My SAM Story

Peyton Rogers

Peyton Rogers

I always knew getting involved with Smile-A-Mile would leave an impact on my life. I never imagined how much of one it would leave until I had the chance to witness a true miracle last September.

Last year’s Monkey C Monkey Run started like every other one had, early in the morning… I had heard prior to the run about this young woman named Jada who would be attempting to complete the entire MCMR 5K on her new “blade” (prosthetic leg).

Jada started her childhood cancer journey at the age of 12 when she was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma. Through her positive spirit and outlook she beat this battle. Unfortunately, in September of 2016 she relapsed and ended up having to have a leg amputated to prevent the cancer from spreading. Jada was determined even after all her treatments and loss of a leg not only would she participate in the next MCMR, she would finish the entirety of it.

The morning of the race I had the chance of meeting Jada and her mother Carolyn. Both Jada and her mother are those rare individuals you get to meet in life who just exude this positive and joyful outlook on everything. I knew after speaking with and interacting with them and their infectious spirits there was something special about that day.

I was asked to follow Jada and be there to support her if at any point she was unable to complete the 5K. I gladly excepted the opportunity to be there for her if needed. Jada started off the 5K with the entire SAM family cheering her on and showing their support. I followed behind Jada and the rest of her family/friends who were encouraging her the whole way just in case the long steep hill became too much. To my astonishment she just kept on going, fighting through the pain and refusing to stop to rest or for water.

As we finally passed mile three with her hands on her head she knew she had just a short distance more in order to finish. Jada picked up the pace, ignored the pain, and was determined to complete the MCMR with her head held high. I think it finally hit me as we rounded the corner at SAM Place with the entire SAM family cheering Jada over the finish line as well as the children from 8th floor at Children’s of Alabama watching her from above, I had just witnessed a true miracle.

Anyone who knew Jada would know that she would tell you it was not a miracle. She would tell you to “Trust your passion and not your pain”. Jada didn’t just complete the MCMR for herself that day, she did it for every child and family going through the childhood cancer journey.

Jada completed her race on January the 23rd of this year. Imagine what we all could accomplish if we had her poise and spirit in the face of adversity in this race we call life. One of Smile-A-Mile’s missions is to provide hope during the childhood cancer journey, Jada provided that for us all!