Hometown Strong

by Elizabeth Trower

What I love most about living in a small community is that everyone is a family. There is constant love and support from every single community member and you never go through anything alone. I love that the whole community comes together for any specific occasion and they all work together to make it memorable and enjoyable. That’s just what the Ralls County Community did for local resident Jamie-Lynn Haley on May 5th.
Jamie-Lynn is a freshman at Mark Twain High School who was diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia and Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Recently Jamie has had to stay at the hospital for chemotherapy and it is during this time that her team has been setting up her bone marrow transplant which is a three month process, due to getting the right match from a donor. On Sunday, she will go in for her bone marrow transplant. Before she left though, her dad, Mike Haley, wanted to make sure his daughter had the best birthday ever, despite the COVID -19 quarantine. To do this he contacted Eddie Landis, the Perry Cop, and asked if the community could do a drive by birthday parade past Jamie’s house. On May 5, Jamie’s birthday, over 60 cars filled with family and community members, friends, teachers, and coaches filled Main Street as they made their way to wish the birthday girl a happy birthday. The cars were covered with signs and balloons and everyone honked their horns as they went by. Some even shouted out from the sunroofs! “I was very happy with how well everything went with the birthday parade. Jamie-Lynn was very surprised and so happy to see everyone. Our family is so grateful and thankful for our awesome community. We just want everyone to know how much it means to know just how many people are thinking and praying for Jamie-Lynn during this next phase in her treatment.”
Jamie was all smiles as she watched the parade go by. “It was such an amazing experience and it made me feel very loved that everyone was there for my family and I.” It was truly an amazing experience to see. A whole community coming together despite what our world is going through right now.
Jamie-Lynn is an inspiration to all, and she is overcoming many obstacles throughout her journey. “One of the obstacles I have overcome is the fact that even though I have been diagnosed with such a terrible disease, if I hadn’t I wouldn’t have met the amazing team I got and have so much support from our community. The opportunities that I have got to do from this have been such a great experience and I wouldn’t ever change that.”
Living in a small community is something that many people cherish. You not only have your immediate family, your whole community becomes your family, and has your back through everything. Jamie we are praying for you as you take this next step on your journey. Just know that when you come home, we will be waiting for you with open arms!