We always get asked…What is Orange Out? How did it get started? Let us give you a little history…
In August of 2010 Rhonda and Eddie Brown's daughter Chloe was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia for a second time in her 3 1/2 short years of life. Chloe’s older sister, Bailey, wanted to do something to help raise awareness. So she and her friends who ate lunch together decided to wear orange that Friday since that is the color of the Leukemia Ribbon. After that they decided to convince others to do the same the following Friday. Word started spreading and an event was scheduled for the very first official Orange Out. Kristy, a family friend, had shirts made with the words ORANGE OUT in black on a bright orange shirt that they could wear.
By October 2010 Orange Out had over 600 people wearing orange and spreading the word.
Through her mother and her sister, Chloe has a group of over 800 family, friends, and supporters on Facebook. During her fight with this disease, these people have sent meals, prayers, cards, gift cards, pillow pets, and many other needed items. But most of all they have been her biggest cheerleaders.
In June 2011 a young boy named Drew who was only 2 weeks younger than Chloe and had been diagnosed at the same time as Chloe’s first diagnosis lost his battle and went to be with the Lord. With all the medical bills and financial burdens this disease puts on a family, they were unable to afford a memorial for Drew. This was very hard for Eddie and Rhonda to bear because that family did not have the same support that they had. Drew’s family didn't have a group of cheerleaders ready to rally around the family. Eddie and Rhonda felt this was the reason Drew’s mother took her own life leaving behind a husband and daughter.
Eddie and Rhonda knew they wanted to pay forward all the grace they had received throughout Chloe’s illness, but they weren’t quite sure what they could do because of their own poor financial situation due to their medical expenses. After the death of Drew and his mother they knew God was calling them to do something. Their discussions always centered around starting a foundation, but they would leave the conversation with the need to listen to God. They would walk away and pray and think about what they needed to do. During a subsequent conversation they both heard God talking to them…it was time to start the journey necessary to start the Orange Out Foundation for other families like theirs and Drew's. During another time of prayer they both learned who should be involved. When they talked about the Foundation again it was ironic that they were both listing the same people. Eddie and Rhonda then started talking to the individuals asking them if they would come on this journey with them. Not one person that they asked denied them. By the time the board met for the first time, some people could not commit due to other responsibilities or a new journeys in their own lives. This did not deter Eddie and Rhonda. They continued to listen for God’s guidance to make this foundation work. This led them to elect the following people to the first board of the Orange Out Foundation:
President: Charles West
Vice President: Rhonda Brown
Secretary: Kristy Slate
Treasurer: Jennifer West
Members at Large: Tammy Archer and Eddie Brown
And that is how a teenager’s vision for helping out her sister the only way she knew how, became a foundation that now touches MANY…with the hopes that it will continue to reach out to others who need love and support.