2-day event, poker run to benefit Red Level girl

Published 12:03 am Friday, April 12, 2013

A local preteen and an infant will receive help thanks to the annual Caitie’s Army Poker Run, however locals residents’ help is needed.

The organization has held poker runs since 2007, when it helped raise funds for Caitie Rhodes, who was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. Rhodes is a six-year survivor.

Since then, the program has grown to include two events each year, which now helps others with special needs and helps raise money for Children’s Hospital of Alabama.

This year’s rally will help 12-year-old Graysie Lee, a Red Level Elementary School sixth grader, and 6-month-old Hadley McLendon of Jack, and it begins today.

Lee was diagnosed with hypoglobulinemia when she was 7. Hypoglobulinemia is a rare disease that is under study and currently has no cure.

The family said Graysie suffered her first ear infection at 3 months old, and it took seven years for doctors to figure out what caused it.

As part of the disease, which is a primary immune deficiency, her body is unable to fight off infections. 0412-Graysie-Lee

Lee has undergone 71 procedures and surgeries, and is at significant risk of losing her hearing.

“She looks and acts like a typical teenager on the outside, but is a very sick little girl,” mom Loryn Lee said.

Lee has begun a series of blood transfusions and other types of experimental treatments.

Lee said Graysie’s treatment, which is considered experimental, isn’t covered by their insurance.

“We had to pay $15,000 for the 10-week treatment,” she said. “If it works, the insurance will pick it up and pay the rest. If for some reason this treatment doesn’t work, the next treatment is $28,000 for eight weeks. That is a large amount of money to come up with, but she needed it, and we, as a family, made it happen. So all the help we receive from anyone is an exceptional feeling. We are very blessed to have wonderful people willing to help Graysie. It means the world to us.”

Despite the treatment, Graysie Lee is an honor student at RLES.

Graysie is the daughter of Russell and Loryn Lee. Her grandparents are Wayne and Gail Lee of Red Level and Kathy McCollough, Danny and Lynn McCollough and Bobby Johnson.

Additionally, the run will benefit 6-month-old Hadley McLendon, who was born three months early at 28 weeks gestation, and has been diagnosed with multiple infections and medical issues such as E. coli, meningitis, seizures, brain bleed, hydrocephalus. She’s undergone three brain surgeries, has two shunts and had a cyst drained from her brain.

McLendon has some brain damage and is developmentally blind. She is currently undergoing therapy.

She is the daugheter of Brandon and Alisha McLendon of Jack, and the granddaughter of Ronnie and Paula Cotton of Jack and Kenneth McLendon of New Brockton.

The rally will be held today and tomorrow at Stock Law Gap, located at 9100 Shackleville Road in Georgiana.

The event will feature music, food, a poker run on Saturday, an auction, a 50-50 drawing, T-shirt sales, door prizes, bike games and primitive camping.

Organizers said the poker run will be a little different than most.

It will have several sign up points and all cards will be drawn at Stock Law Gap. Cost is $15.

Sign up points include:

• Adams Package Store, Kinston, 10 a.m. until 11 a.m.;

• The American Legion Post 157, Gantt, 10 a.m. until noon;

• Bar-B-Que Joes, Greenville, 10 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.;

• Hudson’s Heavy Duty Repair, Luverne, 10:30 a.m. until 11:30 a.m.;

• Dwan’s Place, Troy, 9 a.m. until 11 a.m.; and

• Choomolly’s Bar, Georgiana, 11 a.m. until 1:30 a.m.

Poker hands are $15 and include entrance to Stock Law and a free meal.

Those who do not wish to ride, but want to attend may pay $15 to enter Stock Law.

Camping kicks off at 1 p.m. today.

For more information, call 504-4095 or 488-0543.