TOUGH Kids Tournament 2015!!!

2014-03-08 16.35.41Young Athletes Compete, TOUGH Kids Win!

Mark your calendars, everyone, for April 26th! The 2nd Annual TOUGH Kids Tournament will be a blast for everyone involved, from participant to parent to volunteer. And, today, we are calling for volunteers!

We need LOTS of people to help make this tournament a great success. Please click on the “Calling All Volunteers” page, or simply CLICK HERE.

We need people to help promote the event, run stations, and gather stories for our Wall of Fame.

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Happy TOUGH Kids Day!

You AreA huge THANK YOU goes out to Moe’s in Alabaster, Al, for hosting both a fundraiser for OTK and 7th birthday party for Bryan Carr, our original TOUGH Kid. They went far and beyond the call to make it a wonderfully special day. Pictures are coming soon!

THANK YOU to everyone wearing blue and celebrating TOUGH Kids everywhere! Whether a child is fighting for life in the hospital, or struggling to live as normal a life as possible, they need to know their fight is not only appreciated but celebrated. Below are some pictures of supporters wearing blue today. And, feel free to use our cards to send to a TOUGH Kid, or even a TOUGH Parent!

bluecathy bluegracie bluekim bluemisty

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Celebrate TOUGH Kids Day 2015!

It’s that time of year again and we would love to see you at the Moe’s in Alabaster, March 1st from 11-5! Bryan celebrated several birthdays there and constantly asked for a Moe’s kids’ cup or chicken “MooMoo” while in the hospital. What better place to kick off our TOUGH Kids Day celebrations?

See you there soon!

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Photos from Tough Kids Tournament Gallery 1

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One Day Left! – last minute Tournament items

Thank God we are going to be blessed with such good weather! Dress accordingly and don’t forget the sunscreen (yes, even though it’s early March!). Here are a few items to note before arriving tomorrow:

  • All volunteers please arrive between 12:45 and 1pm for set up
  • All participants, registration is 1-2pm
  • Order of events: 2pm Welcome, 2:20pm Games begin!, 3:10 Groups swap (Indoor/Outdoor), 4pm Closing Ceremonies
  • We may have actual Tough Kids present, so be prepared to treat them as they heroes they are!
  • We are finalizing refreshments but feel free to bring whatever you need.

This will be a great day, and we appreciate your support and encouragement! A special thanks to the Calera High School Ladies Softball Team and Coack McCrackin for volunteering, Chelsea High School for soccer balls, Alabaster City Parks and Rec for various sports supplies, the YMCA for support and venue space, and Evangel Classical for promotional assistance!

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Daytime Alabama One Tough Kid Story

Here is the video of the @DaytimeAlabama sharing Bryan’s Story and One Tough Kid  Day and Tournament.   Thank you to Wendy Garner for sharing the story.

WVTM-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Birmingham, AL

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CBS 42 Story

Thank you Mike McClanahan @MikeCBS42 for capturing the essence of One Tough Kid and Bryan’s story.

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One Week Left! Register Today


Only one week left until the Tough Kids Tournament! Because we are equipped for a limited number of participants, please make sure you register soon to secure your child’s place.

This tournament will be a blast! Here’s a list of some of our competitions: basketball shootout, YCross relays, Wii competitions, soccer shootouts, strength challenges, and more!

Be sure to arrive between 1-2PM to pick up your registration packet.

And, don’t forget! March 2nd is Tough Kids Day! Remember to wear blue and honor any Tough Kids you know!



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Marina Noelle Hall

Marina Noelle Hall was born Nov 22, 1994 in Poltava, Ukraine and spent most of her years in an orphanage. She was adopted in 2009 and lives in Birmingham, AL. She has 5 sisters and 4 brothers. She is a college student and has worked part-time with children at Covenant Classical School. She is the proud owner of a Great Dane named Maverick and a cat named Mia.

Marina Noelle was one of four teenage passengers in a tragic car wreck on September 13, 2013 near Chelsea. The driver was killed upon impact. Marina Noelle suffered multiple broken bones throughout her body, compound fractures, brain
hemorrhaging collapsed lung, as well as some memory and concentration loss. Her right leg was almost amputated. She has been on a journey of recovery with multiple surgeries, an Illizarov external fixator to support new bone growth and stability to save her leg and therapy to regain the ability to walk and range of motion on limbs. God’s hand on her life and the progress to this point has been very evident. She continues to rely on God’s strength for each day’s challenges as well as the future ahead.

