Thursday, June 20, 2013

Father's Day and BrightWood Happenings

     It was definitely the best Fathers Day in the last couple years for me!  The only thing missing was Austin, who was with us in spirit, while working hard in Hawaii.  We know he is proud of Forrest and thrilled with his daily progress. Forrest's firsts since his injury continue to amaze us all!  I'll try to tell you and put up pictures of most of them.
     He flew to New York via PALS, Patient Airlift Services, on a small plane that transported him to interview with CCI for a service dog. This was Forrest's first flight in almost 3 years!  It was a very hot day and it was long and tiring but worthwhile.  Thanks PALS, CCI and Nurse Gayle for making this trip possible.  We are happy to tell everyone he is on the waiting list for a dog, but it can be a year long process.
    We attended Whitney Weeden's graduation party and we got to see several of Forrest's friends and teachers and wish Whitney and family congratulations.  Nick took Forrest on a tour of the house they are moving out of and reminisced about the places where they got in trouble together.  Forrest appreciated the walk down memory lane and remembered lots of it.
     Forrest went to a movie, something we haven't been brave enough to do since the accident.  We started with Star Trek, since he and I and Austin are Star Trek fans and he enjoyed it immensely.  We attend with a nurse and friends so he walks or rolls his wheelchair into the ADA row and watches with his entourage.
     Forrest continues to practice and progress with his Lacrosse skills and since his buddies Shayna and Gio are hanging out working in the area and staying on the farm, he has been practicing LAX almost nightly.  He has also been playing chess recently with Gio and Ben  his summertime helper) and usually beats all comers.  He beat me regularly before the injury so I haven't tried again yet.  He and multiple friends also play pool often and at that he doesn't beat me so regularly, however his mother is the family pool shark.
     Many of Forrest's friends from Hill, Mercersburg and Highland have come by to visit and we look forward to seeing many more.  David, Gio and Ben have all been working with him on relearning his guitar skills and teaching him chords that he is picking up.  He continues to work with the great crowd and friends at A Place to Be and music therapy improving his voice and has been attending Music Theater camp and we watch video's of his work there nightly.
     He completed in-home schooling this spring with special education teacher Sharon and a team of supporting therapists from Fauquier Public Schools and passed the U.S. Government course!  He has worked so hard to accomplish this and is (sort of) looking forward to some summer school to prepare him for fall semester.   He plans to attend Kettle Run High school and finish his last two credits for high school graduation.
     Forrest continues daily to work hard with Tami on schoolwork and memory exercises and all his wonderful nurses work and watch over Forrest and make sure he is safe and gets his complex medications on schedule. Del continues to challenge and encourage him to expand his physical boundaries twice weekly with physical therapy. Forrest is making steady improvement on his balance, but we still watch him carefully to prevent possible falls.  He is chewing soft food and soups now and is able to have more than one half his food and water intake orally.  Again his nurses monitor this closely to prevent aspiration or choking.  Water still requires thickener but he is making progress on swallowing and speaking, which are major milestones from where we were six months ago.
     His mother and I are thankful for Forrest and his joyful spirit, his amazing brother Austin who continues to inspire and motivate Forrest, all his many friends and helpers, the prayers that so many have offered and the generous community in which we live. Miracles like Forrest can happen, with such a supporting team, hard work and if you have an unstoppable work ethic like Forrest's.

Thank you Forrest and Austin for making every Fathers Day special for me,

Forrest with the CCI Executive Director and CCI dogs Fenway and Captain Kirk
Mum waving during takeoff
Forrest's fabulous PALS pilots and new friends, Al and JJ
At the movies with Liza, Shayna and Gio
"Fathoms Below!" - Rehearsing a sailor scene during APTB's summer theater camp production of "The Little Mermaid"

Forrest and his fantastic Fauquier School staff! 
Enjoying dinner with Peter, Shayna and Gio

 Here are a few YouTube videos of Forrest's adventures:

If you are interested in seeing the amazing APTB Summer Camp show "The Little Mermaid", check out the info on the poster below: 


  1. What a great Father's Day. Glad all continues to move upward...AMAZING stuff you can do now Forrest. The video of the lacrosse passing is super cool. That is hard to do!! But not for you! And so great that you can eat stuff some now. I know that must be fun for everyone! Grandma Norma and I sat here in Missouri together and celebrated all the accomplishments from this blog. Certainly made our evening great!

  2. My, what an informative blog Kent--you done good!

    I am so glad that things continue to go so well for you, Forrest, and that you always keep your happy outlook on life. That's not an easy thing to do with everything you've been through. I'm afraid I might be quite a grump at times if I had gone through everything you have.

    As always, I love the pictures and videos. The one where you are rehearsing for The Little Mermaid is especially good. That grin on your face makes me think you were thinking of doing something VERY ornery!! The picture of your dinner outside with your friends is really good, too.

    I continue to think of you daily, and I'm continuing to send prayers your way. A lot of times during a day, I'll stop and think, "I wonder what Forrest is doing right now?"

    Love, Joyce and Wilbur from Missouri

  3. Thank you, Rae and Kent, for the last two informative posts. Everyone we know here in CA and in Alaska ask about Forrest frequently and it's nice to be able to give current updates.

    The news about the plane trip and registering for an assist dog are both very exciting steps. Forrest is making such rapid progress on so many fronts and we are cheering his accomplishments every day.

    Hugs to everyone. We're looking forward to seeing Rae in a couple of days.

    Diane and Jay

  4. Wow...such incredible progress. Wonderful news -- all of it!
    My hat is off to everyone, from Forrest to his incredible family, to all of the wonderful support folks and friends that rally on!

  5. Very impressive LaCrosse video Forrest. Well done!!!

    Christie Jones

  6. Hey Forrest, I've found another video that you will probably enjoy. See it at:

    Just thinking of you. Joyce Ellis