100 very hilly miles, on a bike, all to raise money, In Loving Memory of Leah Mullen
20 years ago, I left my family and friends in England and relocated to the United States. It wasn’t always easy being alone in America, it still isn't. When I met the Mullen family, they immediately treated me as if I was a part of their family. Tim, Laura, Hayley and Leah, as well as the extended family of cousins, aunts and uncles, all treated me as if I had always been a part of their family, and they ae a big part of the reason I stayed in America and didn’t give up and move home to England.
Tim and I worked together every day and became close friends very quickly. When I met his daughter, Leah, for the first time, I learned that she was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at 18 months old. Neuroblastoma is a rare and often fatal childhood cancer. Surgery was performed to successfully remove the tumor, but the lasting damage to her body was irreversible. She remained at a cognitive level of a 20 month old, completely lost her hearing and began having “episodes” that would eventually morph into a major seizure disorder. Additionally, she had gastric and swallowing issues and had to have a g-tube put into her tiny body. Leah couldn’t talk to tell you she was hungry or thirsty, she would never be able to care for herself, needing 24 hour care. She struggled with seizures every single day of her life. For 29 years she fought like a little warrior, some days the seizures were all day, just one after the next, but no matter how many seizures, what was truly incredible, and something that I think of every single day, is that when she came out of that seizure, she did so with a smile on her face. Leah was the toughest little girl I have ever met. Whenever I am struggling with something in life, I think of Leah, and she gets me through it.
I haven't told many people this because i didnt want anyone to worry about me, but for the past 18 months I have been fighting cancer, and it hasnt always been an easy battle, but from the first day that I was diagnosed, I tried to approach with a positive attitude, knowing that if little Leah could be so strong through her journey, and always come out smiling, then so could I.
After my surgery I decided to ignore the doctors advice and to not do chemotherapy, instead I decided I would try and fix it myself by living a more healthy, active lifestyle and just fighting it myself. I have been training at the gym, hiking, cycling and now being terrible at crossfit, all with the goal of curing myself my own way, some days are good, and some days are not, but on those days.. Leah is always my inspiration to be strong and fight through it.
Through Give Kids The World, Leah and her family were able to visit Disney World and have a truly amazing time and make some really special memories. Memories that they will never forget…all because of Give Kids The World.
Leah passed away in January of 2018. She was 4 months shy of her 29th birthday.
When a child is diagnosed with a critical illness, a family’s world turns upside down. Schedules become dominated by hospital visits and medical treatments. Free time slips away. But Give Kids The World Village gives some of that time back. Visiting families stay in storybook villas, play in Orlando’s world-famous theme parks, enjoy delicious meals and celebrate nightly events at the Village. For one amazing week, families simply laugh, play, and spend time together – and it doesn’t cost them a thing. Give Kids The World’s mission is very special to me, so I’m raising money to support the Village. With your help, Give Kids The World can remain a magical place where families can stay during their once-in-a-lifetime trip. Please help me reach my goal, and make wishes come true for children with critical illnesses.
Below is really cool news article about Tim running marathons pushing Leah in a stroller the whole way because she loved the wind in her face, all while raising money for charity, my inspiration to be a better person, so I am continuing the tradition to push myself to do difficult things to raise money to help other families like the Mullens, on Novemver 2nd I am entering a 100 Mile cycle race along the very hilly California coastline, which even though i have been training hard, still seems like an impossible task, but i am doing it to raise as much money as possible..
I dont generally ask people for help, but this isnt for me, so please help me do something good while i try to heal myself, get out your credit cards and donate whatever you can, I would truly appreciate it, and it will absolutley make a difference to the children and their families that need some good in their lives..
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