Saturday, April 23, 2016

Charlotte Triumphs & Same Sky Soars!

What a thrill to be in Boston on Monday to cheer Charlotte on! 

You were there at the halfway mark and Charlotte had no trouble finding you in the crowd! 

And you were there to celebrate her triumphant finish!  Through the generosity of family and friends Charlotte raised almost $18,000 for the Boston Medical Center. Charlotte and her family have pledged to match that amount for A Place To Be in your honor!!! We are truly blessed to be surrounded by such generous and loving friends! 

Highlighting the importance of this generous donation, on Friday the APTB Same Sky performances at Loudoun Valley high school on Friday brought many of the students to tears.  After each performance students commented on the courage, bravery, and talent of the cast. They shared how they will look at life differently now. How inspiring and empowering each of the performers are. 

Thank you Charlotte, Shannon & Jim for sharing the spirit of the Boston Marathon with us and for helping APTB fulfil their mission.  And thank you APTB for spreading Light Joy and Hope over so many young lives!  

God Bless,

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Great Friends

Great friends help get you through really tough times and great friends also make the good times even better. 

After years of helping you regain your physical independence, Del celebrated your progress with a trip to the driving range & golf course on Thursday. 

You both came home with huge grins and fantastic stories.  Something about your first ball going into the rough and instead of leaving it, you insisted on playing both balls all the way down the fairway only to finish by making a 36 ft put!

Way back in November while you were spending a month at Hopkins, Shanon Davis invited you to the 2016 Boston Marathon to cheer for your great friend Charlotte Davis ... and we thought why not.... What a great thing to look forward to!  Charlotte ran last year in the Boston Marathon in your honor, raising over $13,000 for the Boston Medical Center and A Place To Be.  We needed to be there in person this year. So Friday Toliver and I flew with you to Boston. 

Today with Shannon, Jim, and Charlotte we toured historic Boston. We saw the sight of the Boston Masacre, Paul Revere's house, and you stood on the Boston Marathon finish line with Charlotte and Toliver. Toliver was styling in his blue and gold CCI vest! Quite a few folks asked us if he was wearing an official Boston Marathon Cape!

Monday Charlotte will run 26.2 miles again.  Running every step to raise money for the Boston Medical Center and A Place To Be. Forrest and Toliver will be there to cheer her over the finish line! 

There is still time to help Charlotte in her Quest. 

Blessed with generous loving friends,
Team Forrest

Monday, March 21, 2016

Boston Marathon with Charlotte!

Darlin Forrest,  I don't know how a month has flown by so fast since our last blog update?!?

There's lots to catch up on, but the most urgent news today is that Charlotte Davis is running in the Boston Marathon again this year in your honor!  And you are flying to Boston to be there at the finish line to cheer for her in person!!!  This message is urgent because Charlotte is running for both the Boston Medical Center (BMC) and, in your honor, A Place To Be! And any donations made today are doubled for BMC and APTB!

We are eternally grateful for Charlotte's enduring friendship and faith in Forrest and for the Davis' generosity in supporting APTB.   PLEASE join Forrest in showing Charlotte how much we appreciate her extraordinarily courageous efforts. 

Charlotte and Cardboard 44 at last years' Boston Marathon

The Davis family is also creating a unique Team 44 / Boston Marathon baseball cap for donors. I just saw a picture and its terrific with the Boston Marathon logo on the front and Team 44 on the back! 

 Thumbs UP for Charlotte!

In preparation for our trip to Boston, Forrest & Toliver are taking advantage of the fabulous spring weather to enhance their endurance!

You gave all of us, including Toliver, a scare earlier in the month. With acute onset of extreme abdominal pain and vomiting, we feared you were heading for an appendectomy!  After spending all night at Landsdowne Hospital ER, you successfully passed a kidney stone instead. Ouch! 

Toliver was relieved to get back to mentoring Austin's CCI puppy in training, Martin. 

Which included showing Martin how to successfully enjoy his first full feature movie at the theater! 

It was so fun seeing Tori's new digs in Fairfax. And you and Toliver enjoyed dinner at the Red Fox Inn with Keith and his lovely Dutch girlfriend, Daphne.

It is incredibly fantastic to see you and Toliver able to go out and enjoy time with your amazing friends....on your own. Really it's a mother's dream come true. 

God bless you and your faithful friends with joy, peace, love, and laughter.

With a grateful heart,

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Answered Prayers

We made it to Emmanuel Church this morning to give thanks for our many blessings. You and Austin were baptized at Emmanuel.   I remember like yesterday your godmother, Karen, knowing your mischievous ways whispering "sprinkle a little extra holy water on this one". Perhaps Father Mark heard.  You've surely had Angels beside you every step of your journey.  Just yesterday you confided in me that,  "Someone way up there has my back." 

And with His guidance, your determination, and the support of many earthly Angels, you continue to make miraculous progress. 

We spent all day Friday at Johns Hopkins for your three month post-op CT and check ups.  First came your CT with Toliver keeping watch. 

Then you strode all the way from the out patient clinic across the main hospital campus into the Rubenstein building to see Dr Kumar.  A trek that would've been impossible only a few months ago.  

Dr. Kumar was thrilled to see your smiling face, healthy scalp, and your remarkable CT images.  Comparing them on his monitor to earlier CT results he declared Friday's images is to be "your best CT ever"!  He himself was amazed to point out that more normal gyri can be visualized now in the frontal lobes of your healing brain!  

While you have made extraordinary progress, Dr. Kumar believes that for you to reach your best long term recovery,  he must complete the reconstruction of your skull.   But he wants you to have a full year without any surgery...,After 25 surgeries in the last five years that sounds pretty good to us.  His plan is to use more of your own ribs to complete the reconstruction next November....We'll think about that later.  In the meantime, he did clear you to fly to Hawaii for our long overdue family vacation there in May!  With that news, you stood up and saluted Dr. Kumar which made him laugh out loud!  

