VILONIA — Logging in about 20 miles on the school’s track, Vilonia High School teacher John Allison went the extra mile Saturday to honor a student in the Walk for Payne event.
While he may have made the most laps and served as the walk sponsor, more than 100 other participants, including acquaintances, friends and peers, joined together to raise about $2,000 for Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Angels for Angela Pillowcase Ministry as a tribute to VHS junior high student Angela Payne, said Lisa Sloan, assistant sponsor. Members of Mu Alpha Theta helped as well, as each ran five miles.
Angela Payne was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. Her battle since has been one of ups and downs. For a while, it was believed that she was cancer-free, according to her mother, Kathy Payne.
She recently underwent surgery, Kathy Payne explained, to have some new tumors removed and is to begin chemotherapy this week. It’s a situation the family is dealing with one day at a time, Payne added.
"She’s inspired a lot of people," Payne said. "She has a strong spirit."
Angela Payne was on hand for the event laughing, joking and talking with her friends. She also sang a couple of songs with the band, The Gathering.
"It feels so good to have all of this support," she said while on a band break. "This is a great community."
Family and friends have joined together to help with the pillowcase ministry. Material is purchased and they join together making bright colored pillowcases for cancer patients at ACH. In the past three years, Kathy Payne said the project has provided more than 200 pillowcases. Angela Payne is an ambassador to the hospital.
"She likes to go and meet the other kids and try to help them through," Kathy Payne said. "She especially likes to talk to the teenage girls about losing their hair."