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400 miles for Kayleigh

Randy Garrison

Hartselle Enquirer

While most of us would enjoy having a weekend trip to the beach we probably would prefer riding in a vehicle with 4 wheels and air conditioning.  Andy Olive began his trip to Gulf Shores on Fri., Sept 23. However Andy will be traveling with only two wheels and no AC. Olive will be riding a bike form the state line in North Alabama to the state line in Gulf Shores Alabama.

The trek is being called “400 miles for Kayleigh.” Olive is taking on the bike ride to raise money for Kayleigh MCClendon and her family. Kayleigh was diagnosed with DIPG in May of 2016. She has an inoperable brain tumor and has been under treatment at St. Jude’s in Memphis. Kayleigh has been treated with radiation and is now undergoing chemo.

Many in Hartselle and North Alabama have held fundraisers to help the McClendon’s with medical expenses as well as living expenses during this time. Kayleigh is the daughter of Carrow and Tim McClendon. She also has a sister Grace, and a brother Cole.

Olive began his trip in Ardmore, Al and made a stop at Jackson Plumbing Heat & Air early Friday morning. He is employed as a master plumber at the company. He then made a stop at Crestline Elementary where Kayleigh is a student. He was able to meet Kayleigh and her father while he was stopped. He spoke with Kayleigh and calmed her concerns about his having food to eat and somewhere to spend the night.

All of the students and faculty at Crestline formed a circle around the bus route cheering on Olive as he rode through the line of students. Many of the students also held up posters offering good luck for the bike rider as he made his way around the group.

Olive plans called for him to ride 132 miles on Friday, 147 on Saturday and finish with 121 on Sunday in Gulf Shores. Traffic and weather affected part of the ride and forced him to drive into Gulf Shores on Sunday but he will continue his trek to finish the 400 miles.

Kayleigh’s father, Tim said it was awesome what Olive was doing for Kayleigh and for their entire family. He has been amazed at what people have done for all of them.

He mentioned that Kayleigh was home after going through a trial treatment in Memphis. She had to stay there for the trial but can continue the oral chemo as long as she needs to at home. Kayleigh did receive good news recently; there has been no new progression of the tumor and no new growth, even areas of inflammation looked better.

Kayleigh was hugging her friends and enjoying the chant from her friends at Crestline as they exclaimed over and over “Kayleigh, Kayleigh.”