Thursday, October 6, 2016

Grateful Hearts

Darlin' Forrest,

We count our blessings every day and this week we have so many blessings to be thankful for!  Your health and growing strength, your voice that is becoming clearer it seems every day, and of course your many friends and supporters throughout your journey.   As you told me recently, "the best part Mum, is that now I can use what happened to me to help others".

At that is just what you did last week end!  Great accomplishments take team work and what a Team you had!  With incredible support from The Red Fox Inn, Salamander Resort, Backstreet Catering, The Hill School, the talented and compassionate staff of A Place To BE, and many other volunteers, we hosted a fundraiser for the Forrest Stone Allen Financial Aid Fund at APTB.  It was in conjunction with the premiere of this year's Same Sky Project, which included performances of Behind the Label and Will to Survive.  Both AMAZING casts touched the hearts of everyone in the audience with their courage, talent, original music, and messages of hope, empathy and kindness.  If you missed this performance there are still opportunities to see A Will to Survive.  Please checkout the schedule at website under "Upcoming Events"!

Forrest and his courageous friend Scott take the stage in Behind the Label.

Forrest singing his heart out for his best friend, Toliver, as the cast mimes Toliver's puppy love!

Forrest and Toliver take a bow

The audience responded to the performers and to Forrest and Tom's improv during intermission with an outpouring of generosity and we beat our stretch goal of raising $80,000 for financial aid at APTB!  Here is a link to their humorous exchange from Sunday:

We NEVER could have accomplished this Forrest, without the love, faith and support of your friends and extended community.  Thank you Thank you to everyone who gave their time, energy, and talents to make this weekend such a success and to all the generous souls who donated to APTB so that others in need will have the opportunity to receive the transformative power of music therapy and support from APTB.

God Bless,


Forrest also wants to thank Missy & her cool friends for an awesome time at the PEC ball!!!  It was "EPIC" !!!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

You are invited...

Forrest and his friends at A Place to Be have been working hard to prepare two very special shows for you as part of the Same Sky Project.  "Behind the Label" focuses on individuals with unique challenges and how they live life beyond those challenges.  With a message of empathy and acceptance, this heartwarming show will encourage you to look beyond the labels we see everyday.  "A Will to Survive" is a tribute to Will Robinson, a Loudoun County teenager who committed suicide this past January.  This powerful and emotional show shines a light on depression, mental health and suicide prevention.

This Sunday, October 2nd, is the only day this fall that you can see both of these shows back to back.  You don't want to miss this opportunity.  We hope you can join us at The Hill School at 2pm on Sunday!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Summer Fun!

Hello everyone, this is Forrest.  It has been a while since we updated this blog, so here are some pictures of what I have been up to.

Toliver and I enjoyed A Place to Be's "Encore" camp.  I was Christopher Columbus in the pre-show and Toliver was my sidekick, Diego Columbus.

Toliver and I took Tami and CCI Pup-in-training Martin to see "Finding Dory".  Friend Liz and I had fun cooking together, especially making strawberry shortcake!

My cousins Eric and Cailin came to stay with us for Pop Rocks camp.  We had an awesome time learning music and recording a song with Jason Price.  Tollie enjoyed playing the tambourine.

Pop Rocks 2 Camp in Leesburg

I've been learning a little bit of piano!

Pool time with great friends!

First Annual Fourth of July Pig Roast

Austin and I had fun seeing lots of friends at the Land Rover Great Meadow International - including Caroline & Shelly Elgin and our godfather, David O'Connor

I've been working hard on re-learning old skills.  Here I am doing a little bit of practice driving on our farm driveway.  Austin doesn't look too excited, but he makes sure I take it slow and that I'm careful!

I have my very own debit card now, with money that I am earning myself!   At Common Grounds today, I was able to use my card for the first time!  I am pumped to learn more life skills like budgeting and how to manage my own money!

Hope everyone is having a good summer!

-Forrest (and Toliver)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

It's Great to be Home!

You had a lot of important reasons to get out of the hospital quickly, Champ.

Dr Kumar told us he was "super happy" with how the procedure went and how quickly you recovered from anesthesia this time. He admonished us to "Get Forrest out of the hospital before there's a problem!"  We almost didn't make that...,thankfully Tami spent Thursday overnight at the hospital keeping watch. When the nurse showed up at 10 o'clock with a new medication Tami said "No No No!  We will have to call his mom first!' Good call Tami the medicine turned out to be a form of heparin that could cause you to develop a severe blood dyscrasia.  Problem averted! And we were only in the hospital 28 hours...a new record!!!

Then there was Charlotte's visit from Boston to present her family's $18,000 donation to APTB in your honor.  You couldn't miss that! 

The cast and crew of the APTB summer camp welcomes Charlotte with open arms!   As you thanked Charlotte for running the Boston Marathon in your honor, you explained how your friends at A Place To Be must feel that facing their personal challenges probably feels like they are running a marathon every single day. Clearly Charlotte wasn't just running The Boston Marathon for you that day, but for every person in the room! 

What a blessing great friends are! 

Speaking of blessings, is there a finer blessing than a Father's love?  Your Pops has been your number one devoted fan supporting you every step of your journey. And we are blessed to be out of the hospital to celebrate Father's Day with Pops at Brightwood.  
We sure are missing Austin though who is in route home from his backpacking trip to Nicaragua....Lucky thing that your friend Liz was able to stand in for Pool time and to help make sure that your noggin stayed dry! 

