Miles for Makayla – Part One

Miles for Makayla – Part One

The term ‘community’ gets thrown around a lot, but for the students and families at Gwinn High School, it means everything.

ABC 10’s Rick Tarsitano has been following one family who exemplifies their community, bringing them closer together than ever before, in their darkest hour.



Shortly after graduating form Gwinn High School, Makayla Mayo suffered a sudden, severe headache causing her to slur her speech. This prompted her mother, Tina, to take her to the Emergency Room. After undergoing a CT scan, doctors found a large bleed in the front portion of her brain.

Makayla was then airlifted to the University of Michigan Hospital where she was diagnosed with a grade 4 brain aneurysm. The scale only goes up to five, and it is extremely rare for a girl her age, but then again Makayla’s no ordinary girl.

“Makayla is the sweetest girl I’ve ever met in my life,” Neighbor and friend Joelle Olsen said. “She graduated top five of her class in Gwinn, plans on going to Michigan Tech. Couldn’t find a better kid anywhere.”

Makayla was doing well for a while, but two weeks after arriving in Ann Arbor, she was dealt a devastating blow. She suffered a stroke and started having the worst spasms surgeons had seen in three years.

“Doctors said you need a miracle. If you’ve got friends you nee some prayers right now. And we formed a big giant ‘M’, which has really caught on,” add Olsen. “People all over the country are sending different kind of M’s, it’s just really neat.  We didn’t even think she was going to make it, and all of a sudden she’s alert, she’s aware of what’s going on. It’s absolutely incredible.”


The miracle didn’t end there. The Mayo’s closest friends decided to take the cause online and garner support for the family while they were away from work for weeks at a time.

“We’re neighbors, and are whole goal before this happened was to run our first half marathon together, and Joleen Lorens took that and ran with it,” explained Olsen. “It went on Facebook, in the first couple hours our Facebook page blew up. And it’s not just our local community who is fantastic, it’s all over the country. I mean we have 3,000 likes on our Facebook page. People are establishing accounts to help raise money for the family. I’ve been involved in fundraisers and I’ve never seen an outpouring like this in my life, and what it’s doing for the support for the family is incredible.”

This weekend, Joelle and Joleen will be raffling off 25 donation baskets at their booth and painting faces for anyone who wants to lend their support. The Happy Hour Bar will also be hosting a dart tournament with a live band to raise additional funds for the family. If you can’t make it to the event, you can go to the Miles for Makayla page and donate to the cause, write a message of support, or send a picture of an M in her honor.

If you’d like to help Makayla’s family get back on their feet, donations are being accepted at all branches of SIR Federal Credit Union under her name. There is also a link on the Miles for Makayla Facebook page.

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