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Gracie Poole

She stayed in the hospital the first 8.5 months of her life. The majority of that was in the ICU, literally on her death bed. She actually had to be revived twice. The ventilator saved her life yet did terrible damage to her lungs at the same time. She has numerous diagnoses, but lung disease & bronchial/trachial malacia are the major issues that make her ventilator dependent. We were told that she would not survive if we took her home from the hospital, but we decided to take that chance and take a huge leap of faith. We were also told that if she did survive she would most likely not have any kind of quality of life due to such high oxygen requirements and her oxygen stats staying so low so much and because of all of the drugs that she had to be given. They said time would tell if she would ever even TRY to talk, crawl, walk or anything! We were told she would not be able to talk because she could not tolerate using a Passy Muir Valve (which hooks to her tracheotomy to help a tracheotomy patient speak), however she was determined to be heard and participate in conversations without the valve and now she talks our ears off. You can understand 85% of it perfectly, the other 15% is difficult to understand just because she has a tracheotomy and all of her sounds don’t come out correctly.

Physically we were told she might not walk. Although she has very poor muscle tone, She walks everywhere, with the assistance of her AFO’s that have twista cables on them to help her hip rotation!! Now grant it she limps and has external hip rotation and leg/foot pain that comes along with walking, but she is determined to keep up with all her siblings.  She doesn’t realize she’s different. This is normal to her since it’s all she’s ever known. In the video she is at physical therapy at children’s hospital. Although she walks well, for her, they put her on the treadmill to try to build up her endurance. She doesn’t have much endurance at all and when she does get to go out she mostly is in her power wheelchair. She gets intensive physical therapy during about 8 months of the year. She cannot go to outpatient therapy from October thru January usually, because of germs and cold weather & generally those months are just much harder on her lungs. She stays most sick during that time and those are also the months she has frequent hospitalizations.  She takes 20+ medicines a day and numerous nebulizer breathing treatments as well. She’s has had too many surgeries to count. She has been put to sleep well over 100 times. She has been transferred to Vanderbilt and Cincinnati Children’s Hospitals for second opinions because her doctors have never treated a child with her issues and as complex as hers. There truly is NO earthly reason she should even be here much less doing the things she is doing. She has had two major lung surgeries within a year and functions on very little lung capacity. She only has 20% of her right lung remaining and on the left lung she has only 50% of the top lobe and 70% of the bottom lobe remaining.

Often I have people ask me “How do you do what you do?” The human side of me gets down and out sometimes and I admit I have thought “Why my child?” As parents we want to fix everything and it hurts me to see my child suffer like she does, but then on good days and to see her in that video I am reminded how overly blessed I am. Even on the worst days she is still here with me!! That is my biggest blessing and so we do what we have to do and we do it by God’s grace!!

I remember vividly praying, in the ICU waiting room the first time she coded, “Please God, don’t let me lose another child” (we had a precious stillborn, Malachi, two years before I had Gracie) and then it was like a calm came over me and I truly realized for the first time ever, I think, that God loves her FAR more than I could ever fathom. Then I quickly shifted my prayer and I prayed “Please don’t let her suffer more than necessary just to keep her here with me. She is Yours, Lord. Please take her now, if that’s Your will.” By far, that was the hardest prayer I have ever prayed, but it took that day to truly make me realize I have only been “loaned” all of these precious kids I have!

Gracie truly is a modern-day miracle. She remains a very critically ill child and has a long road ahead of her, but by GOD’S awesome grace we continue to walk this road with her, the road that HE has already gone down before us!”

Most recently, in January, we were told that the time had come that we needed to be referred to Texas Childrens Hospital in Houston, to be placed on the donor list for a double lung tranplant. Currently we are in the process of getting financial consent for her to be treated out of state. When financial consent has been obtained, we will go to Houston for a 1 week period for testing, interviews, information, etc.. During this time we will also be looking for a place to live. Gracie and I will have to actually move to Houston and be residing there before they will place her name on the donor list-because we will be assigned a beeper and we have to be able to be at the hospital within 1-2 hours of receiving the word that lungs have become available. We have just begun down the road of fundraising and are trying to bring awareness to the events being planned. Gracie’s daddy, along with my mom, will stay behind with our other 4 children. We cannot begin to fathom the expenses of being financially responsible for 2 houses, double the bills, traveling expenses, etc..

More importantly we are tyring to raise awareness of Gracie’s health concerns, so that more people will be praying for our sweet miracle. We have a super long road ahead of us.

If you want to, please include her Caringbridge website. That way people who want to keep up with her progress or who want to know how to pray specifically, can keep up with her at<>. She also has a facebook page for support and info on fundraising efforts, it is “walking by faith with gracie”.

Thanks for considering sharing Gracie’s story.  I love to hear how Gracie’s life blesses others. I often think, that is why she is the way she is, to show GOD’s amazing mercy and grace. It makes my heart smile to hear how many lives she has touched. GOD IS GOOD!

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