[A quick note before you continue reading... I wrote the following blog on Thursday, just one day before the tragedy in Newtown, CT struck involving the loss of 20 children. The following blog is about the goodness and unselfishness of children. My hope is after reading it, each person will remember the innocence of children and make your day a little brighter after last week's events were so heartbreaking.]
When I first began volunteering for the Reeve Foundation, one of the first pieces I ever wrote was about a young man named Brad Burns. Through the years, Brad’s story
has stuck with me as we touch base and update our community on his story. Living with paralysis from a car accident in 2008 at the age of 24, Brad entered our NeuroRecovery Network (NRN) Center
at Ohio State University Medical Center. At the NRN, Brad learned to walk independently with just the help of a walker when needed. Since then I have spoken to Brad about wheelchair bungee jumping, furthering his education, creating a “to-do by 30 list”, traveling across the world, walking across a 5K finish line at the Kentucky Derby Festival in Louisville, KY in the spring of 2011, and becoming engaged. Amazing right?!
Besides Brad though, there was always another amazing part of the story, one of his NRN therapists, Jeff Buehner. I’ve seen NRN therapists in action and there is no doubt these are some of the most dedicated people I have ever known.
So dedicated, that children of NRN therpists/doctors became involved in raising awareness and funds for the Reeve Foundation. Here’s a little feel good story just in time for the holidays about how a little magic and inspiration from kids can go a long way…
In late September 2012, Jeff’s eight-year-old daughter, Ella, and two other children, Winston, 10, and Sienna, eight, children of Michele Basso, ED, PT, who is the Director of the Ohio State University Medical Center - Dodd Hall NeuroRecovery Network and a spinal cord researcher at Ohio State, organized a bake sale. This wasn’t just any bake sale. It all started because Winston and Sienna had met and interviewed two pediatric participants in the NRN program that were right around their ages. Winston and Sienna asked questions and became really interested in the NRN. Eventually they were so moved, they wanted to help more. Winston and Sienna came up with the idea of doing a bake sale and asked Ella to join them in their efforts. These remarkable children created their very own bake sale during one of their weekly recreation soccer games on a beautiful fall morning.
They hand-made flyers, distributed them at the games and practices leading up to the day they chose to hold the bake sale, baked cupcakes and made popcorn balls, and even got Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and Caribou on board to donate coffee. During the bake sale, the kids were true cheerleaders for Team Reeve promoting the cause and telling everyone as much as they could about the NRN. As Jeff said, Winston, Sienna, and Ella were all really proud of themselves. As they should be – they raised $400! I think back to when I was their age and $400 seemed like millions, to think of all the toys and gadgets they could get with that money. And they gave it all to Team Reeve!
“To be so unselfish, to want to do something,” said Jeff, “they were so happy.”
Just writing this makes me happy, so I hope it does for you. The magic of children is with us all this holiday season, so happy holidays everyone.
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