She wanted to rent out the Dublin Recreation Center and have kids run laps. The kids would get sponsors for each lap, and the money would go to help us with all the medical bills.
It was a wonderful gesture. But to be honest, the community had already done so much for us. I questioned many would participate in another event. I was wrong. In fact, the community planned more events.
Tyler was home when the day arrived, but was not strong enough to be in public. So a few hundred students surrounded our home early that morning, standing in freezing temperatures and shouting "Fight to Win!"
At 8 AM a snowball softball tournament began. That was followed by more events, including a Dublin City Council ceremony declaring it "Tyler Alfriend Day". Laps for Love was scheduled to begin a 8 PM, after these kids had been running to back-to-back events for over 12 hours. I didn't expect many to be there. But when I walked in the door, there were over 300 kids running laps. I will never forget that moment. As I walked in, I also saw "Jungle Jack" Hanna signing autographs and OSU basketball star Rick Smith was auctioning off Jim Tressel and Archie Griffin autographed items. It is impossible to describe strength Tyler gained as he reviewed all the pictures of the event.
Two weeks from today, February 6th, we are repeating Laps for Love. We will have the Blue Jacket's Stinger, Brutus Buckeye, and others. We have items form A.J. Hawk, Brady Quinn, Jim Tressel, and more. This year there are three recipients.
Matthew Barr was with us on J-5, and went into remission. While preparing for his Disney World trip with Make-A-Wish Foundation, Matthew relapsed. This time the treatments are not working as hoped, and insurance is exhausted. But the fight continues. I recall something Matthew's dad wrote when Matthew relapsed: "I know that as I go to bed tonight God will be my side, as I know that right now he is with Matthew and all of you. We still believe, and have not given up in this battle. It is far from over."
Matthew's next scans will be the Monday following Laps for Love.
Madilyn Zimmerman is 7 years old, and one of the recipients of of this year's Laps for Love. But Madilyn has also become an aggressive fund raiser. She already has her fund-raising site set up(www.akidagain.org/goto/madilynsteam), and has set a personal goal to raise $5,000!
Ryan Salomons, our wonderful friend. 19 years old Ryan stood tall on the children's cancer floor, as he shouted "I Refuse to Lose!" Ryan's courage became such an inspiration the the Blue Jackets Hockey team signed him on a one day contract. His #3 jersey is on display at the entrance to the Nationwide Arena where the Blue Jackets play, and is still one of the best sellers on their web site.
Ryan passed away this summer, but his unstoppable spirit remains strong. Ryan's dad has been raising funds to purchase new TV's for all the cancer rooms at Children's Hospital. A hospital staff member suggested it would be easier to install the TV's in two years when the construction is completed. Ryan's dad responded, "Ryan lived his last year on this floor. Two years times 36 rooms? That is 72 Ryan's not benefiting from these TV's. I will not wait."
The Ryan Salmons Foundation is about $8,000 short of buying these TV's, and Laps for Love will be covering the difference to have them installed by the winter Olympics.
To donate or support laps for Love, just go to http://www.akidagain.org/goto/Alfriend
We would love for you all to be there!