Melissa, curious to see what he had done, joined her brother outside only to find that he had turned the front lawn into a slippery makeshift water park, drenching the grass with a garden hose. The two slid all over the lawn until it turned into mud, Melissa recalls.
“We probably were out there for three hours,” Melissa said with a laugh, adding that their father was not happy with their choice of warm weather activity. “But it was worth it. He (Blayne) always had these ideas.”
“He definitely came up with some ideas,” Paula Tallent, Blayne’s and Melissa’s mother, added, speaking as only the mother of a creative and tireless teenage boy can.
An avid baseball player and aspiring future doctor, Blayne had one other idea, which would unfortunately be one of his last.
Diagnosed in September of 2007 with lymphoma, a fast-acting cancer, Blayne had been in and out of treatments and transplant surgeries, desperately needing bone marrow.
Soon before his death on Nov. 26 at age 19, Blayne wanted to start up a bone marrow registry program to encourage people to sign up to donate bone marrow and thereby facilitate the process, keeping donors and DNA on file when needed.
“Once he knew that the cancer was back and that there was nothing else we could do, he wanted to do this,” Paula said, explaining that both she and Blayne practically moved to Stanford, Calif. for his extensive treatments. “You could call it his last wish. It was something he was passionate about.”
And passion he had plenty of, both mother and daughter recalled.
“He was always looking ahead to the future,” Paula said, remembering that her son had told her he wanted to go into pediatrics and specialize in helping older teenagers, like himself. “He just planned ahead.”
The Sparks High School alumnus had a lot ahead of him, too.
Blayne had been attending the University of Nevada, Reno shortly before he had to withdraw due to health complications, but he never gave up hope for trying out for the UNR baseball team.
Nicknamed Bambi by his high school coaches, for his long legs and arms and height measuring 6 feet 3 inches, Blayne was quite the athlete and quite the friend, Melissa said.
“He had a close group of friends,” Melissa said. “They were called ‘The Brotherhood.’ And they all looked up to him.”
At times, Paula admitted it was hard for Blayne to cope with his situation and just be a normal teenager. But the bouts of bitterness were unusual for Blayne, Paula said, mentioning that he usually recouped his spirits soon afterward.
“He never really focused on himself,” Melissa said. “He kept his head up a lot.”
“He never lost sight of the future,” Paula added.
And as for the future of the bone marrow registry, both Paula and her husband, Dave, have been signing up quite a few of their co-workers, Paula said, an effort for which Blayne would be proud.
“He was a super hero to us,” Paula said. “Looking back now, I’m very proud of that boy. Unfortunately, it takes tragedy to realize what’s right in front of you.”
A memorial is being held for Blayne on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Sparks High School. All are welcome to attend.
For more information or to get involved with the bone marrow registry program, contact Paula directly via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.