There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them. Denis Waitley
It has been WAY too long since I’ve written! We have been unbelievably busy...you know, with things like winning a grant from the AVIVA COMMUNITY FUND!!
On Saturday Nov 12th, Kate’s Kause hosted a Fun Fair and Benefit dance at Elmira Lion’s Hall. The Fun Fair was amazing. We had loads of kids from the community out to participate in the carnival games, BBQ, and bouncy castle action. We also had an overwhelming support of high school volunteers from Bluevale and EDSS. It was such an amazing day! To top it all off, we had 10 Angels from around Ontario attend this Fun Fair! It was so cool to have all of these families go out of their way to show their support and encouragement for Kate’s Kause.
The very next week, we got to meet the amazing crew from Shane’s Inspiration and Landscape Structures from whom we’ve won $10K in playground equipment and $50K in design and educational programming. We had a celebration announcement and some planning meetings, which will soon lead to the design of the BEST playground around! I absolutely love the mission of Shane’s Inspiration: fostering a bias free world for children with disabilities. We’ve decided on a Canadian animals/forest-type theme. It’s going to be such a unique playground, suited for EVERYONE’S needs! I know you’ll all be regular attendees!
On December 5th, Kate’s Kause entered into the semi-final round of the Aviva Community Fund (http://www.avivacommunityfund.org/ideas/acf10972). It was an amazing experience, one of the most memorable of the year, but it wasn’t without complications. On Nov 29th, our internet was accidently cancelled because of our upcoming move. Despite Jeremy’s persistent phone calls, we were unable to get our internet re-instated until close to the end of the Aviva semi-final voting. As a result, I streamed all of my FB updates, Twitters, and email reminders through the data plan on my phone! Two days before the semi-finals ended, Bluevale lost its access to its server. We easily lost 500 votes within a few short hours. However, after a short announcement at the end of the school day to rally our voters, our numbers started to climb. We had dropped down to 12th place by 4:00 pm, but quickly made a huge come-back to 9th that evening. I watched the vote count increase every hour that night, shocked at the out-pouring of support and involvement. This continued well into Dec 16th, the last day of voting. I got up with the kids that morning and brought the lab top over to the kitchen table. By 8:00 a.m., our numbers were jumping hundreds at a time. By 10:00 am, just in time for our western competitors to rise and shine, we were in 6th place!! UNBELIEVABLE! We finished in 8th place at noon with what had to be one of the biggest moves of the competition. I will always remember that feeling of pure elation that day brought: no matter what happened from that point forward, our voters, friends, family and community members showed us their support and encouragement. Thank you for voting for inclusion. We will never forget those moments. Thank you to Aviva for such an amazing opportunity.
Champions aren't made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them -- a desire, a dream, a vision. ~Muhummad Ali
Friday Dec 9th was moving day and we are now just about settled into our new place. It’s amazing. The kids are in heaven, as are we, and while it was so hard to leave our first family home, we are so content here. Life is good. The space is amazing for Kate’s development. She’s bumping off milestone’s like nobody’s business!!
On Monday Dec 12th, Kate attended the BCI Staff Kids’ Christmas party. She had a BLAST! She was completely involved and participated in many activities. She wrestled with the high school students, played and barfed in the bouncy castle (classy lady), and opened a present from Santa. It felt like Christmas came early for Jeremy and me. This is the only thing that matters to us – our kids are happy and included. It wasn’t obvious that Kate has a rare disability to all of the kids at the party. It didn’t even matter. She was just one of the gang, surrounded by people who love and care for her. She came home and had a bath in her new hydrotherapy tub and then crawled around up on her hands like it’s no big deal! It was the best crawling we’d ever seen her do. Inclusion works. Kate is living proof.
School went right up to December 23rd, which was a little tight for us since we’d just moved, but it provided for a wonderful, relaxing holiday. I picked up Jamie from the bus stop that day and told him he had 2 weeks at home. We had a great family dinner where we were able to reflect on all the amazing things that happened to us this year. Jamie is doing exceptionally well in school. He is improving in all areas and at an unbelievable rate. I’m so impressed by him. He also continues to be extremely sensitive about Kate. He’s constantly saying how cute she is, calling her his little sweetie or his princess. Sometimes I think about how much his life is affected by his sister. He handles it so, so well. I can only hope it stays this way – we’ll work really hard to be sure it does. When he’s a bit older, I will tell him how he was the one thing that kept me going in those dark days of fall 2009. He was Kate’s current age back then and already wise beyond his years. I couldn’t have survived if I didn’t have him.
Kelly is Kate's devoted, caring, Type-A crazy mom. Kelly is a high school physics teacher who earned her masters degree in neuroscience from McMaster University in 2003.