I am so honored to introduce our special guest blogger, Ayeisha Romero, who is Evan’s 1Run4 Buddy who along with her friends and co-workers organized a walk to raise awareness for T21. THANK YOU! I can’t possibly put into words how seeing all of those walkers really meant to me. I can’t wait for Evan to grow up and see just how loved he is. He can certainly already feel ALL of the love but I can’t wait for him to actually see just how he has impacted all of our lives. The whole 1 run 4 matching appears to be total random but I know without a doubt that it is no coincendence God placed Ayeisha and her amazing village in our lives and I hope you all realize what an impact you have had on our lives.
Text Message sent on Monday, September 29th to Nicole VanderMey – ‘Need to pick your gray matter. It’s Down’s Syndrome Awareness month and the baby I run for in the WhoIRun4 group has Down’s Syndrome. I’d love to get a group of peeps to walk the trail one day during lunch and share the pictures with his family and the WhoIRun4 community.’… who would have known that from that text message, a wonderful and amazing event would be born!
My name is Ayeisha Romero and I am Evan’s ‘runner’ and he is my ‘buddy’. Evan and I were matched about a month ago through the ‘Who I Run 4’ organization. Who I Run 4 matches runners, cyclists, etc… to individuals (child or adult) who are living with some sort of medical condition. I waited close to three months to be matched! Every week I would see my name inch closer and closer to the top of the list when one day I received an email saying I was matched with Evan! I immediately went to Kiana’s FaceBook page and started looking (ok.. ok.. it was more like borderline stalking but I digress…) at pictures of Evan and his family. The moment I saw Evan, *sigh* my heart melted and well, without ever meeting him, he had me wrapped around his finger. I mean, c’mon!!! Those cheeks! That hair! But most importantly, his smile!
On September 29th, Kiana reached out to me and asked if I could help her come up with ideas on how to promote T21 Awareness month. Now please understand, at that time I was battling a horrible cold and my brain was completely fuzzy. Therefore, ideas were not generating by the hundreds! Ha ha .. so I reached out to my dear friend and co-worker, Nicole VanderMey; which brings us to the text message. Nicole is our resident fundraiser, volunteer cheerleader, you name it! She is my ‘Yoda’ when it comes to organizing events. She took my text message and posted a call to arms on her Facebook page which prompted the amazing Kim Mitchell to also spread the word. These ladies took a simple text message idea and turned it into a full blown lunchtime event. So as a result of the FaceBook posts, we had so many folks volunteering to participate. Some folks volunteered in honor of Evan, some have loved ones with T21 and others just enjoy giving back to the community; even if the community in this case, is a virtual one.
For a week we called asked people to participate in the walk, made T21 Awareness bracelets, planned out our walking route and gathered some ‘walking supplies’ (more on that in a second!). Thankfully, we work on a large campus so squeezing in 1.21 miles on company property is super easy! The morning of the walk, Nicole and I were in her office preparing our ‘walking supplies!’ ha ha ha we put blue/yellow streamers together, blue hand clappers with yellow streamers, blue pom poms, and bubbles! You can’t forget the bubbles!!! At noon, we all met by the company softball/baseball field and after thanking everyone for donating their lunch hour for this event, we began our walk! We have an elementary school on the property so I gave the principal a ‘heads up’ about out walk and wouldn’t you know it! We had cheerleaders waiting for us as we passed the school! The kids were absolutely thrilled to be 1. out of classrooms and 2. to see their mommies, daddies and friends walking by their school. It also helped that we had music blasting, noise makers, streamers and a drone flying above us taking video. Oh yea! Did I not mention the drone!!! WE HAD A D.R.O.N.E!!! I mean, c’mon…. HOW COOL IS THAT! Rainier Madruga definitely added a huge splash of AWESOME when he launched the drone! At the end of our walk, it was just fitting that we take our group picture next to the blue sculpture in our parking lot to represent the color of T21 Awareness month.
I have always said that your friends and family make up your ‘village’. And it takes a village to get you through life; the trick is having the strength to let your village know you need them. Kiana, you and your family are a part of our village. Thank you for allowing me to run for Evan, to share his story but most importantly, thank you for allowing him to inspire me and many others.
My village, my village, my heart is full.
Information about Who I Run 4: