Hundreds take part in color fundraiser for 10-month-old White Oak girl
By Melissa Greene firstname.lastname@example.org
May 1, 2013 at 10 p.m.
WHITE OAK - A kaleidoscope of people came together in White Oak on Wednesday evening to participate in a 5K color run/walk benefiting 10-month-old Camryn Noll. A slight shower just after the starting gun only made the colors brighter.
More than 600 participants from as far away as Arlington were pelted with 794 pounds of paint each kilometer as they ran or walked the streets around White Oak High School, raising more than $20,000 for a family many call their own.
Camryn's grandfather is Dan Noll, White Oak High School principal. Parents Clint and Candace Noll are White Oak natives.
"Dan Noll is iconic in this area. Everyone calls him Pops. Everyone loves him. They've come to support Dan, and of course little Camryn," said Dana Mizell, White Oak High School secretary and organizer of the event, along with White Oak student council members.
Camryn led the race in a pace car driven by her Dad, Clint, and accompanied by her grandpa, Dan, mom, Candace, and sister, Austin, 3. Big sister Trinity, 8, ran in the race. White Oak student council members sponsored the race, tasked with pelting the runners with paint along the route.
"Who would have thought that this curvy girl could have put together a 5K - much less a 5K with 600 runners? My goal was 300," Mizell said.
Clint Noll looked over the crowd at the starting line and said he was simply overwhelmed.
"The whole purpose of what we wanted was for everybody to come together, not just for Camryn, but for a single cause," he said. "We didn't ask for any of this. They're amazing."
Camryn was diagnosed this past fall with Langerhans cell histiocytosis, a disease that forms tumor-like lesions on her bones. She began a year's worth of weekly chemotherapy treatments Feb. 18. Another MRI is scheduled in three weeks, Clint Noll said, and if there's no growth, her treatments will be reduced to once every three weeks.
"I don't know that in the last five months we know what sleep is. That's one of the side effects of her medicine, she's up every hour," he said. "Camryn's going to be OK. She's doing good, she's strong."
The race that started with a Facebook post brought together a community. Retired high school English teacher Suzanne Cappel said she started prepping for the race five weeks ago.
"I started walking five weeks ago, as soon as it came out. I've been walking in my house so I wouldn't have the impact on my knee," she said. "Dan has always helped anyone who needed help. Always. This is just payback for that."
Payback came in another form halfway through the route when Dan Noll said his family suddenly bailed out of the four-wheeler. He was ambushed by students, coated in a rainbow of paint.
"They got him good," said Clint Noll, laughing.
Sonya Hill, Christine Martin and Joanie Bynum sported headbands like the one Camryn wore in the picture on their pink T-shirts.
"We just decided this was the face of the campaign, with the little headband." Hill said.
Martin came from Arlington to join friends in the run.
"I get to come visit her and hang out with everyone, and it's for a very good cause," Martin said.
White Oak ISD Superintendent Mike Gilbert said he had a theory on the high turnout.
"You invest a lot in the community and they'll invest a lot in you. And that's what he's done," he said.
After the race, White Oak High School basketball player Levi Yancy lay on the pavement, a tall technicolor mess.
"That man right there (Clint Noll) is a father figure to me. I did it because I had the opportunity to run for his daughter. She's like my sister."
Camryn's grandfather said he knows how they will tell Camryn what the community has done for her.
"We're going to open the Bible and show her this is what it says, and this is what the community did," he said.
"You've heard 'We are White Oak?' Well, We are Roughnecks. I can't imagine a community…" Dan Noll paused, tears in his eyes.
"Yeah, I can. They've always rallied around people in need."