Friday, October 21, 2016

Volley For Grace - Take Three

It was the final of three nights to celebrate Grace, as the Lady Lancers volleyball team hosted Morrisonville in what would be the last Volley for Grace game this season. The game was originally planned for early September, but a power outage moved the game to Oct. 18 in Raymond.

Kyle's cousin, Kensey, takes her turn "Serving for Grace."
Once again, the gym was decked in purple balloons and a bake sale was set up in the cafeteria with photos of Grace and information about INAD.  Kyle's cousin, Katelyn, was selling sugar cookies with purple icing and purple princess crackle, and also took donations for INAD research.  Our first stop was the bake sale table for some soft cookies, which I shared with Grace as she ate her dinner during the junior varsity game.

The Morrisonville volleyball team gave Grace a gift and a $1,300 donation.
For this game, Grace had gotten her very own purple jersey with the number one on the back and her name. As she worked on her dinner, our friends, the Wagahoffs stopped by the table to visit, and we were so excited they came for the game.  We also met up with both sets of Grace's grandparents, as well as Aunt Mikaela and cousin, Quincy, who once again made the trip from Arnold to come be part of the fun.

Kyle and Grace pose with the Morrisonville team.
After a little bit of visiting, the junior varsity game was over, and we headed into the gym. Athletic Director Josh Stone was getting ready to start the Serving for Grace fundraiser, and although Kyle opted out at this game, we did get to see Kyle's cousin, Kensey, take her turn.  

Before taking the court, the two teams circled Grace for a prayer.
This game, it was Morrisonville's turn to share what the fundraisers they had done. Even though Morrisonville isn't technically in our county, they were still one of the first schools to join A Grace-Filled Journey, with the help of science teacher, Janet Walch.  Head Coach Lela Ferrill told the crowd that her team had held a cake raffle at each of the team's nine home games, as well as a bake sale at lunch, and even a root beer float bar at lunch. Along with their T-shirt sales and sponsorships, the girls presented us with a $1,300 donation for INAD research, as well as some new balloons for Grace, and a stuffed bear and new books tucked inside a Minnie Mouse stocking.  Each of the girls had a chance to talk to Grace, and as we were walking off the gym floor, one of the players thanked me for letting them be a part of our journey. Seems to me like we are the lucky ones!

We got to take our family photo with both Volley for Grace teams!
In addition to the donation from Morrisonville, the Lady Lancers presented Grace with more than $300 from the Serving for Grace fundraisers from throughout the season, and another $300 or so from the bake sale and donations.  I got the chance to thank the crowd and tell them that with their help we would beat INAD someday.

Grace with her family cheering section.
Before the game started, Greg Neisler once again offered a prayer as both teams made a prayer circle around Kyle and Grace. That's been one of the neatest parts of the Grace games for me, and such a testament of faith.

Smiles for Aunt Mikaela and Kayley.
As Kyle made his way to find a spot to shoot some action photos, Grace and I made our way to sit with both our families. Grace snuggled right up on Aunt Mikaela's lap and promptly fell asleep for the remainder of the game, as the rest of us visited throughout the game.

Being the star is hard work, and Grace fell asleep during the game.
The Lady Lancers would win in two games over rival Morrisonville, but the impact both teams continue to make off the court is what makes them so special. A total of around $9,000 was raised for INAD research at the three Volley for Grace games this season, and next year could be even more impressive with the inaugural "A Grace-Filled Tourney," featuring 16 volleyball teams from this area.

Grace posed with the Lincolnwood volleyball team too.
And speaking of special, we have to add one more volleyball team to Team Grace. Just two days after the final Volley for Grace game, I was in Litchfield to cover the monthly school board meeting. Since I was at the high school anyway, Kyle asked if I would take a photo of the volleyball senior players before my meeting. When I walked into the room, the girls said they had something to ask me. The six senior players asked me if they could dedicate their game that night to Grace and to our family. With tears in my eyes, I said yes, and thanked each of them for their sweet gesture. Kyle and Grace even filmed a video to say thanks to the players.

The Litchfield senior volleyball players dedicated their last home game to Grace.
Whether your school colors are red, orange or purple, we are so honored to have so many wonderful young players on Team Grace.


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