Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pop Rocks Camp and Concert

This week Forrest has been participating in "Pop Rocks" camp through A Place to Be.  The campers are learning seven songs throughout the week and they get to play various instruments as well as sing and learn dance choreography.  There are also group discussions, art, yoga and other activities that are offered every day.  Along with a group of mentors and staff from APTB, the camp participants will be putting on a concert this Friday afternoon at the Hill School in Middleburg.  The concert is at 2:30 and costs $5 at the door.  Please come if you are able and spread the word! 

Forrest learning cup rhythm and choreography to one of the camp songs
44 and Michael practicing
Forrest helping to teach other campers the chords to "Wild Thing"

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

An Amazing Week

You Danced! On stage at Hill School in the musical production, Best Friend. No wheel chair, No gait belt, No limp, No spotter. You strode onto stage with confidence and joy.  You danced with a new friend, a beautiful ballerina, Liz.  You both literally took my breath away.  Liz told me later that when she did the "dip" leaning backwards with her back arched, that she placed her weight entirely in your arms.  And you held her, balancing your self and your partner with panache and charm.  A feat none of us could have imagined not so long ago. 

With only nine rehearsals, forty A Place To Be campers and their mentors overcame their own individual challenges and came together as a cohesive, creative, and talented troop of performers. Through camaraderie, compassion, and hard work your group demonstrated that truly...Anything is Possible. The two week A Place To Be camp experience provided you with a transformative experience, allowing you to stretch your boundaries in a safe and empowering environment.  But it wasn't just you and the campers who were transformed.  Everyone in the audience was touched, transformed, through the courage and accomplishment of each performer.  

With a grateful heart,

The other big part of the week was that we reached and surpassed the Kickstarter goal for the documentary!!!  Here is a message from the film producer, Wendy Thompson and director, Susan Koch:  "We are quite grateful for all your support.  We could not have such great success without you.  Our final Kickstarter number is $75,536.  When we launched this campaign, Susan and I were filled with trepidation of reaching our $65,000 goal.  Today we are filled with amazement of what has been accomplished.  Because of your support, encouragement and dedication, we can all now proudly say WE DID IT!!!"

Thank you to all who came to see "Best Friend" and for those that helped support and promote the Kickstarter for "High Notes".

- Team 44

Forrest and his dance partner, Liz

Cast curtain call for "Best Friend"

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Message from Forrest

Hello everyone.  This is Forrest.  I want to thank all of you who have donated to the Kickstarter for the documentary.  We passed our initial goal, however, please continue spreading the word and encouraging donations because they still need funds to complete the project.  The link is on the side of the blog.

I am a part of A Place to Be summer camp and we are preparing a show that Mr. Sweitzer wrote called "Best Friend".  It is about a boy who loses his best friend and finds a new best friend in a dog.  I really like the story because of my relationship with Toliver.  The performances are this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Friday is at 7pm, Sunday is at 3pm and tickets are $10 at the door.  Below is the information from A Place to Be about Saturday's show.

Saturday, June 28th, A Place To Be will host it's second annual Benefit Gala!
This amazing night will include the following: 
Saturday, June 28th 2014
5:30 – Cocktails 
6:00 – 6:45 - Heavy Hor d’Oeuvres 
7:00: A Special One-Night-Only PRE-SHOW! 
7:45 – BEST FRIEND Performance 
9:00 – 9:30 – Dessert Reception
We only have 50 seats left.  Each seat is $150 and includes everything above. A Place To Be is a non-profit so a portion of your ticket price is tax deductible.   
Email for tickets
We have been working really hard on this show and I hope you all can see it.  If you can, I recommend the special performance and benefit on Saturday night.  Hope to see you there.
Peace -  44 (aka Forrest)

Friday, June 20, 2014

11 More Days for Kickstarter

Our family trip to Bermuda was incredible in every way. No complications, no doctors, no scalp breakdown, no emergency hospital trips!  Most importantly, we proved to ourselves that there are still lots of amazing adventures ahead for Forrest!

