Sunday, May 19, 2013

Forrest Allen

Things have been a little bit rough around here lately. Not horrible, but...not as positive as we'd like. James has had a significant setback in his gut healing ever since the whole croup and steroids incident. The thought is that he is still so fragile, even when we see great strides, and that the fragile balance of good and bad bacteria or yeast in his gut was upset once again and we have to figure out how to get it back. He is going to do a 30 treatment of a thing called Interfase, which breaks down the biofilms that protect the bad bacteria, and then start on a particular heavy duty probiotic to see if we can gain ground. He's still good...just not quite as good as he was a few weeks ago. And that's just...disheartening and frustrating. But we are kinda used to that so we keep going, and we are getting better and better equipped to deal.
That's not the real point of this post though. That's just a brief update and to show you where my head has been lately.
Today we had the opportunity to go to a fundraiser and event to honor Forrest Allen and A Place To Be Music Therapy. Many of you who read this know about Forrest, and for those who don't, please go to his blog and scroll through to see what this amazing young man has overcome and continues to overcome with basically the best support system I have ever seen.
Forrest's dad was my equine vet through my competitive career, and I spent many hours hanging at the clinic waiting for Dr Allen to fix up my horse. :). I had met Forrest in passing, but we are talking 10-12 years ago. Forrest was injured in a snow boarding accident a few years ago, and through the years we have actually been at UVA in separate wings, but at the same time. I have religiously followed the blog that his family, friends, and caregivers have kept up to date with his progress. And it is amazing. But you wanna talk setbacks...these folks have fought and fought and fought through setbacks like no other. But they come out swinging every time.
Today I saw a young man who has probably THE best attitude and sense of self I have ever had the privilege to see. He spoke and walked and sang and thanked the people who have supported him. And I saw a group of friends, young college age kids, who's lives have been forever changed by their relationship to Forrest. People always talk about our crappy young people it seems. Well, meet this crew. They have a perspective and sense of loyalty that truly touched me. Ok, clearly I was affected this afternoon. It will probably be one of the most memorable events of my life. I cried a lot. In front of other people. But, I mean, I certainly wasn't the only one, so it's cool.
Anyway, Forrest was the star of the event, along with his family and friends, but it was also meant to showcase A Place To Be ( It's located in Middleburg and I've had my eye on it for a while. They work with anyone who may benefit, from people with any sort of disabilities to people who are looking for...something extra, it seems. We have had it in the backs of our minds for a while now, but a couple of weeks ago, Tom ran into Rae (Forrest's supermom) and she stressed how much she thought James would benefit. You tend to listen to Rae. It's worth it. :). So we went to learn more and we are more inspired than ever! I am completely convinced that this could be a huge bonus for James, and Eve too because why not. No details are worked out yet, but I will definitely keep the blog updated on everything. And I encourage anyone interested to go on their website and see what they are doing. It's....awe-inspiring.
The only last thing to say is...we were truly honored to be able to witness what we did today. To see people band together. To see a young man show such consideration for others despite his own struggles. To see other young people who you can tell are going to be awesome adults...way better than me (despite the fact that I was apparently wearing a dress one girl wore to her prom a couple years ago....though not with flip flops...she's clearly not from SoCal). To see people who care so much about what is happening to our kids, or even to adults (!), and who understand the teamwork that it was life changing. I could go on and on. Also, it was life changing to talk to someone (Tom Sweitzer is the director), who when we talked about James said, "oh, sensory" before we did....well that never happens. I'm still reeling from the whole experience so my thoughts are maybe not formulated properly, but...welcome to my brain. The big news is we have yet another encouraging avenue and are so so excited about it. It just adds a whole other level of hope, and I hope :) that someone else reads this and goes on their website and feels the same way. Once you read about Forrest, there's no way you won't be inspired to hope.
Also, I'm still trying to figure out if I'm super cool for wearing a dress a girl (who was beautiful, btw) wore to her prom 3 years ago, or if I'm way too old...
Then again, I didn't get to go to my prom...sooo...

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