ROANOKE (WSLS 10 SPORTS) - Kendall Bayne was a Cave Spring High School cheerleader, a straight-A student, a happy teenager with a contagious smile. Kendall had a light about her that never dimmed, even while facing a rare form of childhood cancer.
After years of fighting, and sharing a ray of hope to others going through the same fight, Kendall passed away in October of last year, she was 19. Her memory lives on, brightening the lives of children worldwide.
"I said Jere, why don't we try to do like 10 schools in honor of Kendall, and we already had two under construction. I didn't think he would, but to my surprise, he prayed about it, and said 'yeah, I'm all in,'" said Pastor of Church of the Holy Spirit, Quigg Lawrence.
Kendall's father Jere Bayne, Lawrence, and four others set out on a mission trip to Rwanda to build and dedicate the first two schools. They visited Nkombo Island and Rutunga, two poverty stricken areas in the Rwanda, with a plan to light the path for underprivileged children so they could have a better future through education, all in Kendall's memory.
"We dedicate this school, in the name of the father, and the son, and the holy spirit, amen," Lawrence dedicated the school.
"Kendall loves schools, she was an honor student, and had hopes of going to college so this is just a way to help kids and build a school for them and I think it will be a tribute to her for years to come," said Bayne.
As the church group laid the foundation so the Rwandan children could have a bright future, they also spent time with them and gave them food. For Jere, enlightening them was a healing process.
Lawrence explained, "I could definitely tell, it was a very, very emotional time for him. I think he was really encouraged and blessed that we were honoring his daughter, but he was also deeply moved at a heart level."
These two schools will serve about one thousand students. All in and effort to spread love and hope, they same way Kendall always had.
"I've seen it ever since she was born, but everybody else became aware of it after they found out she had cancer and I was proud to say I was her dad."
Kendall's name will beam over the 10 schools that will serve around 4 to 5 thousand students when the project is done. Thanks to a church, a father, and the love of life exemplified by Kendall.
There's a race in Roanoke on Saturday May 7, 2016 at 9am in her honor. "Kendall's Kilometers" is a 5K race or 1 mile walk with a "Sprint with Spot" option. Proceeds benefit the Kendall Bayne College Scholarship, TGen cancer research, and First Descents, a free outdoor adventure program for young adults fighting cancer.
Register at KendallBayneFoundation.org.
Story video courtesy:
Kendall Bayne pictures: Jere Bayne
Rwanda video and pictures: Quigg Lawrence
Music: Lauren Daigle- Here's My Heart