Life was insanely busy last week, and my body decided to tell me to stop at the end of the week, which is why I didn’t get any new blogs posted after Monday.

Life is still insanely busy this week, but one of the reasons for that is a very special event for a very special person.

One of my running partners has a daughter named Mary Ashley. Mary is 17, and is about the sweetest thing on the face of the planet. She is always ready to help anyone out who needs it. She loves little kids and can often be found helping out in the Early Childhood Department at church. There is always a smile on her face, and rarely does she complain about anything.

Last November, Mary suffered a stroke and spent a significant amount of time in the hospital recovering. What the doctors discovered is that she was suffering from kidney failure and would need a transplant. In the midst of transplant testing, Mary experienced more stroke-like symptoms this spring, resulting in another hospital stay, where it was discovered that she had another disease, this one in her brain. This disease, called Moyamoya, affects the vessels in her brain so that blood flow to the brain is a major issue. With both the kidney and brain issues, and competing blood pressure levels to keep both working well, it became important to do brain surgery prior to kidney transplant. Mary has recovered well from the brain surgery and now we wait to see when the brain surgeon wants to give the green light for the kidney transplant, as well as when he would like to do the other side of the brain to fix the Moyamoya issues there.

Mary’s family has had their fair share of medical emergencies in the past few years, and even with insurance, the out-of-pocket costs for Mary’s care – both past and future – are mounting. Some of Mary’s friends decided that we wanted to help in any way we could, so this Saturday, we are putting on the Run Mary Run Glow Run/Walk. Join us on Saturday, August 31, at 7:00 p.m. at Greenville College. (Get your race packs starting at 6:30 p.m.) It is going to be a fun evening of music, a glow run/walk, and even cool treats! If you are anywhere near the Greenville, IL area, we would love for you to come out and participate. You can register online here.

Even if you can’t participate in the run, there are other ways you can help Mary in her battle with Moyamoya and kidney disease. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Become a member of Mary’s 200×100 relay team by becoming one of 200 people to donate $100 or more. You can donate online using the race registration form @ or donate by check (made out to “HelpHOPELive” with “In Honor of Mary Ashley Barber” in the memo line). Donors of $100 or more will receive a Run Mary Run race shirt.
  2. Order “Run Mary Run” merchandise:
    – Black Gildan Hoodies $25, Youth SM-XL OR Adult SM-5X
    – Black Long-Sleeved Dry-Fit Shirts $25, Youth SM-XL OR Adult SM-2X Mens/Unisex or SM-XL Ladies fit (NOTE: Ladies fit shirts often run slightly smaller). 3X-5X Mens/Unisex long-sleeved Gildan cotton t’s are also available.
    – Black Gildan Short-Sleeved T-Shirt $15, Youth XS-XL OR Adult SM-3X Mens/Unisex or SM-XL Ladies fit (NOTE: Ladies fit shirts often run slightly smaller).
    Orders can be picked up in Greenville after they arrive OR shipped to you directly (S&H: $5 t-shirt or long-sleeved dry-fit, $7 hoodie, $10 for 2-4 items, $15 for 5-10 items).
    Checks may be made to Robyn Florian. Please include item(s), item(s) size and item(s) quantity (and if shipping is requested) along with your name, address, phone and email. Please send orders to Robyn Florian, c/o Hope Shows, P.O. Box 652, Greenville, IL 62246.
    Proceeds from the sale of RMR merchandise will go toward the conservative costs of the Run Mary Run Glow Run, allowing most – if not all – of the race donations to go directly toward Mary’s medical bills.
  3. Pray for Mary Ashley, the Barbers and the Run Mary Run event this weekend … for God’s presence and provision in the midst of a challenging season.

Even if you don’t know Mary or her family, please pray for them as this journey has just begun.