Why Don't You Just Go Climb a Rock?!

Pretty nifty title, huh? Just kidding.
At one time I enjoyed rock climbing.  I wasn't really any good at it.  In reality, I never climbed a REAL rock but just enjoyed the rock climbing gyms.  It was so much fun!  I dated two different guys who were into rock climbing and I would enjoy the climbs.  I really wanted to go climb a real rock but this was, of course, after Emma's injury that I met these guys at different points in my life, so that meant I couldn't really travel to any of the spots to climb and she couldn't come with me because she just couldn't climb. Yesterday, we attended our KEEN Phoenix session at the Virginia G Piper Sports Center for the Disabled (Official Paralympic Training Center! AWESOME!) and Emma got to go climb the rock wall!  Okay.  She didn't really climb it, she took one step and was done.  Ha ha.  A for effort, Emma.  I don't care that she did not scale the wall but I am just proud she TRIED! It made me really want to throw on the gear and get to climbing and belaying back down.  I was amazed at a little girl who climbed.  She is in a wheelchair and she was like Spider Girl climbing up the rock wall! It really, really, really brings home how much I take advantage of the fact that I am able bodied. I bring up, quite often, just how amazed and inspired I am when I see somebody who has a differently-abled body get up and do something.  I watch people who are amputees climb a rock wall, tetraplegics compete in wheelchair rugby, paraplegics compete in wheelchair basketball, amputees fencing, on and on and on.  There are NO excuses to not get up and do SOMETHING.  No excuses AT ALL.

This brings me to another point.  Recreation Therapy.  People have this convoluted idea that this is just "play therapy" but that is so wrong.  Recreational therapy creates the scenarios I described above.  Physical, Speech and occupational therapy help bring regain function- to walk, to eat, to jump, etc. whereas recreational therapy brings back the joy and purpose in a person's life.  All therapies are important.  100% important but recreational and music therapy are so undervalued.  These therapists mix the PT, OT and Speech goals into their domain.  They get people playing baseball, soccer, dancing, singing, and enjoying life.

My friend started a petition for the state of Arizona.  We need your help.  Please go HERE to sign this petition.  From Alicia's petition:
Recreational therapy is a vital healthcare service that helps individuals with illnesses and disabilities live healthy, fulfilling, meaningful lives through participation in play, recreation, leisure, and community activities.
Recreational Therapists…
• Teach people with and without disabilities, about the importance of leading a healthy leisure lifestyle to prevent disease, illness, and further health conditions. And, help them to modify their leisure lifestyle to achieve maximum health benefits & quality of life.
• Help people develop the skills they need to participate in play, recreation, leisure, and community activities (e.g., social, physical, and cognitive skills).
• Adapt toys and other recreation equipment/activities so people with disabilities can participate.
• Provide activities to help keep people healthy and improve their skills.
• And much more!

Please join us in asking the State of Arizona to INCLUDE RECREATIONAL THERAPY in the EHBP! Even if you don’t need Recreational Therapy services now, you or your loved one might need it in the future. Think ahead. Advocate for “essential” healthcare services NOW, before it is too late!

I agree with her.   Isn't prevention key? I think so. So should you.

There are volunteer groups who get out here and give back to the community.  They come out on their own free time.  They give up their Saturday or Sunday free time to come play and help out people who are in need of this joy that they bring.  KEEN Phoenix is one of these groups.  This is a group full of wonderful people who do just what I said above- they come out and give up their time to give back to the community.  These are the people we remember.  This entire group is dedicated to their non profit, they give themselves to a good cause and I love that they do this. They give me a break while Emma just gets to have FUN! The boy who was Emma's coach on Saturday told me that Emma cheered him up when he needed it the most- he was in an accident the day prior (no serious damage or injuries, thankfully!) and it really shook him up and stressed him out but coming out and playing with Emma and the other special needs kids really helped him out! That made my day.  He was such a sweet kid and it made my day that while he was helping Emma, he was being helped out, too!  If you are in the Phoenix Area, PLEASE- check out KEEN.  They need  more coaches and athletes! Go to their website (hyperlinked above) and find out more!

This is how I feel right now

I know, I know- I am continuously beating a dead horse but as a single mom, I don't get the chance sometimes to just stop and smell the roses and Saturday I did.  I got to relax and enjoy the time we had this weekend. I am finally finished (for now) with school.  I am sure, as I tend to over commit myself, will take on more educational opportunities but I think, right now, I want to focus on my building my business and giving back to the community.

I have had to slow down on my advocacy activities due to needing to focus on what is important: Emma, Work and School.  Now that one thing is off that to-do list, I can put my focus and energy back to what is also important to me: Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention.  I also am working on building a nationwide network where we are an army of families who have been through this awful event and want to mentor others who are in this journey.  There is NOTHING more healing than helping somebody else survive what you have survived yourself.  I will get back in contact with my contacts at Phoenix Children's Hospital, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and the Shaken Baby Syndrome Prevention groups and get the ball rolling again.

I am so excited to be able to start working on my product line! Sssshhhh it's still a secret! I will update you soon!

Much love!

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