by Rob Morris
Feb 04, 2012
Sydney Paige Medley was a bright and enthusiastic little girl who had only been in Amy Braun’s first-grade class for three weeks before she began fighting an illness that, despite hundreds of tests and a trip to a New York specialty hospital, doctors just couldn’t diagnose. That unknown illness lasted for three years, finally taking Sydney’s life in September of 2010.
Shortly after Sydney’s death, her family and friends joined forces to create the Sydney Smiles Foundation. With the help of Mykah Medley and Justin DeCoster, and Moore High School student Adam Graham, who is Sydney’s cousin, founded the Sydney’s Smiles Foundation.
Adam is the president of the foundation, leading the mission to assist children and families in Oklahoma with serious medical conditions. The foundation accepts monetary donations, gently used medical equipment, children’s books, children’s DVDs, new coloring books and crayons, new stuffed animals, and new or gently used toys.
MM: What was it about Sydney that inspired you to take on this task?
Adam: She just had so much faith. She never gave up, but just kept going and going even when things got bad and she was in her hospital. When we could cry she would be the one saying, “It’s ok. There’s a reason this is happening.” Sydney just had more faith and determination than anyone I know, for somebody so young and that just makes me want to honor her memory by helping others.
MM: Adam, you’ve been one of the driving forces behind this foundation as a high school student. How did that start for you and what’s it been like?
Adam: I just wanted to do something to keep her memory alive. I was taking a class at Moore Norman Tech during my junior year and one of my teachers there really encourage me to look at creating a foundation to help do that. It was kind of crazy, at least that’s what a lot of people told me. But my teacher and family were supporting me so I started and it just took off from there.
MM: How has the fundraising gone so far?
Adam: It’s been pretty good. We’re all new to this, so we’re learning lessons as we go, but we did raise about $1,200 at a Chik-fil-A Spirit Night last march and then did pretty good with a benefit concert called “Smiles in the Park.” We actually raised enough money to donate a handicapped van to one family and an iPad for another family. It helps him communicate and improve his learning and language. And we were able to give a special hand brace to a child from Norman after the other one was destroyed in a fire.
MM: What are you doing in 2012.
Adam: Actually one of the big things we’re doing right now is finding people to donate to. We still have quite a bit left from the funds we raised last year and we’re just trying to locate people that have a need that we could help them meet.
MM: You’re headed off to college. How is that going to impact the foundation and what you’re doing?
Adam: It’s going to be different, that’s for sure. Right now we’re just trying to figure out what I’m going to have time to do. I know that we’re going to have a big golf tournament in September that will be our major fundraiser. The date isn’t set in stone yet, but it will be at Moore Golf and Athletic Club. Then we may also do another fundraiser in December, but I’m not sure yet. We’re definitely going to keep it going, though.
To learn more about the Sydney’s Smiles Foundation or to make a donation, please visit the website at: sydneyssmilesfoundation.tk