Saturday, January 11, 2020

Another Grace Game In The Books

It was a great day for the Lady Blues of Illinois College as they picked up a big 81-48 win over conference foe Beloit from Wisconsin. Hillsboro native Carly Cameron even picked up a double-double with ten points and ten rebounds in the win.

But while it was a great game for the senior on the court, it was what happened on the sidelines that made it truly special.

At Carly's suggestion, Coach Jennifer McCormick and the Lady Blues hosted a Grace game this afternoon in the Bruner Center at Illinois College to raise awareness for INAD and funding for research.  Carly and her friend, Lindsey Storm, both former Lady Hiltoppers who have always been some of our biggest supporters, came by over Christmas break to see the girls. Carly told us that she's been wanting to do a Grace game with her team since arriving at Illinois College, but it seems that the stars aligned for a game this January.

We told Carly that we thought a Saturday game might work best for us, and together, we picked Jan. 11, when both the men's and women's teams hosted Beloit. After Grace's second admission to the hospital last week, we weren't entirely sure we would be able to bring Grace, but we promised that Kyle and Charley would go for sure. Fortunately, Grace was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday and had a really good week at home, and we decided to make the trip together.

I don't know how many Grace games we have been to as a family in the last five years, but they will always be some of my favorite memories. That's why we really wanted to make this trip a special one. From basketball to baseball and softball to soccer, we have loved meeting players from all over and sharing Grace's story. Classified as an ultra-rare disease, sharing Grace's story helps us bring more awareness to this devastating disease. And the more people who know, the better.

That's why we were just thrilled when Carly told us she and her teammates wanted to host a Grace game this year. And even more exciting that some of our family made the trip with us. Although there was some snow in the forecast, we made our way the hour and a half to Jacksonville in plenty of time for the game.

When we arrived, we saw the team hung a huge BeatINAD banner in the gym. In addition, instead of collecting admission for both of today's games, the school accepted donations for the INADCure Foundation, and brought in nearly $500. We continue to be so humbled and honored by people's generosity on our journey.

As we made our way down to the gym, we got a big wave from Carly and Coach McCormick stopped by to meet us. Meanwhile, Kyle was interviewed by one of the local television stations about our story, which was another great way to raise awareness. And we enjoyed sitting with our families for the game.

Just before they announced the starting line-up, our family was invited to midcourt for a special presentation. Carly and fellow senior Grace Yaunches presented our Grace with a jersey signed by all the members of the Lady Blues. Even cooler, after the game, we found out that jersey belonged to another former Lady Hiltopper (Jaicie Halleman), who went on to play for the Lady Blues as well.

It was an awesome game, as the Lady Blues dominated from start to finish. We have always loved going to sporting events together, and this one was so much fun. After the game, we had a chance to meet the team for a group photo, and Kyle told them a little more about Grace's story. We were so touched to see that the players had purple ribbons tied in their shoelaces as well.

She may only be eight years old, but our little Grace has touched so many lives in her eight years, and we are so proud of her for continuing to be an inspiration to so many. Special thanks to Carly and her teammates for helping us raise awareness and helping us make another really great memory on this Grace-Filled Journey.

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