This next week will be devoted to catching up on rehearsals at APTB summer camp for the performances of "Encore" next weekend. Hope many of our friends are able to come and cheer for you and the incredible APTB cast! 

With love and prayers for Fathers everywhere today,

Mum & Team 44

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Post Op Update

PToliver and I are in post op with Forrest. With some pain medicine on board Forrest is more comfortable and Toliver, who was relieved to hear Forrest tell him everything is cool, is happy to be back on duty! 

Doctor Kumar ended up doing more than planned. Since the bone grafts looked healthy and strong, in addition to removing the problem plate, he removed two more small plates and some wire. He then added some allograft bone matrix to fill in between the bone struts that were placed last November.  All in all Dr K is happy with the results. If the pain is manageable and we avoid any complications, we are still hoping to break out tomorrow or Saturday! Forrest and Toliver are eager to get back to their pals at APTB Summer Camp! 

Many thanks for the love prayers and encouraging messages. 

Mum and Team 44

Back at Hopkins

Darlin Forrest,

We had such an extraordinary time in Hawaii. We are grateful that you were strong enough to make this trip and to even survive tumbling down a volcanic cinder mount! Unrelated to that tumble a small pesky titanium plate has started causing some trouble to your Noggin and has to come out. As I write this Tollie and I are waiting for you to come out of surgery. 

Dr. Kumar is optimistic that this will be a short procedure and without complications you should make it home tomorrow and be back with your friends at APTB camp on Saturday! 

I wish we could explain it to Toliver.  He has his very long face on and is always worried when he has to leave you in preop. 

Driving up to Hopkins yesterday you told me, "You know Mum, you can't always plan out everything that's going to happen to you in life.  What you can do is try hard every day to do the very best you can on every little step. And if you do that, the little steps eventually add up and everything works out!"

Well said Champ. I will take your advice not to worry about the Big Picture.  Instead I'll just try to do my best today on every little step. I hope as they are playing Bob Marley in surgery and you drop off to sleep... you are smiling and dreaming of our favorite Hawaiian moments.  

See ya on the other side. 

Thursday, June 2, 2016

We Made IT... to Hawaii and Home Again!

 Darlin' Forrest. We had scheduled our family trip to Hawaii to visit Dolphin Quest twice since your accident, last summer and last Christmas.  Both times we had to cancel for surgical interventions.  Third time was the charm! 

And one of the best parts was traveling to Hawaii with you're amazing Physical Therapist, Del, and his family! 

Toliver was intrigued, but at first a little intimidated, by the Dolphins. 

With your encouragement, support from our excellent Dolphin Quest behaviorists, and the benefit of target training he learned in agility class, Toliver gained the confidence to meet your namesake, Nahele face to face!

Nahele, which is Hawaiian for Forrest,  was named after you when he was born at Dolphin Quest 3 years ago. While you have Skyped with Nahele before, this was the first time you were able to meet in person! Rascals both of you, you seemed to hit it off immediately! 

After all the long months, years really, that Del has spent working with you, it was an incredible thrill to watch the two of you enjoy some playtime with Nahele's sister, Halia. 

There was time to play Frisbee with Austin and enjoy your favorite drink, the Lava Flow, in the pool.

And family time with the dolphins.

This trip was an enormous milestone for you and has been a major goal for our family since your accident 5 1/2 years ago.  The Dolphin Quest crew, some who have know you and Austin forever, were incredibly gracious and warm in their aloha welcome. 

There was only one mishap. Early in the trip we decided to explore the Pu'u huluhulu (shaggy hill in Hawaiian) a volcanic Cindercone. As reported, the path starts off smooth and wide and, as is your style, you charge out in front. Unfortunately, 100 feet up the trail, the wide avenue suddenly turns into a rocky narrow goat path. Just as I call out to Austin to move up in front to spot you, your left leg gives out.  In a heartbeat you stumble and fall off the path and down a steep ravine tumbling over the lava rock. Your left side may not be able to support you yet on the uneven ground, but your arms immediately flew up to protect your head as you roll away from us down the hill.  We charge down the hill after you but can't catch up.  Every parent's nightmare... To see your child in terrible danger and not be able to get to him.  Where I fail to protect you, your guardian angels step in, placing a large Mesquite Bush 20 feet down the hillside carefully positioned to intervene, stopping your descent abruptly while sparing your precious noggin. Somehow your head is spared though your arms and leg were badly scraped.  We gather around you, desperate to assess your mental and physical state. You are frustrated but alert, conversant and eager to get up. Getting you off the side of the Cindercone was challenging, but Austin leads you spider crawling back up to the path.  After getting you safely down to the car we clean your wounds, which are thankfully superficial, catch our collective breath, and count our new blessings.  Your repaired skull and your sense of humor are both miraculously still intact...enough exploring, once back at the resort, we decide to stay on level ground, with the dolphins, or in the pool! 

Mary and Austin Searching successfully for your phone on the side of Pu'u huluhulu, just above your rescue bush. 

No worse for the wear, "We will live to fight another day!" Austin 

Grateful for our time together in Hawaii, for your constant guardian Angels, and to be safely home again,

Team 44