to celebrate your birthday, I will be celebrating my 1/2 birthday the same day! My birthday is September 9th! Be looking for a package from me soon! :)  

** IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEND SOME BIRTHDAY WISHED TO COLIN, HERE IS HIS ADDRESS: 

Colin-
PO box 756
Richland, MI 49083-0756



* I AM NOT SAYING THAT COLIN HAS ASPERGERS. IT HAS NOT BEEN SAID WHAT HE HAS...  I AM JUST SHARING MY STORY, WHICH IS SIMILAR...*

It breaks my heart to see people getting picked on in this world. Believe me, I know what it's like. I have been bullied my whole life. It started when I was younger, but especially when I was the same age as him. My mom passed away when I had just turned 11, and it took a toll on my social life. I started to become the target for getting picked on. It got worse when I was in high school. My dad had me take a couple of tests, and I was diagnosed with symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome. In 9th grade, I couldn't walk down the hallway without someone saying a rumor that was going around. Instead of being in my hallway, I started to go to the senior locker area to meet people. I used to write seniors letters, and they'd write me back. Some would be really nice, and encouraging. Others.. very mean. Recently, I was actually going through some of my things I kept, and I happened to come across a few of the letters. As I read them, I cried. At first, they were tears of sadness. It brought back memories to how bad people picked on me. But then I realized how far I have come, and how much I've changed. Those tears of sadness, became tears of joy. 

Birthday parties were pretty big for us growing up. My mom loved throwing parties for us. Being a twin, we always had them together. Just because we're twins, doesn't mean we have the same personality. Our personalities are completely different. For my 6th grade birthday party, I was having a "60's theme"... and my sister had a hair and make over theme. She didn't even want to be part of mine. I invited about 6 girls... 2 showed up. The other girls went to her party instead. I was devastated. I didn't have another birthday party until my 21st birthday.

Do you know what I have realized?

Because of everything I've been through, it's made me a stronger person. I wouldn't have set my dreams so big. I wouldn't be helping others like I do now. I wouldn't be the person who I am today. 


Life isn't a competition about who can have the most friends. Life is about finding out who you are, and why you were brought into this world. Life is about figuring out things that you love. Life is about surrounding yourself with people that truly love you and care about you. Life is about setting dreams that you want to have come true, and accomplishing them. Life is about be YOU and only YOU.










Wednesday, September 18, 2013

RIP KATIE WAGNER

As many of you know, September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month. (GOLD IS THE NEW PInk!!) I raise awareness every single day, but I try to raise more money and talk about it more, especially in September.

Ever since my interest in kids with cancer, and helping them, I have been following a lot of kids with cancer websites and facebook pages.


One of them in particular is Katie Wagner. Unfortunately, yesterday, cancer took yet another kids life away to soon. RIP KATIE WAGNER.


Katie had a DREAM of opening up a school in Liberia with a couple of her BEST FRIENDS. Well, right before she passed away, it opened! 300-400 kids will be attending the school! I am so glad she got to see this happen. God has a plan for EVERYTHING!

This was taken from Katie's website http://www.welovekatie.com


"Katie's Story:

In October 2011, Katie Wagner was a 15-year-old sophomore attending Boulder Creek High School in Anthem, Arizona. 

Katie began experiencing stomach pain, and went to the doctor for a routine check-up. They discovered a tumor the size of an egg blocking her bladder and she was diagnosed with a rare form of stage 4 cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma, which only impacts about five in one million kids.

With the support of her family, she immediately began agressive chemotherapy that would last more than a year. It was challenging but her faith, family and friends gave her the strength to fight. 

In February 2013 the cancer that had been throughout her body was completely gone. All scans were clear. 
But in May 2013, more scans were done and the cancer had returned. She continued her fight. 

Katie passed away on September 17th. "


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Heaven Kelley's Big Heart

Hello everyone!

I am posting about my friend, Heaven Kelley, who actually is the one who inspired me to make this blog. I am asking a BIG favor from anyone and everyone!

