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Gramz

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Blog Entries posted by Gramz

  1. Gramz
    I have often shared stories of my involvement with the Special Needs Community. Today I have another one to share.
     
    Yesterday was a day to celebrate one of these individuals we've come to know and love over the years. Amy is a very sweet handicapped young lady who has been employed with Papa Johns for 20 years now. Her job is to fold pizza boxes and she has folded over 1 million boxes in this time frame.
     
    Her family, and Papa Johns felt this was an accomplishment worth celebrating. They invited a large number of family, friends and people from the community to celebrate this special day.
     
    Papa Johns Headquarters sent her some special gifts, and she was given a 20 year lapel pin.
     
    They asked Ron and I to provide the music and entertainment for the day, and we were more than happy to oblige.
     
    Lots of food, music, and dancing made for a very enjoyable Sunday afternoon.
     
    Of course, amongst other items on the buffet, Papa Johns Pizza was served. ;)
     
    I am so privleged to be a part of such a great group of Special Needs people and a community that supports them.
  2. Gramz
    Humbling Experience
    Yesterday morning I awoke, knowing that I would be headed to the Annual Special Olympic Track Meet to cheer on several wonderful young men and women that I have come to know over the past 10 ~ 12 years. When I awoke, it was cold, misting of rain, and very dreary outside. I felt myself wishing that they would just “call it off”. I didn’t want to leave my nice warm cozy home to go out in the less than desirable weather…. I mean seriously, Who would..???
    I arrived at the track and was met by so many smiling faces, HUGS, high-fives, and excitement from all the “special” young men and women I’ve seen every Monday evening for the past two months at practice. Quite a few of them got their events in, and were proudly displaying their Blue (first place) Red (second Place) Yellow (third place) or green (participant) Ribbons that they received for such events. To some the Blue and Red meant everything, while others were just as happy to have the green (participant) ribbons.
    Soon the downpour of rain came, we were all shuttled down under the bleachers, out of the rain, and safe from the thunder/lightning. For the next hour and fifteen minutes I was surrounded by many happy faces, great conversation, hugs and high-fives :highfive: with the athletes, and spending time with special people who have become my friends, one in particular named Eric, who competes in his wheelchair and absolutely melts my heart every time he smiles and struggles to get his words out. It turned out to be one of the best hour and a half I’ve spent recently. They made their own fun with what we had to work with.
    Soon it was announced that the weather was relentless, and showing no signs of letting up so the Meet was officially called “OVER” and the athletes were free to leave and go home…. Suddenly I was being asked numerous questions… “Does this mean I don’t get to do my Race” or “I didn’t get to do my race, can I still come to the Pizza Party in two weeks..??” or “Since I didn’t get to race, How can I qualify for the State Meet..??” and so on…
    Today, reflecting on the events that transpired, and remembering my wish yesterday that they “just call it off” and the question I asked myself about Who would want to leave their warm cozy home to “weather the storms” I realized I knew the answer all along…. It was a couple hundred Very Special People who look forward this weekend all year long……..
    So yes, next year, the 4th Saturday in April I will be there once again to cheer on my favorite athletes, no matter the weather…..
  3. Gramz
    As some of you know, I am somewhat involved with the "Special Needs" kids/young adults in my community. Several times a year Ron and I perform for them at dances, and I help with the Special Olympics Track Practices and Events in the Spring. This past weekend was the Annual Halloween Party for several of them.
    Good Friends of ours, with a Beautiful Home, host a Halloween Event Every Year. They go "all out" decorating both the inside and outside of their home, complete with a Haunted Trail in the few wooded acres out back of their home. Ron normally helps on the Haunted Trail, and I am in charge of the kitchen for the evening.
    This year, however, I was elected to be the voice of the skeleton. They have this skeleton that sits in a cage (I will attempt to attach a photo) it is connected to a wireless microphone and when you talk into the mic the skeleton's mouth moves and your voice is projected.... They had the skelton positioned near the front door entrance and had me hidden upstairs in one of the bedrooms where I could see out the window as the Guests were arriving. Since I am very well aquainted with most of these guests, I could have personal conversations with them, it was a HOOT to say the least. Some of them were a little scared of him (me) but you'd be amazed how many stopped and had a conversation. One kid in particular stood there for a good 15 or 20 minutes telling me jokes and so on... it was a riot.
    Of course, my husband had the best line of the night when he arrived... He said, well you look like you've lost some weight. Smart Aleck.
  4. Gramz
    With all due respect to the courage it must have taken for Bruce Jenner to turn himself into Caitlyn Jenner, ESPN fumbled this one.
    On Monday, the sports network announced that it had selected Jenner to receive the ESPY Arthur Ashe award for courage. Given the enormous — and largely self-generated — publicity spawned by the transformation of Bruce to Caitlyn, it was a no-brainer for the sports network. When it comes to ratings, it’s hard to beat a man who was an Olympic champion who then went on to be a star on a trashy television show and then shared his private agony over gender identification on national television and the cover of Vanity Fair magazine.
    ×
    Lauren Hill never had a chance. Not at life and not at this award.
    All she ever did was battle cancer with an amazing grace and astounding spirit. And an ever-present smile.
    Diagnosed with diffused intrinsic pentene gleoma ( DIPG) after doctors discovered an inoperable brain tumor, Hill was told by doctors she wouldn’t live past last December. But she played her senior season at Lawrenceburg High School in Indiana while undergoing chemotherapy. Then she went to Mount St. Joseph University (near Cincinnati) with the goal of playing in at least one college game before dying.
    In November she suited up with her Lions teammates, all of them wearing gray uniforms made especially for that first game of the season. Gray is the color of brain cancer awareness. Inspired by her story, a crowd of 10,000 spectators turned out for the game at Hiram College, in a gym that seldom hosts more than 100.
    When the game began, a teammate passed the ball to Hill, who made a layup that went into the record books as the first field goal of the 2014-15 college basketball season. Because the illness had weakened the right side of her body, she made it left-handed. Near the end of the game she scored another field goal, this time with her weakened right hand. It was a game in which cheers competed with tears. Both of which were runners-up to Hill’s ever-present smile.
    Hill died this April at the age of 19, but not before she had achieved her goal of playing in a college basketball game. Not before she had spent her final months speaking for kids who are too young to explain their symptoms to their doctors and raising awareness about the lack of research for a cancer with a zero percent survival rate and few new treatment options. Not before she had helped raise $1.5 million to help other children with cancer.
    In explaining its decision to give the Arthur Ashe Award to Jenner, ESPN said it was “to help move forward a constructive dialogue about progress and acceptance.” And that’s a good thing; it will serve as inspiration for many.
    But Lauren Hill’s story should provide inspiration for all of us.
    When the ESPY decision was announced this week, Caitlyn Jenner tweeted, “What the hell am I going to wear (for the awards telecast)?”
    On the biggest night of her short, brave life, Lauren Hill wore gray.
    And an ever-present smile.
    D.L. Stewart
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