There is so much to share and catch you up on. First and foremost, I hope all of you are well and are enjoying the blessings in your lives.
The Young Family
The girls and I continue to be amazed at the gifts God continues to shower upon our family. Both Caroline & Rachel Rose are maintaining their incredible attitudes and exceeding all expectations with school and extracurricular activities. I could not be more proud and comforted by the place that they are in emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
February 1st marked a year since Melinda’s passing. We have certainly experienced a multitude of emotions, changes, and firsts. Adjusting to life without her has been challenging, but we have put our faith and trust in God and know he is taking care of things. The girls and I have always been close, but we are forging a bond now that gives us incredible strength and resilience. I often hear from others, whether it’s a teacher, friend, or parent of another child, that Caroline and Rachel Rose are great role models and examples. As a parent, nothing makes me more proud.
More specifically, Caroline continues to maintain incredibly high marks in school and is enjoying dance and tumbling classes. Rachel Rose is also excelling in school and loves her school running club, dance, and martial arts. The highlight of the week for me, however, is Sunday morning and to see the girls eagerly get ready and then we head off to church. They are genuinely interested in their own spiritual growth and the fellowship with peers.
As for me, I am good! I also feel that I am in a great place emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I am no longer Cullasaja’s Head Golf Professional, but feel that I will always be a part of the wonderful family there. While the girls and I will miss being there as we have in the past, it will always have a special place in our hearts and we will surely visit from time to time. I have been spending much of my time focusing on faith, family, and our Miles With Melinda efforts. The time I’ve had over the past several months to focus on these things, I believe, have been incredibly valuable in bringing us to the place we all are today. I am now searching for my next career opportunity. I am, however, taking great consideration and care in finding something that does not compromise the welfare of faith and family. I am confident that I will be lead on the proper path and find something soon.
Miles With Melinda (MWM) Update
As many of you already know, the girls and I have been participating in some local road races in support of MWM. Many friends and family have now joined us in these races, and we are seeing the support grow. Starting back on Thanksgiving Day, I competed in the half marathon, and the girls ran in the “mash potato” mile. We were obviously honored to run with Melinda and proud to see the support that we had. Since that race, we have continued with the following:
- THE FLASHLIGHT 5K
- THE HOT CHOCOLATE 5K & 15K
- THE FALLEN HEROES 5K
- THE GEORGIA MARATHON
The Flashlight 5K was both Caroline & Rachel Rose’s first 5K run. I was so proud of them, not only to finish the race, but also to run with such great attitudes and such excitement for the cause.
Next, we participated in the Hot Chocolate 5K & 15K. Along with Caroline and myself, we were joined by a host of others. This was an incredibly fun and enjoyable race and we were very excited to see the growing support.
Most recently, we completed one of our big MWM Weekends. On Saturday, another large group of us competed in the Fallen Heroes 5K at Lake Lanier Islands. Caroline, Rachel Rose, and I ran the 5K and were joined in the race by Aunt Jan, Tyler, Ansley and others. We all had a fun race and enjoyed being together. Then on Sunday, I competed and completed the Georgia Marathon. This was my first marathon and was honored to run it in support of MWM. I am amazed to think back of that day on the couch in early November when I read Melinda’s words (see earlier blog post “Miles With Melinda” – 11-14-2012) and then contemplated how we could raise awareness and support. Well, less than three weeks later the girls and I were running in our first MWM effort. We were grateful for the supporters then and are excited to see that it has continued to grow.
Finally, I am thrilled to report that the Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance will recognize the support and awareness that has been gained from “Miles With Melinda”. This Saturday, March 23rd, the GOCA will be hosting their annual “Shaken not Stirred” Gala. I was excited when their director, Doug Barron, contacted me to let me know that he had several complimentary tickets due to our efforts and that “Miles With Melinda” would be recognized at the gala. The most satisfying aspect of all of this, of course, is that with the generosity of so many, ovarian cancer fighters, caregivers, and those recently diagnosed are going to receive valuable care and support.
I also hope that we can continue to help, in some way, lend support and gain awareness to the Cullasaja Cares Fund, which helps those touched by cancer in the Highlands & Cashiers area of North Carolina.
Those interested in supporting, donating, or learning more about either of these causes may…..
- Visit the GOCA website - www.gaovariancancer.org
- Contact Cullasaja Club and Tim Lamphier for information on the Cullasaja Cares Fund – 828-526-3531
- Please reference “Miles With Melinda” when donating!
God Bless Everyone!, and thank you for your continued prayers, support, and caring.
Wishing all of you the very best,
John, Caroline, & Rachel Rose