My Parents who I owe everything to realized they would be raising a child different than anyone else. Of course every parent believes their child is "special", but no parent wants their child to be different especially when it comes to their health. The doctors told my parents the long medical term for the illness I was born with, but to put it in simple terms my arms were lacking the radius bone. Immediately doubt was placed on what kind of life I would lead and this doubt came directly from doctors as opposed to the young couple who were facing the biggest challenge of their life.
In the months ahead my dad and mom would seek out advice from multiple doctors, and the story I am about to share is one that I am grateful for the strength exhibited by both of my parents. My parents first met a doctor at UNC-Chapel Hill who after meeting me explained to my parents that my abilities would be limited and that if I wrote my name it would be a miracle itself. He wanted to do some surgery that would limit my movement, but would help me function in life as much as possible. As my mother shares this story she tells of my father seething in anger as he drove home, and on the way stopped at a store, probably a Roses, and bought a plastic ball and bat. When we arrived at our house on Jackson Street pillows were removed from the couch, and I was placed on the floor with them propping me up. That day began a routine that Jerry Rice himself would be proud of. My father started doing therapy with me everyday with that baseball set he purchased on the way home. Every night when he came home drained my mom tells me we would sit in the floor for hours just having push the ball back and forth. My parents fortitude and the wisdom of Dr. Leonard Goldner at Duke University hospital are key components in me being able to live life at its fullest.
The attitude that I would be able to do anything any other person could do or better can be traced back to Kent and Brenda who decided that no matter what I would be treated in a way that would allow me to live life in the fullest way possible. If I showed an interest in doing an activity no matter how risky it may appear my parents did not hold me back. This attitude has helped me as an adult because their belief in me helped build my confidence and it carries me to this day.
In 1980 my father changed jobs and we moved to Livingston, Alabama. While living there I know my mom missed our family in North Carolina, and we missed out on growing up with our relatives. Looking back on this move I believe it was best thing for me because the small town we lived in was perfect for me to fit in and excel. When we moved there my mom would take me and my brother to the Western Auto in town. On one particular day on a trip to the store my mom took us next door to an attached store. I cannot remember the man behind the counter's name, but he made me the happiest kid when he handed me a hat and a tee shirt jersey that had my name on the back. My mom had signed me up for Tee Ball, and this moment would start a part of my life where Sports would become the great equalizer for me.
The Great Equalizer Part II is now up.
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