Mission accomplished: Jayme Green completes 357-mile Ride for Granton

06/21/2008
Mission accomplished: Jayme Green completes 357-mile Ride for Granton
By: Charlotte Marsch, BHFP editor charlottem@cpimo.com

Jayme Green arrived at Wellspring Baptist Church at about 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 20, to complete his Ride for Granton to raise money for his 8-month-old cousin, Granton Bayless and his family.
In five days, Jayme Green logged 357 miles on his bike, leaving Topeka, Kan., Monday, June 16, and arriving in Bolivar at about 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 20. It wasn’t just a joy ride. He had a mission: Raising money for his cousin Jenni Bayless and her husband, Daniel and 8-month-old son, Granton.

Green was greeted by family members and friends of the Baylesses at Wellspring Baptist Fellowship at the end of his ride Friday evening. About 10 children brought their bicycles and rode a victory lap with Green, Jenni’s cousin, after he arrived.

As of Friday evening, the fundraising total was at more than $8,000 with more donations still expected. On Friday, Green’s story went out on nationally syndicated Christian radio, so he expects that to bring in more money, too.

Granton has been hospitalized at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City since late March when he was diagnosed with severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome, commonly referred to as “bubble boy disease.” Granton was born without an immune system but has survived several infections and viruses. He received a transplant of umbilical cord blood stem cells Tuesday, June 10.

“He’s holding his own right now,” Daniel said Friday evening. “He’s on Day 10. They say the first 30 days are the most critical.”

Daniel and Jenni are posting daily updates at grantonbayless.blogspot.com.

Daniel took sick leave for the remainder of last school year, but the Bolivar High School teacher and track coach has returned to Bolivar the past three weeks to teach summer school. Jenni’s visit Friday evening was her first trip home since Granton went to Kansas City, where he likely will stay for at least another three months.

Daniel said the community has supported them well during the last three months.
“It’s just amazing,” Daniel said, “just the way people have really come out to help out Granton. But I’ve learned in Bolivar we take care of our own, and people have been so amazing for us.”

Granton has been featured on three TV stations and in the Kansas City Star, an article that focused on how the people of Bolivar have rallied around the Baylesses.

The ride

The bike Green rode was donated by Sunshine Bike Shop in Springfield. Green sent an e-mail to the store telling what he was planning to do and why he needed a bike donated.
“We were just touched by the story and offered to donate the bike,” said Kay Meeker, who owns the store, along with her twin granddaughters Jenna and Jerra Umlauf. They attended the party Friday night.

The bicycle was then given away Friday night, with the drawing for the bike raising $1,200. Signs to Go in Topeka, Kan., donated lettering on the bicycle that reads, “Ride for Granton June 16-20, 2008,” “Romans 12:12” and “Isaiah 40:31.”

Toby, the Support and Gear Man, drove alongside Green throughout the ride.

“It was great,” Jayme said just minutes after completing the ride. “You could really tell that God was behind it.”

Along the way, Green raised awareness for Granton’s story, as well as raising money for the Bayless family.

“I met a lot of great people along the way,” he said. “Every town I stopped in was wonderful.”

Read his blog at rideforgranton.blogspot.com and you’ll find out what he’s talking about:

* The first night, they were hosted by First Christian Church of Burlington, Kan., where he was greeted by the local newspaper and the chamber of commerce, served dinner by the Young Adults Sunday school class and served a large breakfast the next morning.

* The second evening they arrived at Daniel’s alma mater, Caney Valley High School, where he was greeted by a reporter from the local newspaper. They then went to the Bayless farm, where Daniel’s parents met them with a “massive feast.”

* When they arrived in Stockton at 1 p.m. Thursday, they were greeted by students from Stockton Elementary School, where Jenni taught art until Granton was born. Pat Steinmuller, Jenni’s former boss and the principal at Stockton Elementary, treated them to lunch, and then they pitched a tent for the night.

They spent most of the day Friday at Stockton, speaking to summer school students at Stockton Elementary School.

“They were awesome,” Green said. “The whole lawn of the school was filled with kids, and a lot of the teachers and students had already donated.”

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