Monday, June 5, 2017

A Month of Adventures (with a lot of pictures!)

Hi everyone!  This is Forrest.  It has been a little over a month since we last updated and I have a lot to fill you in on!

Speaking to the crowd at Berklee after showing the movie
On May 10th, Mom and Dad rolled out to the Galapagos and Toliver, Tami and I went to Boston.  My Music Therapist Tom was graduating from Berklee College of Music with a Masters in Music Therapy that week.  We weren't able to go to his graduation, but we went for a special premiere of the documentary movie that Tom and I are in.  We showed the film to a group of his music therapy peers and classmates.  They thought it was very good and liked seeing how Music Therapy affected my situation.

Mini Golf at the Mall of America
The next day, Tami, Toliver and I flew to Minnesota.  We went to Minnesota to see Tami's family.  This was my first long trip away without either of my parents.  While in Minnesota, we went to the Mall of America, the Minnesota Zoo and a Minnesota Twins baseball game.  It was a great trip.  One highlight was Toliver at the zoo.  He was well behaved and when we saw the wolves, they put their front paws on the glass and seemed to recognize that Tollie is a canine.  They were whining and wagging their tails like they wanted to play.  Toliver was also the first dog ever in their new kangaroo walk-through exhibit!
With some of Tami's family at the zoo

At the Minnesota Twins Game!

Wolf saying "hi" to Toliver!

After we all returned from our adventures, I went with Mom and Dad to visit a friend named Lee Lee.  Lee Lee has a Traumatic Brain Injury as well and is recovering at Bryn Mawr rehab in Pennsylvania.  She is making tremendous progress since her accident in December!

With Lee Lee
This last weekend, Tom and I went to the Kennedy Center and spoke in front of a whole bunch of people about how music was a part of my recovery.  We showed a segment from the documentary and then spoke for a bit.  This was part of a big event on Friday and Saturday that was called "Sound Health: Music and the Mind" and it talked about the brain and it's connection to music.  It was a partnership between the National Institute of Health and the Kennedy Center.  I got to meet a lot of really cool and important people like - Musician Ben Folds, Musician Renee Fleming, and Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the NIH.  Here is a YouTube link to the panel that Tom and I were a part of on Saturday.  Our part begins around minute 11!

With amazing singer, Renee Fleming!
Renee has seen "Music Got Me Here" and she really liked it!

Windy, squished group pic before the Friday night NSO Concert
With Tom and Ben Folds!

Shayna and Gio (not pictured) came for dinner and the Symphony on Friday and Corina and Madeline came to the see my panel on Saturday at the Kennedy Center!

And...speaking of the documentary, we have a new title!  Most of you know it as "High Notes", but it is now "Music Got Me Here".  Here is our first official poster!  We will share the new website link soon!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Another Big Moment (and other updates)


Thursday, April 27th was yet another milestone in your journey.  The stomach tube that has been your constant companion for the length of your recovery was finally removed!  Dr. Falkenstein performed the much anticipated procedure and you have been excitedly telling friends and showing off your now tube-free abdomen.  The tube has been a bit of a security blanket for us, knowing that we could rely upon it to administer medications and supplement your nutrition or fluids when necessary, but you have worked really hard the past few months to eat well, stay hydrated and take all of your medications orally so that you could reach this momentous occasion.  

Last week you did some research to find a eco-friendly way to dispose of your expired medications from previous years.  You independently printed off details of two options and showed them to Mum.  Luckily, there was a collection day on Saturday in Loudoun county, and you handed over the meds to Lieutenant Prince at the PD in Middleburg! They bring the medications to the DEA where they are incinerated, avoiding making their way into our waterways.  

Today is an important day for A Place to Be, the organization that has done so much to help your recovery through therapy, music and friendships.  It is "Give Choose", which is a day for people to donate to local non-profits.  You have been busy over the last week to promote this and encourage people to donate.  It isn't too late to give today!  Here is the link for any blog followers that would like to contribute to this great cause!

You have an exciting couple of weeks coming up and we look forward to sharing stories of your adventures here on the blog.

Proud and blessed to be part of Team 44,

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Boston Marathon Milestone!

Darlin' Forrest,

There are some milestones along your journey that simply take my breath away.  April 17, 2017 will always be remembered as one of those Magical Milestones. For the first time in over six years you set out on a road trip with a Mama Bear, no aide, no nurse hovering over you.  Of course it wasn't just any friend you set off with.  Ben has been at your side and involved off and on in your recovery for over three years.  He knows your strengths, your challenges, the potential pitfalls and the medications you cannot miss. He is the perfect Wing Man for such an adventure. With Tami's incredible organizational skills, you were deployed with everything you, Ben and Toliver might possibly need.  

