Friday, September 14, 2012
Tractor Pulling For A Purpose
Submitted by Mike Palmer (Ed. note - I get emails and regular mail all the time and sometimes they stand out more than others. This email sent to me by Mike Palmer about the young boy and his battle with cancer is one of the most memorable I've received. Please take the time to read the letter in full and the PS at the end. If anyone has anything to add or wishes to help initiate what Mike's proposed in the PS, LET ME KNOW. Kudos to Mike for his efforts on Jayden's behalf. Thanks. Dear Bryan, Recently, I had the pleasure of witnessing and participating in a pulling event that reminds me why we enjoy this sport so much. This past Monday, July 30th I had the privilege of pulling with a young boy of 4 years old who has truly touched me to the depths of my heart. His name is Jayden Barber and like me he is in love with tractors particularly those green and yellow ones, but just about any color tractor will get his attention. I met Jayden about a month ago, when I learned about him from my girlfriend. To give you a quick history, Jayden is a 4 year old boy who has fought for every day he has on this earth. At the age of 2, he was diagnosed with bone cancer. After a long fight and countless chemo therapy treatments the family was all smiles as they thought Jayden had beaten the odds. Unfortunately, the odds were entirely against him, Jayden is one of the few cases where his body actually reacted to the chemo and developed and extremely rare form of terminal leukemia. Again the family was hopeful, but after a bone marrow transplants and T-cell infusions the doctors delivered the crushing blow that Jayden’s body just wasn’t reacting to the treatments and so he was sent home to spend the next six weeks with his family and enjoy their time together. Despite all of this, upon meeting this little boy for the first time, you would have no idea he is in a battle for his life. He has always had a smile on his face and is as happy as can be. He is in pain, has limited use of his right arm from the bone cancer, and still never complains or "asks why me?". I spent only a few honors with Jayden, but I can tell you they were life changing hours at that. Here I am complaining about a bad day at the office, horrible customers, being tired, and yet in front of me is a 4 year old with a death sentence who is smiling and laughing as if nothing is wrong, even though I know he has to take a pain pill every 3 hours just to function. So it didn't take me long to look for a what can I do to help solution........ The answer, I learned that Jayden and his 3 year old brother Carson are in LOVE with tractors which is great because so am I ! So last week we arranged for the family to come out and drive some tractors around the farm, we ended up driving anything that ran! Apparently, Jayden had a good time, because he was so excited to come back that he was trying to arrange another play date for the very next night. He kept asking to drive bigger tractors next time, and then it hit me, what about a tractor pull! Now, this may seem like a small request to some, but for those of us associated with pulling, think of all the red tape, insurance, safety concerns, etc.! Well, through the big hearts of the Columbiana County Fair in Lisbon Ohio, Steve Knizat fair board vice-president, Reesman Farm Supply, Trophy Works, and various others we were able to put together a special Exhibition pull on Monday Night July 30th 2012, at the Columbiana County Fair. I am not sure who was more excited Jayden or myself, I later learned that Jayden had prepared his wardrobe for the pull a day ahead of time just to be sure everything was perfect! The pull itself, was special in so many ways. I used one our Farm Stock pullers and retrofitted it with a special seat, fenders, and safety belt for Jayden and I to make this once in a lifetime voyage down the 300’ track for a Full Pull. We may have only been idling along, but to Jayden we were full speed ahead on a mission to pass that 300’ cone!