The parents of Marcus Trey Greene, a teenager who died three years ago due to heart failure, have decided to turn their grief into generosity.
To honor the memory of their son, who loved baseball games, Russell and Mary Greene rented two charter buses to take over 100 people from three different churches to an Atlanta Braves game on Thursday, July 26.
“Even though the Atlanta Braves lost to the LA Dodgers with the final score 8-2, it didn’t dampen the fun and excitement that we all shared together at the game,” said Russell Greene. “ Being able to take a total of 162 kids and adults to the Atlanta Braves game really means a lot to us. Just knowing we are helping the community come together from Morgan County, Greene County and the Atlanta Metro area was just amazing! Everyone there supporting us in loving memory of our son Marcus Trey Greene was a very touching and emotional feeling in our hearts that will stay with us forever.”
The group departed for the game from the Wal-Mart in Madison. Madison Mayor Fred Perriman even showed up to pray over the group before they headed off to the game. Mary and Russell had t-shirts made for everyone to wear with Trey’s picture on them.
“Seeing everyone walk around with Trey’s face on their shirts, we knew the spirit of Trey was all over the place!” said Russell Greene. “The shirts that everyone wore also have ‘pray for a cure for Sickle Cell, continue to fight against heart disease!’ on them. Mayor Perriman led everyone with a nice special prayer!”
The trip brought back many great memories for Mary and Russell when they used to take Trey to Braves games, one of his favorite activities.
“Trey is gone but not forgotten,” said Mary and Russell. In honor of Trey, we are happy that we could make this happen for the community. Just seeing everyone excited, smiling and laughing was a wonderful experience! This was a very emotional feel-good time and a memorable day that we shared with the community. We enjoyed everyone!”
The Greene’s plan to help other families with sick children by conducting fundraisers and raising awareness about Sickle Cell Anemia and heart disease.
“Our next step is getting with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta in the month of August about supporting the Sickle Cell and Cardiac program. This is all about just knowing that we made a difference in someone life if you can join in and do the same,” said Russell.
On July 15, 2015, Trey passed away after a lifelong struggle with sickle-cell anemia and went into heart failure one year after receiving a heart transplant. Trey was the only child of Russell and Mary.
“It’s been tough,” said Russell. “It’s been three years and we have been through so much since then, and before, but we wanted to give back to some of the people who were there for us through everything.”
Russell, who is from Greensboro, and Mary, who is from Madison, invited members of Springfield Baptist Church in Madison, with Bishop Kenneth Jones, New Springfield Baptist Church of Siloam, with Pastor Roi Johnson, and Clark’s Chapel Baptist Church of Madison, with Pastor Cecil Champion.
According to the Greene’s, although Trey was sick for most of his life, he fought to live to the fullest every day.
“Trey was a smart kid. He was an honor student. He played trumpet in the marching band at his high school. He didn’t let his illness get in the way of conquering what he wanted to do,” said Mary, who graduated from Morgan County High School in 1986.
“If you had a chance to see him you would never think he was sick. No one would have known by looking at him,” said Russell.
But Trey’s positive attitude couldn’t repair his ailing heart. Shortly after Trey was born in 1999, he was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia, an inherited genetic disease that adversely affected red blood cells.
“There’s no cure,” said Mary. “Starting at six months old, all of his life, he was hospitalized many times from acute chest syndrome, pneumonia, infections and sickle cell pain episodes.”
In February 2011, Trey was diagnosed with Rosai Dorfman Disease, which further complicated his condition. “Rosai Dorfman Disease is a rare disease that attacked Trey’s heart with a large benign tumor in and around his heart with a third-degree heart blockage,” explained Mary.
The Greene’s sought various treatment methods until Trey went into heart failure in October of 2013 and was sent to The Children’s Hospital of Atlanta. By January 2014, Trey received a heart transplant, and soon he returned to school to do what he loved most: study and play music. But more complications were to soon arise from his heart transplant. Trey’s new heart sprung a valve leak before his body ultimately rejected the heart altogether.
“I can’t even tell you what the feeling is like to be at a top hospital and a bunch of doctors tell you there is nothing else they can do for your son,” said Russell. “They just told us to take him home and make him comfortable.”
On July 15, 2015, Trey passed away after his second heart failure.
“Trey was finally called home,” said Mary. “It hurt us to think about it in the moment. But God gave us the strength to deal with what we were going through.”
Three years later, Mary and Russell, who have been married 28 years and live in Athens, are ready to aid other families caring for sick children.
“The baseball game was only the beginning,” said Russell.
Mary and Russell have launched a GoFundMe page called “Helping Families with Sick Kids” to raise money for a number of efforts to support families who are currently enduring the struggles they know all too well.
“We were that family in the hospital all the time. We were the family spending Thanksgiving and Christmas in the hospital. We want to help other families going through these things in any way that we can,” said Russell, who hopes to raise $5000 for the campaign.
“So after three years, we are reaching out for help from the community, and anyone that would like to help us, to make this movement “Helping Families With Sick Kids“ come true. We have been helping the community ourselves, and now we are ready to make this a normal activity with helping families. We hope you can help us by donating to our cause,” said Russell.
The Greene’s plan to use funds raised to help cover meal and transportation costs, as well as other expenses, for families with sick children.
“We had so much support from family, friends, churches and schools. We thank God and everyone!” said Mary. “But we noticed there were some kids in the hospital for months just like us who didn’t have much support from family. There were parents who didn’t have money to buy a meal for their self. We spent many months in the hospital on Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays and other holidays. So we would like to give back towards helping families with sick kids…there are some parents who have to travel four to five hours every week to transport their child to the doctor. If you don’t think this is not important, believe me it is, because this is something that you can’t predict, you never know when sickness is coming. This program will help families with co-pays, gas, food and for special occasions like Thanksgiving and Christmas day.”
Mary and Russell were inspired by Trey’s compassionate and caring personality.
“We called him our “Little Martin Luther” because he just cared about everybody and this is what he would want us to do,” said Russell.
To donate to the Greene’s GoFundMe Campaign, visitwww.gofundme.com/helping-families-with-sick-kids or contact us them at firstname.lastname@example.org. Checks can be sent to make checks payable to Mary H. Greene at 240 Blueberry Hills Ct. in Athens.