First and foremost, our daughter Megan gives us the energy and inspiration to find a cure for juvenile myositis. But we also draw it from the great sadness we feel when we see children like Brandi Valentine suffer from this disease.
Back in 2007, Rhonda met Brandi's aunt through Cure JM's online discussion board. Over several months, she and "Aunt Debbie" talked frequently about Brandi’s battle with JM.
Brandi, a 14-year-old living in Pittsburgh, was an honors student, an avid dancer, a passionate reader, a movie buff and someone who loved to swim. But in the two years since her initial diagnosis of JM, she spent nearly half her time in and out of hospitals. She had many surgeries and she was in great pain. Through it all, she was strong and never complained.
On Jan. 21 , 2008, Brandi died from complications caused by her juvenile myositis.
Rhonda attended the memorial service held for Brandi. While it was an incredible celebration of a young woman's life, it broke her heart to see a family so grief-stricken by the loss of their child.
To help prevent such tragic moments in the future, our family is participating in the Carlsbad Marathon and Half Marathon in January 2009 with the purpose of raising funds for Cure JM Foundation, an all-volunteer group fighting for research into a cure for her disease. Megan and her little brother, Cal, will be running the kids' mile. Rhonda will run in memory of Brandi in the half-marathon. Kevin, as always, will pass out Gatorade and will keep everyone in line.
Please help Megan and the many children like her with this devastating autoimmune disease by sponsoring our effforts.
The McKeever Family
PS - If you prefer to send a check, make it out to Cure JM Foundation, mark it in the memo section that you are sponsoring Kevin and Rhonda McKeever, then mail it to Cure JM Foundation, 836 Lynwood Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024. Matching gift forms may also be sent to that address or faxed to 1 (760) 230-2243.