Fellow Fans of Forrest,
After a long line to get through security at Baltimore Washington International Airport and a heated debate with TSA over whether or not lacrosse sticks should be allowed through security, I made it down to see Forrest on Sunday morning. The past few days have been great. Although Forrest has experienced a setback from his usual self, his courage and desire to win this battle is consistent with the competitive Forrest we all know.
After getting down here on Sunday morning I went over to Shepherd to see Dr. Stone, Austin and Forrest after he had some breakfast. Forrest cracked a smile for me when I saw him and we went down to the garden to catch some fresh air and stretch. We hung a poster from the U.S. Naval Academy Men's Lacrosse Team who learned of Forrest's recovery and sent me down with a poster signed by all the seniors to cheer him on. On Sunday's here at Shepherd, Dr. Stone and Austin are the active physical therapists, keeping Forrest working and limber for his regular week-day therapy sessions. I also got to meet Sundance, Forrest's therapy-certified dog, who I am convinced is Forrest's secret weapon for leaving Shepherd with a few nurses. We spent the rest of Sunday telling some Mercersburg stories and talking about all of Forrest's "bros," who I know are missing their leader but patient for his return in due time.
Yesterday was choc full of activities. Forrest's morning was busy with therapy, stretching, and some serious bro time (we watched lax!). Before lunch, Forrest stood up with me for a few minutes and he cracked another smile, probably because he realized he's grown another 3 inches since he last saw me. While he was getting some rest, I worked on putting together a Mercersburg poster for his wall. I found some great pictures of his crew from Mercersburg and left space open so that friends can mail him some of their favorite photos with him. Austin also worked with Forrest on his handshake and fist bump. I've been asking Forrest each day to give me a fist bump and each day it has been getting more powerful, a sign that he is just as pumped about his recovery as his family and friends are.
Staying in touch with friends is crucial to Forrest's recovery. Seeing friendly faces and hearing the voices of the people he has grown up with is both comforting and crucially important to him as he will soon be reconnecting with those friends and neighbors. While we go about our daily routines, it is important to remember that Forrest is working hard to regain his mobility and cognition, and providing our support for him reminds him that we will be there for him when he is ready. We were able to get Pete Flanagan, Forrest's roomate at Mercersburg on the phone last night and hearing a familiar voice was obviously comforting for him. As Mr. Hurley, a friend of Forrest and Team 44 said today, "we spend so much time thinking of ourselves every day that it is important to take time each day to think of others." That statement hit hard for me and it re-enforced the fact that Forrest's recovery can be actively helped everyday by his fans at home and at school who are proud of his progress and determination. His recovery is incredible, harnessing the desire to succeed in a tough circumstance is difficult for anyone, but Forrest does it with grit and consistency. I encourage friends, bros, and teammates alike to stay in touch with Forrest as much as possible during this time of the year when some of us are graduating, starting our summers, and beginning a new chapter in our lives. Because even though we are experiencing these transitions, our friendship, devotion, and love for Forrest is steadfast.