Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Bringing Joy to Disabled Children

I have an awesome cousin who is married to an awesome woman.  Together they have two boys, one of whom is 18 and has Angelman syndrome.  They have put their hearts into raising awareness for AS and for giving their son a great life.  One of the things they've done is gotten him involved in baseball from a young age.  My cousin has always played ball and, as a matter of fact, I attribute my hatred of baseball to him due to all of the games I had to sit through as a kid and sweat and get dirty and be bored to death! 

Anyhow, he and his wife, who don't just do something but jump all-in, got involved in a local team for kids with disabilities.  They are credited for bringing new life to this team and for growing the team to enough kids to have multiple teams!  

For years, these kids played ball on a regular ball field which meant wheelchairs tipping over due to the uneven ground, kids tripping over bases, dads who carry their kids having a hard time running the bases due to the conditions. 

One day, a group of these parents had a vision to build a handicap friendly ball field.  This past Saturday they saw their vision become a reality.  We were fortunate enough to attend and what we saw was incredible.

Here's my cousin's son (in the blue) walking in with the band.  Apparently he loves the drum line, and later on, one of the drummers let him play.  He was in heaven!

After the procession in, many speeches were given, like this one given by a young man who has been with the ball program for 20 years.  He gave his speech via the computer on his wheelchair and he was hysterical! Thanks to technology, we were able to see the whit behind his broken body.  

 Then the ribbon was cut...

....and the games began.  

Here's my cousin's son sliding into home plate!  This is a favorite activity of his and he's glad he could still do it on this new field.  

The joy on the faces of all of the kids and parents was exuberant!

What an honor it was to witness this life affirming event.  As we walked away, I was so impressed by these families.  I mentioned to my kids that you have a choice in life:  You can look at a child with a disability as a burden, or you can embrace their disability and do whatever you can to bring joy to their life as well as yours.  The road is a hard one, I've seen that through my cousins, but they continue to inspire me with their love and dedication.  Not only to their son, but to everyone around them.  

So hats off to my cousins...from your #1 fan!!

God Bless!