A brief summary: Two christmas' ago, when I was in Paris, I was going through a very ROUGH time, and was wanting to end my life. I was on facebook, and another Taylor Swift fan posted a link saying "St. Jude patient meets Taylor Swift." I clicked on it, and immediately started bawling. It was my calling, I just knew it. I was called to help kids with cancer. If I hadn't of read the article on Heaven, I'm not sure I would be here today. She is my everything. My shining star.

She actually saved my life, and my goal is to save hers. You can read about my other posts about her on my blog, but this one to click on is when I met her!  Meeting Heaven Kelley

Heaven has one of of the biggest hearts I've ever met in my life. For her birthday party this year, she wanted to raise money for a Pediatric clinic in Haiti that is being built, and is being named "Heaven's Angel's" in honor of her. You can check out the video here.

Unfortunately, I couldn't go to Heaven's birthday bash that happened this past weekend, but I am wanting to raise money for the clinic. For those of you wondering if you can get a tax write off for it, you CAN!


Here is how to donate!
You can send a check written out to FREEDOM GLOBAL OUTREACH
**leave the memo blank so you can recieve a tax write off at end of the year!**
Stick a note on it saying "Heavens birthday fundraiser".
Matt Reichard attn: freedom global outreach
824 N. West
St. Carlisle PA 17013

IF YOU DONATE, PLEASE MESSAGE OR EMAIL ME SO I CAN KEEP TRACK OF THE AMOUNT. THANKS! kelscrandell@gmail.com


I am copying and pasting Heaven's story for her birthday bash. This is an amazing story.


"This is a unique story of love and of hope.  It is a story that shows us that there is something about compassion that can unite people from all walks of life.  It is a story that shows us all the kind of life that we aspire to live; a life that throws off convention and does the right thing, simply because it is the right thing to do.

Heaven Kelley was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of brain cancer in 2011, as a 12 year old.  Her family, who lives in Mt. Holly Springs, and her friends united around her and have been by her side every single day as she battles this disease.  Her family is blessed by her group of friends, called Heaven’s Angels, that has walked beside them every step of the way, through stays at St. Jude’s and Johns Hopkins, MRI results, chemotherapy and strokes.  

Rebecca Theodate was severely abused by an uncle who she lived with, just outside of Jacmel, Haiti, after her parent’s death.  As a 3 year old, after being rescued and moved to an orphanage run by Freedom Global Outreach, Rebecca needed to have 3 major surgeries to repair damage from her abuse.  The closest place was over 4 hours away, in the capital.  Rebecca, her pastor and a staff member made the 4 hour drive over 50 times in 10 months to get her the medical care she needed.  All the while she was supported and loved by the other 24 girls in her orphanage, another group of Angels supporting one of their own.

Heaven and Rebecca have never met, but they know each other well.  Heaven has long been interested in the ministry of FGO in Haiti and the kids in their orphanages.  Throughout her battle with cancer, despite her own illness and pain, she has been concerned about the needs of the Haitian kids.  As she battles her cancer the kids of the FGO orphanages have also been supporting her.  They have written cards back and forth, sent pictures and gifts and, most importantly, they take time every single day to pray for Heaven.  Her pictures hang in their bedrooms at the orphanages.  She has a scrapbook of their pictures and cards.  Sometimes Angels are separated by distance, but they are never separated by love.

Freedom Global Outreach is planning to build a pediatric clinic in Jacmel, right next door to Rebecca’s orphanage.  They don’t think that kids in that area should have to drive 4 hours for medical care.  In honor of Heaven and her love for the Haitian kids even during her battle with cancer, and in honor of her awesome group of friends, the clinic is being named Heaven’s Angels Pediatric Clinic.  The legacy of the compassion, hope and love of Heaven, her family and her friends will live on forever by providing life-saving medical treatment for kids in Jacmel, Haiti.  No matter what the future holds, her battle has inspired other kids lives to be saved.

