Tuesday, May 06, 2008

What a Face - What a Race

"My Hero is God. He is my hero because he is wonderful. He is always there when I need him. He loves me a lot. He is with me where ever I am. He prays with me all the time. He gets me well too. God is my life. Without him I would be very sad. I love him." - Erin Vallely

What a face. To look at it takes me back. In it I see her brother's eyes and smile - especially those two front teeth. Erin Lynn Vallely passed away in 1991 at the age of 12 from cancer. Our families have known each other for years and growing up we shared summers at the beach and winters in the snow. Her older brother Eric and I have been close friends since jr. high. He was one of my first full-fledged crushes.

When I started doing daycare, Eric's daughter Vivian was my first baby. I started taking care of her when she was just 6 weeks old - and Megan was 8 months. Vivian played at our house almost everyday until she was 3 years old! So to our family, and especially to my girls, Vivi is like a sister to us. Megan and Molly LOVE her! When they see each other now, they run into each others' arms and hug and giggle and squeal with delight. They are the best of friends.

In the years since Erin's death, her family has become greatly involved with the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation. This past Sunday was the PCRF Run "Reaching for the Cure." Eric's wife, Suzanne, formed team "Friends and Family of Erin Vallely" and set the goal of organizing 10 team members and raising $1500. The day of the race, there were almost 50 team members and over $5700 raised to fight pediatric cancer in honor of Erin's memory.

Megan and Molly joined Vivi in celebrating her Aunt Erin in the Kids 1K Fun Run.

Our team color was Kelly Green and Suzanne had a stamp made that we all "tattooed" to our arms and legs.
Here we are at the start of the race.

Grace and Tre, Megan and Molly, Vivi and Emmy all ready to RUN!

And they're off! Those are Suzanne's hottie legs. She kicked butt and finished the 10K in under an hour!

Melt my heart!

About half way thru - Molly gave up and wanted to be carried. So here we are, still running!

Crossing the finish line.

After the race we all enjoyed snacks, bounce houses, and FUN!

Later that afternoon, my parents had everyone over for a BBQ. Suzanne (artist extraordinaire) painted the girls faces...And BoBo's (Vivi's Grandpa John) too.

We had so much fun. Thank you Vallely family for including us! Erin, we hope to honor your memory everyday by living our lives to the fullest, always with our eyes on your hero. We can't wait to celebrate your life and participate in the race again next year.

If you want to learn more about PCRF or make a donation to fight pediatric cancer, please click here!


~love said...

erin--my eyes are filled with tears, but what a beautiful tribute to her life. and such an honor to her that you know exactly what's important: "living to the fullest, always with our eyes on your hero."

Joanna said...

Beautiful entry, beautiful girl. Erin's smile takes me immediately back to Mariners days. She and Melissa were in the same class.

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