Hi everyone. My name is Amy Guimond, and last November, Carrie gave me the opportunity to guest blog about my adoption portrait, which was an amazingly cathartic experience and helped me become a stronger woman.
But today, I am guest blogging because of someone else -- a friend of mine named Thomas Mills III who lives in South Florida. Tom is a below-the-knee amputee who works hard to empower individuals with disabilities. I am working in conjunction with Tom at the Superman Walks Project, an organization that takes people in wheelchairs on obstacle course races/mud runs like Superhero Scramble and empowers them to use their bodies and minds in ways they never thought possible.
Last week, Tom was contacted by a mother in Georgia who has a very special 9-year-old son. Her son (who is incidentally named Thomas Mills, no relationship!!), is a miracle child in every sense, as he has far surpassed all expectations of the medical community. Having been born with severe Cerebral Palsy, medical professionals anticipated that Tommy wouldn't live past the age of 5... they believed that he was blind, but he has proven that he can see... they believed that he would be unable to communicate, but he communicates and interacts with others all the time.
Young Tommy loves Star Wars (having been inducted into the Georgia Garrison of the 501st legion, similar to the way that Portrait of an Adoption's Katie Goldman was welcomed last year by the Midwest Garrison). Tommy loves action figures and comic books; he is passionate; he is caring; he is fun-loving, and always down for an adventure.
Unfortunately, Tommy has limitations. He spends a lot of time on the sidelines being told that he can't do the fun-loving activities he craves. Tommy has ongoing health issues which require continuous medical assistance. He is fed through a G tube. He goes in and out of the hospital with surgeries. He is unable to walk independently and spends most of his time in a wheelchair. His mother is an avid obstacle course racer, and Tommy begs to go with her, and it breaks her heart every time she has to tell him that he can't go because the courses aren't set up for people like him.
But then Tommy and his mother found out about my friend Tom. They watched this video and thought that if Tom and his team could bring a recent amputee on a mud run in a wheelchair, it might be possible to take Tommy.
Since Tom understands what it is like to have others put limitations on people with disabilities, he considered the idea instead of dismissing it. The ball started rolling very quickly! And the Superman Walks team sprang to action preparing to take this little boy on the adventure of his life at the Superhero Scramble in South Carolina on June 29, 2013.
The reality is that we don't have much preparation time. With less than a month to go, our funding is falling short. Because Tommy has significant needs, we need to ensure that the team travels together to teambuild and train new members. Right now, we are approximately $7,500.00 short of our goal. This is obviously a substantial financial burden for members of the team, and we need help. We are holding BBQs, bake sales and car washes, but we are getting down to the wire.
This isn't just about a mud run. And in reality, this isn't entirely about fulfilling the dream of a little boy who is limited by disability.
This is about ALL of us. This is about my friend Tom and the rest of the team at Superman Walks. This is about me and you. This is about adults and children who suffer traumatic injuries reclaiming their lives. This is about those who were born with disabilities being empowered to live up to their potential. This is about teamwork. This is about compassion and understanding. This is about awareness. This is about pushing ourselves to reach our potential. This is about inspiring hope.
To view photos of previous projects (or follow along with this journey) please visit Superman Walks Facebook Page.
To get in touch with Thomas at Superman Walks you can call him at 561-797-0104 or email him using this form.
Portrait of an Adoption is hosted by Carrie Goldman, the author of Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear.
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