As long as I can recall, this community has always come together when one of its own hits a rough patch in life. Annie Leslie has hit a rough patch, and I am hoping that we will all come together and do the right thing for this young lady.
Annie graduated from Wilde Lake High School in 2006 and then from James Madison University. While at Wilde Lake, she was a dedicated member of the soccer, indoor track and lacrosse teams. She moved to Los Angeles this past spring to begin a one-year program with Google.
She had her entire life ahead of her when she started to experience severe headaches. She was taken to the community hospital where she was diagnosed with a brain aneurysm.
While the doctors were in the process of relieving that aneurysm, it ruptured and Annie sustained severe brain damage. She was eventually taken to UCLA Medical Center where she spent a month in intensive care.
She is currently in an acute long term care facility and the hope is that her family can bring her back east to continue what could be a lengthy rehab.
As one might expect, the medical costs are mounting, and that's where this community can help. Her friend Lindsey Oken has organized a fundraiser though CrowdRise to help with those medical costs.
Go to CrowdRise.com/AnnieLeslie for more information. All donations go to HelpHopeLive Mid-Atlanic Traumatic Brain Injury Fund designated for Annie.
Annie has a long road of rehabilitation ahead, and it is important that we all join together to give her a chance of living a better life.
Mike Harrison, her former lacrosse coach and teacher at Wilde Lake was shocked when told of Annie's situation.
"She was a great kid. She played hard and studied hard. She was an ideal high school student. She was wonderful to have in your classroom," he said.
Annual Light the Night
I wanted to attend last week's Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Annual Light the Night Two-Mile Walk but had another commitment. Team Matt, named in honor of Matthew David, an Atholton graduate and a Columbia Association lifeguard, was the first team in Maryland to surpass $20,000 for Light the Night. That team is comprised of 200 Howard County families. Local businesses contributed including Emergent Bio Solutions, Fairway Hills Golf Club, The Wendy Slaughter Team, the Creig Northrop Team, Zapatas, Boliwalou and Sine Strategies.
Light the Night was also represented by Corporate Team Bonnie's Bear Hugs with $15,000; Team Shelley with $11,525; Team Powers with $8,450 and Firekite with $8,450. Andi's Army contributed money through the children in the Clemens Crossing community.
Huge turnout for triathlon
I am starting to sound like a broken record, but I am amazed once more at the turnout for triathlons. This weekend, the 4th Annual Half Full Triathlon on behalf of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults at Centennial Park was held and drew 1,250 triathletes from 30 states, thus becoming the largest turnout in its brief history.
The total distance for the triathlon is 70 miles: .9-mile swim, 50-mile bike and 13.1-mile run. That number represents the number of young adults diagnosed with cancer every year. Brian Satola, the director of the race, stated that "it's never been just a race ... the amount of energy and emotion surrounding the event is second to none."
The fact that it draws people from far and wide is a testament to the athletes who believe that the work to cure this dreaded disease is not done.