Monday, January 26, 2015

Great Friends Make All the Difference!

Nothing brightens up a cold winter day like time spent with great friends! 

Shayna & Gio chillin with us at Salamander Resort!

A real close game of pool 

Sunday Brunch at IHOP

Great friends learning Agility together at A Click Above in Leesburg

A rousing round of Gingerale Pong PT with Colson & Griffin wraps up a great week end!

A day spent with friends is always a day well spent!

With grateful hearts for all our cherished friends,

Team Forrest

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Four Years and Building


How do you do it Forrest? Tomorrow it will be four years since your accident. In an instant, for you and those who know and love you, the whole world changed. You and your journey have challenged each of us to look deep inside our own private spaces. To find what really matters the most, to let some things go and to hold others more dearly, to treasure each moment we are given, to count our blessings daily.

Through countless setbacks and challenges, through the painful lonely stretches, your unsinkable character and unfailing optimism were tested and stretched beyond imagination.  And still today four years later...you shine on.

We have a new surgery date now, March 10th.  So we have eight weeks from today until the next surgery, to continue to support your efforts and encourage you to get stronger each day. But in many ways it is you who supports and encourages us; to be our best selves, to cherish each day, each family member, each friend, each small daily miracle that makes up a life well lived.  

Thank you Forrest for this gift. With a grateful heart for Kent, Austin, Tami, Toliver, and each friend, extended family member, doctor, nurse, therapist, care giver, sounding board, prayer warrior and believer for making the last four years not just possible, but truly extraordinary in every way. 

God Bless,
Mum

Click on the following link for a special message from Forrest - Happy New Year Video

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Gesundheit!

The common cold virus along with a fever and sore throat have derailed next week's carefully constructed surgical plan. We tried so hard to avoid this.   The good news is that Forrest is strong now and the risk of it progressing to pneumonia is much less than it would have been a year ago.  But in discussions today with his primary surgeon we agreed that it isn't safe for him to undergo anesthesia and a major surgery, so we will regroup and reschedule when Forrest is in the best shape possible. The likelihood is that it may be March before both surgical teams can be rescheduled.  Forrest was ready to get on with it so his first reaction to this decision was, "This Sucks!"  But we realize it's better to wait and go into this critical surgery with Forrest in the best shape possible. 

In the meantime Forrest is enjoying visits from friends home from school and his Pops home cooking. 

Wishing you all Love, Laughter, Health, and Happiness in the New Year!

Mum 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

When You Choose Hope, Anything Is Possible

Looking at the pictures below and thinking about the emergency surgeries a year ago, it's clear anything is possible... when you choose hope. It doesn't mean success is inevitable or even likely, but when you choose hope, and combine it with dogged strength, the amazing support of great friends and family, and a healthy dash of luck, anything is possible. 

Forrest blew us all away during this trip to Playa del Carmen. Even tasks like climbing onto a boat moving up-and-down and side-to-side in the surge were unbelievably challenging, but with the Lees watching every step, and with Forrest's characteristic persistence, he surpassed all expectations. Forrest snorkeled for the first time in over four years, and was just as comfortable underwater as he was when he and I crawled into lava tubes 50 feet underwater in Hawaii. Toliver made great strides with helping open doorways for future service dogs in Mexico. The laws protecting the rights of people with service dogs in Mexico are new (2012) and are lesser known. We did find very helpful and accommodating resort and restaurant managers and hopefully the transition will be easier for future service dogs. It was an amazing, magical trip with the Lees, and Forrest summed it up as "Sweet."

Now to continue getting Forrest strong and prepared for the surgery at Johns Hopkins in two weeks! 

-Austin

  Last Year Christmas Day in the ICU
                                                                                 This Year Christmas Day - boat snorkel in Mexico!

Testing out masks in the pool

Success! 
Forrest and I exploring the reef!

Our overly friendly snorkel companion

Night out on the town!




Forrest and Madison starting a street band

Thursday, December 18, 2014

December 18th, 2014

It's been a great December. It's amazing to see how well Forrest is coming along, getting stronger and working hard, with his amazing community of friends and support team beside him. Forrest passed his midterm for his first college course, American History, as a result of lots of studying with Tami. He's been busy with a plethora of activities, as seen below.

This time last year Forrest was in the hospital getting ready for emergency surgery on Christmas day, so we are definitely cherishing every moment of this holiday season. Forrest is getting stronger, and as he gets ready for early January, which will bring the first of two complicated cranioplasty surgeries, we are thankful for this wonderful community, along with Forrest's strength, love, and indomitable sense of humor. We hope everyone has a terrific holiday season with friends and family.

Love,
Austin, Forrest, Mom and Dad

Forrest sang his heart out at A Place To Be Christmas recital, along with other amazing APTB kids, in front of a crowd of more than 300

Many friends surprised Forrest for his 22nd Birthday on Monday!

Forrest on an exciting Walmart trip picking out a bow-and-arrow for a gift exchange. Forrest, how did we ever get Mom to approve that?

Getting ready for the Middleburg Christmas Ball

Forrest and Tori showing off dance moves at the Ball

Forrest and many others braved the pouring rain to march with Canine Companions for Independence in the Middleburg Christmas Parade
*Rocky theme music* PT with Del




Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving greetings from snowy BrightWood!
Hello friends and Happy Thanksgiving from Team 44!  We have so many things to be thankful for this year...here are just a few! Our amazing family and friends that bless us with unending love and encouragement; the many doctors, nurses, teachers and therapists that have spent countless hours helping Forrest on his journey;  A Place to Be and the Same Sky Project for giving Forrest a chance to share his story; the opportunity to travel to Bermuda as a family; Forrest graduating from high school and starting college (and Austin starting Grad school!); and of course, the light of hope and belief in Forrest from each of you, his steadfast supporters.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving and move into the ever-busy Christmas season, we would like to invite you to a very special event.  Next Friday evening, December 5th, individuals from A Place to Be (including Forrest) will be performing in a Holiday Recital.  It begins at 6:30pm at the Salamander Resort and Spa in Middleburg.  Please come for a night of inspiration and holiday joy!

Wishing all of you a safe and blessed Thanksgiving,
Team 44
Austin is home!  These 3 furry faces showed their support for cancer awareness by participating in
"No-Shave November".
Learn more here: http://www.no-shave.org

We would love to hear what you are thankful for this year!  :-) 


Friday, November 14, 2014

Back to Work

Someone told us early on that "recovery is not for the faint of heart". 

It's clear Forrest that, as one of your followers recently wrote to you, "You have the heart of a warrior!"

Two weeks out from your last surgery and we are already on countdown to your next .... eight weeks and four days from today.  And you are hard at work to sharpen your mind, strengthen your body, improve your voice and regain your balance.  


Pilates is both fun and challenging with Kay and Toliver on guard.



NOVA offered you a medical exemption to withdraw from your online history course, but you refuse to quit. So you and Tami double your efforts to catch up and prepare for your mid term exam.  


At PT, your pal Del has to tell you enough after you complete three more reps than he asks for!



Your friend Derek stays close to catch you if you loose your balance playing pool, but that doesn't stop you both from enjoying a seriously close match! 

Onward and upward, Champ.  Your courage, sense of humor, and your unwavering friends will carry you on wherever the road leads! 

Blessed to be on Team Forrest,
Mum