In addition to Forrest's progress, we have two exciting Team 44 announcements: First, Austin has accepted an internship with a consulting company in DC and will be starting work tomorrow. As you all know, Austin has given himself with unparalleled grace and devotion to his brother's recovery. He has also provided a rock solid base of emotional support for me through many dark days. Austin is the first and most exuberant to celebrate each and every milestone Forrest reaches. And in perfect Austin style, he would only accept this position if the schedule allowed him to continue to be closely involved in Forrest's journey home. We couldn't be more proud or excited for Austin as he begins his own journey!
Speaking of journeys...it would be a great help, if anyone has a spare road bicycle Austin could use for a few months to commute to work!
Secondly, we have been blessed with a new addition to our Team. Maylin Coggiano has been helping us out part time and has agreed to join our Team Full Time now! She is a pure delight and brings a wealth of talent and positive energy to our world. She has been helping us with lots of logistics... like remembering to eat and giving us precious time together away from the hospital. She is beginning now to work with Forrest and already he is responding to her enthusiasm. As she shares a bit about her time with Forrest below, you will get a sense of what a remarkable young woman Maylin is.
With a grateful heart,
Austin & Forrest's Mum
You know the feeling that comes over you when you realize you are exactly where you're supposed to be in the world? Well, that's what I'm feeling right now. As a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina with my degree in Elementary Education, I finally feel like I found where I'm supposed to be!
All my life I knew I wanted to be a teacher, and in the past several years I narrowed it down to working in a critical needs school. I made it through a rigorous seven month application process with DC Public Schools and was convinced I knew more than the world about where I should be. But, just like life likes to do, it redirected me right to Forrest!
In the beginning of August, I traveled up to Washington, DC with a self-mandated two week deadline to find my nitch. If I was still confused at the end of those two weeks, I would journey back to South Carolina and re-evaluate my life in the dramatic way only a twenty-two year old can. I wasn't even in town for six hours before a friend of a friend of Team 44 (Yeah Shannon Davis!!!) passed my name along the chain! How crazy is that!? After a couple days of pre-screening/screening to make sure I wasn't a complete nut and an interview where I was introduced to Team 44's whole story and who they were looking for, I was welcomed onto the Team with open arms! Monday only marked the beginning of my third week on the Team, but I can't even remember life without them!
I've been hearing and reading hundreds of stories about Forrest's sense of humor, passion for fun, kind spirit, and unparalleled strength, but the one thing that really shines through is everyone's face when telling these stories! You can really tell a lot about a person by the company they keep, and from what I've gathered from meeting Forrest's friends and family, he's one remarkable guy! Forrest is extremely lucky and blessed to have such amazing people on his side, but I also think it has to do with the kind of person he is. To see the love and admiration in everyone's eyes is a true testament to Forrest's extraordinary character.
Tuesday was one of those days Team 44 will be able to look back on and smile. Forrest rocked it! From a stellar OT session where Forrest tracked himself while holding the mirror WHILE rotating his mid-section, to an amazing PT session that included standing up three times (with a little help from a machine and some expert physical therapists). He held his head straight up and high all by himself! He towered over everyone, including his good friend, Nick (who worked like a natural PT with Forrest)! We even got to go outside and enjoy the beautiful DC weather and gorgeous garden here!
As if all that wasn't enough, Forrest and Team 44 had some amazing visitors! He had an awesome visit from his best friend since kindergarten, Nick Weeden, that put a smile on everyone's face! Nick told hilarious stories of trips with Forrest, fun sleepovers, awesome birthday parties, and just all around great times. We even recorded Nick's stories so Forrest can watch them whenever he wants! Like all that wasn't enough to send Team 44 to Cloud Nine, we got a surprise visit from the wonderful Mr. Bowers from Hill School. Even Nick was surprised! Along with his contagious smile and treasured Chicken Soup for the Soul book, Mr. Bowers brought tremendous words of inspiration for Forrest. His visit officially put the cherry on top of an amazing day! Forrest worked hard and reminded us what we were really working for and our visitors brought bright smiles and good vibes to freshen our spirits!
|Maylin helping with Forrest's OT session.|
|Mr. Bower and Nick with Forrest.|