Thank you Miami Project!

What an incredible three days Arielle and I shared in New York City. We met actors, sports legends, and Elle did her own news broadcast at 30 Rock.

I stood in front of my daughter in our tiny hotel room. “Do these shoes look okay with this dress?” She started laughing.
My stomach dropped. We had to leave for our dinner in fifteen minutes.
Well, they had to look better than sneakers.  Right? I swung open our door in hopes of finding a female hotel employee. I needed another opinion. A male employee happened to be passing by. Panicked I stopped him. “Please tell me, are these shoes okay with this dress?” He smiled. “Yes of course…black stockings and silver heels are fine…this is New York.” Okay, that was all I needed to feel better. Arielle shook her head at her crazy mother.

We went downstairs to get a cab to the Waldorf Astoria. (Wow, the name is even elegant.) We quickly discovered, thanks to a bored man stuck in traffic, that the Waldorf was one block away. Oops! That would have been embarrassing. Off we went, my silver shoes clicking on the sidewalk.

We arrived and Arielle claimed a space in front of the red carpet. The room filled with onlookers and the sports legends came out to talk to the media and sign autographs. Arielle and I were amazed at how many people called out for signatures. There were footballs, magazines, baseballs, boxing gloves, and 8X10’s passing over Elle’s head and popping up around us. Still with all that going on Mr. Mancini, Mr. Rice, Mr. Gossage, Mr. Pippen,and Mr. Castroneves all stopped to shake Arielle’s hand and say hello. I was impressed.


Rumor had it that President Bush was in the building. It seemed to be true because there were Secret Service men everywhere.Their presence and the notion that President Bush would be more aware of the plight of those with paralysis made the evening even more exciting.

Elle and I explored the three rooms filled with items for the silent auction. A signed guitar by the Jonas Brothers, swimming with Mr. Phelps, tickets to Oprah and the most extravagant jewelry I had ever seen, were only a few of the many impressive items.

Seated at our table was Mr. Weisman. He helped make the New York City bus system accessible. Anyone in a wheelchair knows that traveling can be a challenge. It was inspiring to meet someone who made such a difference for those in chairs.

From the time Stephanie invited us,to meeting one of The Miami Project’s scientists, Mr. Weisman and seeing the sports legends, I kept wondering just how I was going to help. What could I do? When the lights dimmed and the video played, instantly I knew.

I watched a father and a mother crying, confused, their 19 year old son suddenly was paralyzed. I was transported to my life five years ago. I relived every feeling and understood completely what they were going through. But there was one huge difference. I had over four years experience in this new world. I longed to offer hope. My journal!

Before I left for this magical trip I started this journal after reading articles printed in GuidePosts magazine by Sue Monk Kidd.Originally my goal was to write about writing and pursuing dreams. The video inspired me to write more about our family. Through my journal I can reach out to those families who are struggling to understand life with paralysis. Perhaps I can help those who find themselves asking, “what exactly is a bruise on the spinal cord?”

Just when I thought our night couldn’t get any better, we met Brad Leland from Friday Night Lights. I summoned up the courage to start a conversation. I had to thank him for having an actor portray someone who is paralyzed on his show. He was very kind and asked Arielle about her favorite movies. She was surprisingly quiet….maybe starstruck.

We walked back to our hotel amidst the Secret Service and more policemen than I have ever seen in my life.
The Miami Project not only raised over 7 million dollars to find a cure, they raised the hopes of a mother and daughter. Someday, thanks to many caring people, my daughter will take her first steps for the second time in her life.

Thank you to everyone who helped make The Living Legends Dinner a success. Thank you to Stephanie and everyone from The Miami Project. You gave us an evening we will never forget.
Now, I want to do my part.
If you know of any families who would benefit from reading about our experiences, please pass this on. Comments can be left and I would be more than happy to answer any questions.



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The Picture Book Review

Reviews of Children's Board Books, Picture Books, Activity Books, and Graphic Novels

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