So off you went on Sunday to Boston to cheer Charlotte on in her quest to complete the Boston Marathon for the third time, raising over $22,000 for the Boston Medical Center which the Davis family matched for A Place to Be in your honor!!!  You just had to be there for her...and you were!  Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude for Charlotte's courage, perseverance and friendship and to the whole Davis Clan for their generosity and for welcoming you, Ben and Toliver into their tribe's loving embrace for the entire event. 

Thanks to Nick Weeden for his faithful friendship over the long course of your recovery and for opening his home to our road weary warriors upon arriving in Boston. Many thanks to Ben for making the whole adventure possible and for long hours behind the wheel, apparently brightened with loads of boisterous song and merriment!  Thank you to all who donated to Charlotte's amazing run. And as always our thanks to countless friends, extended families, doctors, nurses, therapists, prayer warriors and believers that have stood by your side through the good and bad days, always encouraging us and helping us hold on to the impossible vision that such an adventure just might be possible...some day!

And of course, thank you Forrest for your crazy optimism, contagious sense of humor, dauntless determination, and endless hard work making my wildest dreams for you come true.  I can hardly wait to see what comes next....

Love you, Champ!

Forrest and Ben depart BrightWood!
Forrest with Nick - longtime friend and
 weekend host
With the Davis clan (minus Shannon, who was behind the camera)
heading to cheer on Charlotte on Monday morning
Finish line hugs!

Charlotte, 44, Meg and Win

Forrest, Toliver and Ben with Charlotte's sisters Meg and Kara.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Boston Marathon Match Monday

As many of you know, my friend Charlotte Davis has run the Boston Marathon the past two years in my honor.  She has decided to run a third (and final time) this year!!!  Her goal is to raise $20,000 on behalf of the Boston Medical Center, and whatever she raises will be matched by her amazing family and donated to the "Forrest Allen Financial Aid Fund" at A Place to Be.  This fund helps to make sure that families in need can receive the blessing of music therapy just like I did!  We are planning a trip so that I can be in Boston on marathon day to cheer Charlotte on and greet her at the finish line. Today is "Match Monday", which means that any donation given on Charlotte's page today will be doubled!  Please consider giving.  Here is the link:

Thank you all for supporting this great cause!

With thanks,

Monday, January 23, 2017

Six Years Out and Still Growing

Life is Flying By Now Forrest.  January 14th was the sixth anniversary of your accident.  It always gives me pause.  That catastrophic day could have gone so many different ways. But there were angels there on the slopes with you.  They wrapped their protective arms around you and set you on your new path.  This path turned into a most challenging, and yet remarkable, odyssey filled with unimaginable obstacles.  You encountered periods of dizzying heights alternating with stretches of endlessly gaping and bottomless black holes.  But through it all, you not only persevered, you have grown...learning how to spread your long wings and soar above all of the hurdles. What a ride you have taken us all on.  I have learned so much along the way; patience (some),  the power of faith and hope, the joy of true friends, the daily miracles of recovery, the importance of laughter and resiliency, the real meaning of unconditional love. Thank you Forrest for having the courage and tenacity to face each day with humor and resolve.  Now with your big feet planted on solid ground you are able to offer a smile and a lend hand to those just beginning their own journey of recovery.

So perhaps this blog has served its purpose, chronicling many of the ups and downs of Forrest's journey.  In sharing our story with those who follow, our goal is to shine the light of hope on their path.  We have learned that no matter how bleak the situation might be, as long as you have hope, anything is truly possible.

So many wonderful things have happened since our last post.  Here are some of the highlights that Forrest wrote the captions for:

Great to see Mita at the Middleburg Parade!
She was my Nanny when I was a little mite!
And the visit from aunt Tricia was great as well!
She marched with Toliver and me in the CCI group

For my Birthday we went to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
It was AWESOME!!!

It was freezing the day we picked up our tree but we had a Very Merry Christmas with Austin home from Duke.
Our Dogs "attacking" my brother Austin. Yay!!

Myself along with the Family and Grandma Norma
Stretching with Austin.  Toliver doing 'Downward Dog'

Feels like being a celebrity to perform at Bella's Bat mitzvah in Virginia Beach 
It makes me feel better to have Toliver around before surgery.  I got my IVC filter removed!

AT HOME WITH MY FAMILY for Christmas, feeling good and Happy!

We have been so very grateful for everyone's support through the Blog over these challenging years.  The Blog  has been a powerful way to share our journey and your feedback and encouragement have meant the world to us.  Now that life is stable and good,  we will try to update the Blog at least monthly in order to share our many blessings with you.  We have learned  how important a spirit of Daily Gratitude is and we have much to be Grateful for.

May God Bless each of you in this New Year with Love, Light Joy & Health,