From Dr Kumar's office we journeyed back the way we had come to see Dr Fruend in neurology.  The last time Dr. Fruend saw you, you were hospitalized for a month with multiple complications including concerns about your seizure medication.  While we waited for your name to be called we got the following amazing text from Del:

We were both still stoked by Del's message when your name was called.  Dr Freund was astounded to see you march into his exam room full of energy, laughter and good health.  He proceeded to give you a very thorough neurological exam and was amazed by how much stronger your left side was and how much your reflexes had improved. 

We reminded Dr Freund that the first time you came to the JH neurology clinic to see Dr. Rigamonti we brought you on a gurney. You were unable to speak or sit up unassisted. But Dr. Rigamonti believed in you and told you that you would speak and walk again.  Looking right into your eyes, he asked you if you believed him and you raised one finger for yes.  I wish Dr. Rigamonti had been there to see you on Friday!  Too often doctors will tell you, "Don't get your hopes up."  We don't stay with those doctors very long.  I's crucial to find great doctors who have faith, optimism  and believe in miracles too.   Dr Freund's recommendation: "Don't change a thing keep doing what you're doing!"

He can count on that!   And we'll keep pushing the envelope trying new things too.  Who knows what lies ahead...  As long as we keep our faith, your determination, and give thanks everyday for your Earthly Angels.....anything is still possible. 

With a joyful, grateful, and determined heart,


Saturday, January 30, 2016

Moving Forward

Five years out and you are still pushing the boundaries and moving forward.  

With Tami and Toliver at your side you are taking an on campus NOVA community college course on public speaking.  And you got 100% on your first assigned in class speech!  YAYY! While you are a natural on stage, this course demands a lot of focus, memory work, and discipline.  You are definitely up for the challenge! 

Class was canceled all week due to Snowzilla Jonas.  Which called for some shoveling & playtime in the snow:

We enjoyed being snowed in the first few days, but we sure did miss Austin (and Martin too)! Sharon Hallman took this beautiful photo a few weeks ago when Austin and Martin were home and we could still see grass! 

Once our roads were cleared you were back at Quest Global Management, where you work two hours a week under JP's amazing mentorship.  You're learning critical life and work skills in the marketing department, and having a blast interfacing with the team at QGM. 

A Place To Be continues to be a source of great inspiration, friendship, and community.   Last night you were able to attend Abby and Alice's fabulous recital with Gio and Shayna. 

After all the enormous hurdles you have overcome with endless grit and determination, it's wonderfully surreal knowing you are going to college, working at a job, and having a night out with friends. 

You teach  me something almost every day Champ.  Today I'm reminded,  "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars." N.V. Peale

Counting our blessings every day,
Mum & Team 44

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Five Years Out Today

Darlin' Forrest,

Five years ago today I got the call that changed the trajectory of your life and our family forever. My mother's heart clenches now just thinking of that moment.  At first the doctors told us to prepare ourselves for the likelihood that you would never wake up from the coma. When you did, they told us that most of a TBI patient's recovery is made in the first year.  When we brought you home from the hospital for the first time, on 12/21/11 almost a year after your snowboarding accident, you couldn't turn yourself over in bed, open your fists or your mouth, or utter one word.

So many earthly angels came to our aid, believed in you, and supported our family through endless dark and difficult months. We couldn't have made it without Austin's unconditional love, our extended family, faithful friends, APTB, and our incredible community.   And without Del Wilson's faith, encouragement, mentorship, humor, and skill as a physical therapist, I don't know how you would have come back from so many setbacks to regain your strength and reclaim your physical independence. 

For Christmas this year we wanted to make a video tribute to Del.  Tami helped gather images and videos from a dozen different devices taken over more than four years and with incredible patience, persistence and talent created Forrest's Tribute to Del Wilson. The music, 44 Reasons, was written and recorded by Jason Price, Nathan Chuba and Forrest. On this day we would like to share this tribute with Forrest's friends, prayer warriors, and supporters. When I asked Forrest what he would like to say today about his journey so far, he said, "This video says it all". 

You can watch Forrest's Tribute to Del on YouTube :

With grateful and optimistic hearts, we look forward to the next amazing five years of your journey.

 Kick on, Champ!

Mum & Pops

Friday, December 25, 2015

Wishing you a Joyous Christmas Day

We are grateful this Christmas day to be home at BrightWood together. We are sending prayers and love to Nat, Joshua and other families celebrating Christmas in hospital today.  

We have been blessed with a Wonderful month at home.   Here are a few  of the highlights:  Some of Forrest friends were able to join him to see Spectre on his 23rd birthday. A real joy after spending two of the last five birthdays in hospital.  

A little unconventional chainsaw PT helped bring in our BrightWood Christmas tree!

Christmas shopping with Austin and Forrest is always entertaining!

At Forrests check up at Johns Hopkins with one of his doctors on 12/23, Dr. Liptoncott exclaimed,  "Forrest you look like a million bucks!"  All of Forrest's blood work looked just as good and we got Forrest's early Christmas wish.  No more continuous IV antibiotic's and the Hickman central IV line came out!!!

While it was great to see familiar nurses who adore Forrest & Toliver, Toliver was clearly a little concerned about our visit to the hospital and was eager to get Forrest out of there!

The unseasonably warm weather in Virginia allowed us to have a day hike on Christmas Eve. 

Sending love and gratitude to all our family, friends, prayer warriors, doctors, therapists, and nurses who have made this chapter in Forrest's journey possible. Next up; Pop's legendary herbs de Provence brined beer can turkey! 

God Bless & Merry Christmas!