Friday, July 27, 2012
Kyle's 5k- July Blog 4: Letters from Mom & Mimi
This past Saturday was the Kyle Russell Callahan Scholarship 5k to raise money for the memorial we set up in your brother’s name. Your Aunt Ally set a goal of $10,000 this year… we not only met it but also exceeded it! Through very kind donations, we raised $12,000!
When we woke up early on the day of the 5k, we saw a rainy, chilly day but I believe that Kyle was with us, stopped the rain when the race began, and gave us cool weather to allow those runners and walkers a beautiful breeze. Even through a misty rain, it was a smile kind of day… better yet, a Kyle kind of day. The winner of our 5k won with a time of just over 20 minutes- WOW!
(this is our winner Scott Martell)
Your Mimi and I had to laugh as you definitely embodied Kyle’s spirit at the event by living life to the fullest. You cheered for the runners at the finish line, you played in the sand, and you enjoyed the park. Your energy was infectious and I know Kyle was with all of us. I also know he was watching us proudly. I know this because just before we set off the runners, we released butterflies. Your Dad opened up his envelope and the butterfly flew right over to you, landed on your ear, and stayed on the side of your head for quite sometime before flying off.
I wonder if Kyle was whispering to you that he was with us and he watches over you.
You are probably too young and won’t have many memories of the day so I wanted to show it to you through the beautiful pictures that Jackie took. I hope you get a sense of how special it was.
Here is the speech I gave prior to the start.
Welcome to our 3rd Annual Kyle Russell Callahan Scholarship 5k!
During Kyle’s 11 days, selfishly I begged God to let Kyle live. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that my prayers would be answered like this. Despite his passing 3 years ago, Kyle’s spirit is living on in a BIG way. Kyle’s scholarship is growing larger and the recipients carry Kyle’s mission with them. This year’s winner of the scholarship is here to join us. She wrote to my family a few words that I would like to share aloud:
“The foundation you have supplied me with is irreplaceable. I promise to carry all of you with me throughout my future. Kyle has left the biggest imprint on my heart and he will touch many more in the future.”
Madeline, I am so proud to say that I was able to teach you so many years ago and that our lives crossed again now. You are an outstanding young woman who is so worthy to have been selected. I am honored that Kyle’s name will live on through you in your future path!
Kyle is also living on through friends and family who take our Kyle bag with them on their journeys- this truly touches our hearts. Thank you for thinking of us at your most important times. Kyle taught us that relationships matter and you all just enforce that. Our neon green Kyle bag has been our 5k mementos since we started this event. Two years ago, Donna and Wes Moore took it to Europe with them and snapped their pictures overseas with the bag and thus began our album of “Where in the World is Kyle’s Bag?” Thank you for coming up with this amazing idea Donna and Wes! I am in awe that so many would think of Kyle and us on their family vacations, weddings, proms, birthdays, and other special occasions. Kyle’s bag has been pictured at many sports venues, parks, zoos, and with many famous characters. It has traveled all over the United States and has been spotted in many countries throughout the world. I think we have 200 pictures in our album thus far. As I viewed the slide show again, I knew the stories behind the images you all sent because of the kind details you shared with me. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for being so selfless and allowing Kyle’s memory to live on with you on your travels! I want to encourage you to continue to tag me on Facebook with your Kyle adventures to make a sequel slideshow for next year’s 5k.
I need to thank all those who are supporting us from afar, who couldn’t be here today but still donated and sponsored Kyle’s sister Ellie in the walk. We feel your well-wishes and prayers today!
I need to thank our sponsors Vicon for the TV and Scott’s Landscaping for the waters. I want to say that I appreciate my husband for loving Kyle without limits and you’ve helped make this walk better each year by reaching out into the community and for also putting in so many hours to make the “Where in the World is Kyle’s Bag” slideshow flawless. I want to thank Jackie for always photographically documenting the 5k so perfectly- your images always capture Kyle’s spirit. Thank you to the Stigale family for the release of the butterflies- I believe they are symbols for life after death and they give me such a sense of comfort. Thank you Sowash Family for the use of your generator. Thank you Gram & Pop for the bananas and Gram Bubbles for the pretzels. Thank you Steve for the ice. Thank you Ryan & Samantha, my grandparents, Natalie, and the Colkitt family for always waking up early and helping us set up. And Ally, you are our rock- always being here year after year to set our goals and run our registration table- you were there for us during Kyle’s life and now after his death. I am also so appreciative of my parents- without them, none of us would be here at this park today. When Justin and I were grieving after Kyle’s passing, it was their idea to start and begin the initial funding for the scholarship. To enable us to channel our grief into something so positive, I will be forever indebted to you. Thank you for loving Kyle as much as we do. You give so much of your time and money to make the 5k bigger each year and words cannot express how much that means to me. And finally- for all of you here, thank you for taking time out of your day and busy weekends to celebrate Kyle’s 11-day life. I know many of you traveled far to be here with us and we feel so loved and supported. Kyle’s time on earth may have been small but his lasting imprint is huge.
I am also including the link to the slideshow that your Dad made… “Where in the World is Kyle’s Bag.”
This played on a loop the whole morning of the 5k. In your Dad’s speech, he talked about how he noticed all of the genuine smiles in all of the pictures in the slideshow he made. He said that for every tear we shed for Kyle, there were at least 10 smiles he gave us. Your Dad asked the participants of the race to smile and enjoy their time with family and friends and being together. After all, that’s what Kyle did- he brought family and friends together! Your Dad also shared our relationship and the journey that we took since Kyle’s passing. He noted that a lot of couples could easily be broken with the loss of a child but we got stronger through the help, love, and support of all of our family and friends. I think your Dad did a fantastic job with the race, with the slideshow, and with his speech. I know that both Kyle and you inherited your Dad’s strength and determination.
We love you Ellie!
Mom & Mimi