Forrest is already immersed in two more fantastic projects.  First: He is practicing every day for his part (he is playing a star, as in celestial being) in the heartwarming musical production, "Best Friend " written by Tom Sweitzer and featuring A Place To Be actors. Don't miss the magic 6/27, 6/28, 6/29 at The Hill School. Visit for details.

Second: Forrest is fundraising for the documentary film HIGH NOTES. He is donating all of the $775 in cash gifts he received for graduation to the Kickstarter Campaign. There are only 11 days left to make the goal of $65,000. If the film does not reach this amount, they will not receive ANY of the pledges. Please encourage your friends and family to click on the link on the right side bar and support this amazing story of hope, healing, and courage. 

With love,

Team 44

Forrest using Austin's Paypal account to donate his graduation money to "High Notes"!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Dolphin Time 6/13/14

Dear Dolphin Quest,

There has always been something magical, joyous, uplifting about getting in the water and connecting with our dolphins. When we helped Forrest lower his long lanky frame down onto the interactive platform at Dolphin Quest Bermuda, it was as if we slipped back in time.  Reliving summers spent with dolphins, before our world was forever changed, to a carefree, playful, innocence.  

There were many months when we wondered if this moment would ever happen. But Forrest showed us anything is possible and  here we are laughing, playing reconnecting...soaking in the dolphin magic. 

Our lives have been blessed and revitalized by our time here.  Austin and Forrest have grown up in the Dolphin Quest Community and the DQ Crew embraced Forrest and our journey in countless ways, encouraging and supporting us with love and faith. To spend time at Dolphin Quest again, together as a family was a rallying goal and vision that carried us through hard times. 

And as though just being here wasn't incredible enough, Tom and Forrest celebrated by "playing the drums" on the dock making music together that the dolphins kept time with!  Life couldn't be sweeter. 

Blessed to be at Dolphin Quest,
Team Forrest 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bermuda! - Update 6/10/2014

For three years we have dreamed of getting Forrest back in the water with dolphins.   This week, that dream will become reality.  To celebrate his graduation and other accomplishments, Forrest and team have journeyed to Bermuda to enjoy a week of sun, sand and dolphin time!  Yesterday we went to the most gorgeous beaches. Tom, Austin and Forrest enjoyed some frisbee and Toliver, the only dog allowed in the nature preserve or on the beach, splashed and ran with Austin in the waves.   Forrest walked further than he has since his accident! At one point he and Toliver headed off alone to the opposite end of the beach where it ended in a staggeringly beautiful cliff.  So many months we dreamed of this day.  As we watched, suddenly at the same time we all thought, knowing Forrest, OH NO, Is he going to try to climb the  cliff ??? But as he neared the end of the beach, he slowly reached out his hand touched the cliff wall and turned back with Toliver at his side, and slowly but steadily started making his way back to us.  

Thank you all for helping make this week possible and for your belief and support in Forrest.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Graduation!!! 6/6/14

Yesterday at 6:00 pm Forrest and 263 other young men and women graduated from Kettle Run High School.  This was such an amazing milestone filled with overwhelming joy.  

Forrest and his faithful companion Toliver lead the graduates onto the track. We had a section in the stands filled with Team 44 members. We even came equipped with 2 banners, which Forrest noticed instantly and shared a smile! Forrest and Toliver were second in line to make their way across the stage, the stadium cheered in excitement.  As Forrest accepted his diploma from Principal Major Warner he recalls thinking “ I can’t believe this is happening!”  

Following the Graduation Team 44 members stormed the field to find Forrest & Toliver. Forrest’s mom was first to congratulate Forrest on his accomplishment. His proud mum shared with joy, “Forrest no more classes! You’re done with school!” Forrest shook his head no & said,  “Mom I still have college!”  Forrest you truly are a champion! We are so proud of your accomplishments! Onward & Upward!