Heaven’s 14th birthday party is coming up on May 12th from 5 to 9 pm.  She hopes to have hundreds of her friends and area youth groups (up to 1,000 kids!) come and celebrate with her at the Carlisle Expo Center.  Instead of presents, Heaven is asking all of her friends to bring a donation towards the Heaven’s Angels Pediatric Clinic.  She and her friends, the Angels, are setting themselves a goal of raising $30,000 towards building the clinic.  They are hoping to find friends or businesses to help offset the cost of the party by donating items like chips, pretzels, drinks and other snack foods.  FGO can provide a “gifts in kind” receipt for donated items through their 501c3.  Heaven, her family, the Angels, FGO and the kids of Jacmel, Haiti appreciate, from the bottom of our hearts, your help."

THANK YOU.




Tuesday, November 27, 2012

RIP ANY VASQUEZ

I met this beautiful girl, Any, through Kevin Mcguire's facebook site. You can scroll down through the older posts to find the post on him.

Any passed away yesterday. She had cancer. She was recently put on a trial medicine, and was given a year to live. Unfortunately, she didn't make it. Here's what she said about what she was going through:

"what's going on is my uterine cancer had cells that spread and now I have metastasis in my lungs and if I don't get treatment I have a year to live which makes me so sad to know I wanna do so much but I can't and now I'm going to do a trial which is new different medicines that they tried in a lab to kill cancer but I'll be one out of five people to try this for the first time since regular chemo does not work on me .."

She had recently just got engaged. Through some of our conversations, her dream was to have a child, but she knew she wasn't going to be able to. So they were going to freeze some of her eggs so someone could be a serrogant to her. I told her I would. Unfortunately, I don't think that happened.

Here are some things she said to me:

This was her first message to me: I think your awesome , I never thought people like you would be interested in helping kids like me who have cancer , most people are mean , and they judge me as soon as they see me and it makes me feel horrible , I would love to listen to your music thank you so much god bless you !

I try not to think of it I wrote to heaven she is amazing she inspires me so much I know she will pull through this if we don't then god had a purpose for us but I have so much faith . You are a great person I thank go for people like you and trust me god has a purpose for all of us , god forbid you get this horrible cancer but fight it you will make it your such a blessing you have a heart of gold . I hope heaven writes me back .
I love Taylor she is amazing you remind me a lot of her ... I as well hope to meet u one day you are my Taylor ! Love u so much even though I never met you but I have faith that one day I'll meet the best person in the world .

That's just the basics of it. We had a lot of texting conversations as well.  She basically told me that I am her Taylor because I am Taylor Swift's biggest fan, and Taylor brightens my day, so I'm her "taylor" because I brighten her day. Any, I love you so much. I can't wait to sing and dance to Taylor with you in Heaven. And if I do get cancer, I will fight back hard, just like you said.

LOVE YOU BEAUTIFUL GIRL.

STAY BEAUTIFUL

Love,
KELS

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

thetruth365

There is an awesome documentary that is being release called thetruth365. I'd LOVE to get together with the producer and talk about eventually being part of a television show that we could make. It'd be AMAZING. I have so many dreams I want to accomplish through kids with cancer... I think we should do something along the lines of Extreme Make over home edition, but helping kids with cancer and visiting them, and maybe team up with MakeAWish to make kids dreams come true! :) That'd be SO FUN!

I just found out there are free cancer camps here in Kansas City, as well as all over the US. I am signing up to be a couselor January 1st. I can't wait. I'm so excited! When I found out about it, I cried so hard cause I was so excited! It was totally happy tears.

Helping kids with cancer in general makes me cry happy tears, and of course, sad tears at the same time. The stories I hear just touch my heart.

Here is a video I made for TheTruth365.  ENJOY :)
video

Friday, August 17, 2012

School, so excited!

I start school on Monday, and I can't WAIT. Seriosuly, who gets excited for school to start? I DO!! I DO!!

I'm taking online Anatomy & Physiology, as well as Social Problems. A&P is going to be rather difficult, but I can do it! I have FAITH!

I'm not the smartest person, but when it comes to something I want to do, I put my mind to it, and don't give up!

NURSING SCHOOL FALL 2013 HERE I COME!

GOALS FOR THIS SCHOOL YEAR:
A's in both classes
Complete all assignments on time

Enough for now, short and sweet, with the point across!

BAM!