Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Rolling For James

Jeff and I had a close relationship when I was in college. He would frequent my dorm room at least twice a month. He was, indeed, the all mighty computer guy. I found him more dedicated to helping me than most "fix it" guys. My intuition kicked in and I started wondering. Did he have a family member with a disability? Did he have a friend in a wheelchair? Did he have an invisible disability? Ugghhh...what caused this devotion? I desperately wanted to ask but Jeff was a quiet man and I needed my computer fixed. For four years, I had Jeff's devotion. I overheard some phone conversations with his wife. It was about G Tubes. OK, there's a clue! When I would be at his desk, I would analyze pictures. He had some epilepsy awareness paraphernalia upon his desk but I still couldn't quite figure it out. Despite the reason, I always wondered how to repay him. When senior year started, this man finally opened up. James, his son had Cerebral Palsy and Epilepsy. Now, everything made sense. The puzzle pieces finally fit together. 

The summer after I graduated, Jeff friended me on Facebook. The pictures and videos unlocked a world of a sweet little boy who couldn't talk, walk, hold his head up, who had to be fed through a G Tube, and battles that my family never fathomed. I met James in November; I was enamored with this 4 year old who had been through so much in his little lifetime. A few months later, I arranged for my mom to meet James and his family. .His mom, Stacy and my mom laughed and cried that night. There are certain struggles that only parents of children with special needs understand. For example, finding a baby-sitter can be difficult. Most 16 year olds only feel comfortable making macaroni and cheese for dinner, not putting a syringe into a surgically made opening into a little boy's stomach. 

I have kept in touch with this family. In January, I got an e-mail about a fundraiser for James that was in April. I happily agreed to volunteer for this event. The fundraiser, "Rolling for James" was for an accessible van that James desperately needed. He needs a wheelchair and he's 4 now so lifting him in and out of the car is extremely difficult. 

The day of the fundraiser came and I was so happy to be able to help Jeff. He helped me for four years (OK, I've been in his office once or twice since graduation). The point is I was able to give back in an appropriate way. As for the attendance for this fundraiser, it made my heart melt! It had to be 200-300 people there for James! I was so happy for this family. It was unbelievable! To learn more about James and his condition, go to http://www.rollingforjames.com/. I'll always be Rolling for James.

I'm really happy with work. They are asking more and more of me which I love. I'm around individuals who are so successful and humble. I couldn't ask for more. This month, my wheelchair broke, Tiffany sprained her ankle, and other really crappy things happened. However, I'm healthy, my family is fantastic, my assistants are unbelievably dedicated to my independence, what more could I ask for? 

Keep on rolling. 

Hannah! 


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