The past 24 hours has done wonders towards clearing my mind. My stings are still uncomfortable, but I'm doing well considering how severely I was swarmed. I want to thank everybody for their well wishes and positive thoughts. It really means a lot to me to have such caring friends and readers!
Before my sting attack, I had been planning on writing about the Challenged Athletes/ Ossur
Mobility clinic that I attended on Saturday. It was an utterly amazing
day, and I couldn't have conjured a better way to spend my birthday!
was surprised to see the sheer number of amputees who showed up for
this event. It was wonderful to see that most participants were
accompanied by a small legion of their own cheerleaders. Grandparents,
parents, siblings, spouses, children, and friends all showed up in droves
to support and cheer their loved one who was bravely trying
something new and outside of their established comfort zone.
should be used to being assigned an unexpected task when I am asked to
work at one of these events. Despite the history of these requests, I am
always taken aback. When I arrived at the clinic I learned that I was
going to be leading the warm-up stretches for the group. After a five
minute cram session to try to learn the progression of the stretches, I
was standing in the center of the circle of participants, all staring at
me for instruction. If they only knew the irony of my leading the
group! Somehow I mustered my way through the routine without falling.
the stretching complete, we broke into smaller groups for running
instruction. I joined the novice running group, hoping to offer support
or help when needed. I was quickly paired with a young lady (17 years
old) who was a new above knee amputee. Despite her smile and enthusiasm,
her nervousness was obvious.
the physical therapist running the clinic, breaks running into five
distinct steps. My partner mastered the first step without difficulty.
Unfortunately she stumbled and fell when she was trying to
master the next progression. I was impressed with how quickly she stood
up and attempted to walk. Her prosthetic knee refused to cooperate.
If you are going to fall and have a prosthetic issue, the running
clinic would be an ideal location. Within minutes she was being
attended to by practitioners and Ossur representatives. The problem was quickly remedied. Apparently the bits of rubber padding from the AstroTurf field lodged in her hydraulic knee, jamming the mechanism.
With the knee cleaned out, she asked to continue with the clinic.
We got back in line and waited for our turn to work on phase three. The
fall only seemed to strengthen her resolve to try.
Five steps into the course, she stumbled and fell. Again, the
rubber lodged in her knee necessitating the prosthetic be dismantled and
cleaned out for the second time. We didn't go back onto the field as
she opted to watch
instead of participate for the rest of the day. I can't say I blame her!
She has my utmost respect for her determination and the strength that
she demonstrated by trying something so new and scary so soon after
becoming an amputee. Although she fell twice, I have no doubt that she
will be up and running in short order.
During the break I gave my speech. I was asked to talk for 10
minutes. I managed to speak for 6, which I guess isn't too bad. If you
round up, it is 10, right?
We spent the second half of the clinic cheering on the legion of
young children who were learning to run. Their spirit and positive
energy was contagious! Some of these little ones had never attempted to
move quickly and in a few short hours they were literally jumping,
skipping, and racing each other. I saw more than one Mom and Dad shed
tears as they watched the transformations.
Lives were changed during the clinic on Saturday. I am honored to
have witnessed people achieving goals they never dreamed possible. I
met a young lady who had been fearful of running her entire life. After a
little instruction and a lot of cheering she was running with so much
confidence that she barely resembled the person I met at the beginning
of the session. She hugged me when she left and confided that she has
decided to run a 5K this summer. She then waved to me from the parking
lot as she was running to her car.
Scott was amazed by the people he met and the changes that
transpired within them. I've tried to describe the event to him, but I
really think it is something that needs to be witnessed in order to be
appreciated. I know that he is changed because of this experience.
Every time I attend this Mobility clinic, I leave feeling
uplifted and empowered. I made some new friends and have memories
that I will always cherish. I may not always remember names, but I will
never forget the smiles on the faces of the participants and the pride
oozing from their loved ones as they saw disabilities overcome and
Here is my speech if you are interested...