AROUND TOWN: Elizabeth's special dance for Ronald McDonald House Charities

By: Linda Navarro, The Gazette,
June 26, 2014 Updated: June 26, 2014 at 12:10 pm
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Garrett Bailey's dance with his sister, Elizabeth, brought tears to the eyes of those at the Ronald McDonald House benefit. 060814 Photo by Linda Navarro

In 2009, Elizabeth Bailey stopped swallowing. Caused by an inoperable brain-stem tumor, the 4-year-old's family feared she wouldn't survive.

She was paralyzed.

Surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation couldn't eradicate the cancer, but Elizabeth surprised everyone by learning how to sit up again and to take tiny steps. Then the tumor stopped growing.

In 2011, it crashed around the Bailey family again when Elizabeth fell and was paralyzed again. More surgeries meant that yet again she had to learn how to take baby steps.

Moving forward to June 8, Elizabeth's big brother, Garrett, requested "Could I Have This Dance?" and Jeffrey Alan and The Jeffrey Alan Band serenaded them as they danced alone at ProRodeo Hall of Fame. Elizabeth took small, halting steps as they moved to the music; those looking on reached for tissues.

The evening supported Ronald McDonald House, where the Baileys made their temporary home away from their hometown of Pagosa Springs during Elizabeth's lengthy hospitalizations. Ronald McDonald House had become family and eventually the Baileys moved to Woodland Park.

The ProRodeo event was a pre-party and auction leading to the next day's fundraiser, the Cameron Memorial Golf Tournament. More than $90,000 was raised for the home that takes in families of critically ill children from outside the area. It's the place where families can be kept together.

Earning golf honors were first-place winners The Lamb Weston/Conagra Team: Ben Ayotte, Ryan Blanchard, Aaron "Goose" Sellars and Chris Phillips; runner-up Chief Petroleum Team: Eric Liebold, Mike Morgan, Steve Galvan and Darren Schrader; and third-place Collins Wealth Management: Ed Collins, Jay Brasseur, Dan Reynolds and Dwight Howard.

Over the last 27 years, the nonprofit "House That Love Built" on Logan Street has offered a place of refuge for more than 8,500 families of hospitalized children. McDonald's provides 12 percent of the annual budget and community events such as the golf tournament add some of the rest. Volunteers provide meals and are there with staff to support the families.

Families such as the Baileys - Alia and Josh and kids Caitlin, Elizabeth, Shane and Garrett - put a powerful face on the mission as they share how Ronald McDonald House Charities has helped during difficult times. Now the Baileys' story is being shared worldwide.

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