Livingstone’s track team races to help a family in need

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 26, 2021

SALISBURY – Members of Livingstone College’s track team sprinted into action on Wednesday to help an alumna and her husband.

Tara White has been by the side of her husband, Tito, since July 15 at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem. He has been battling a rare cancer called leiomyosarcoma for the past seven years.

When Tara learned on Tuesday that her husband would be discharged from the hospital the following day, she wondered how he would be transported into the house because his mobility is compromised. He has temporary immobility in one of his legs and their home is not yet handicapped accessible.

Tara called First Baptist Church of Salisbury to inquire about its ramp program. The church’s secretary connected her to Pete Teague, who is head of its men’s ministry, and the rest is serendipity.

Teague and Tara realized they both share a connection to Livingstone College. Teague currently serves as special assistant to the president for community development there, and Tara is a 1995 graduate of Livingstone.

Then the two realized they knew each other through the Rowan County Habitat for Humanity program. Tara said she and her husband were the first married couple to move into a local Habitat for Humanity home, and Teague has been a member of the Habitat board since 1997, serving as president from 2001-2015.

Teague told Tara that the men’s ministry would need more time to respond to her request, but that
he might be able to do something about her immediate need, which was getting her husband into the house.

Two weeks ago Teague approached Livingstone Athletics Director Lamonte Massie-Sampson about organizing student-athletes to help. Massie-Sampson coordinated a plan with track coach  Justin Davis.

Track team members Murphy Harmon, Keilan Strader, Jacob Adkins and Timothy Ridenhour, along with Davis, showed up at the Doral Court residence last Wednesday ready to help. The vehicle carrying the wheelchair and walker had not arrived so the young men literally picked up Tito and carried him into his home.

“It meant the world to me,” Tito said. “I appreciate these young men and I admire what they’re doing. They need to keep it up. Keep their hands in God’s hands and they can go anywhere.”

Tito joked if the team can carry him they are strong and Tara said it made their day.

“This has truly been a blessing,” Tara said. You guys came through at the 12th hour. We were so overwhelmed by this act of kindness. I always say love is an action word and this was a genuine display of love in action towards my family and we are so grateful.”

Teague said this entire situation was the providence of God.

“She calls the church. The church calls me. I’m at Livingstone and she’s a Blue Bear. We knew each other from Habitat. There are no coincidences in this story,” he said.

Teague said the men’s ministry is working on a permanent solution to get Tito safely in and out of his home.