Sunday, March 27, 2011

Hail to My Little Victor!

My what a difference a month makes.  You remember weeks ago how frustrated I was about Austin's progress or lack thereof.  Well soon after that rough post he really turned a corner.  Up until today we hadn't had any tears or need for breaks during hockey the past couple weeks.  Today he skated as best he ever has however, I think a late night at Grandpa's made for a very tired and emotionally tested Austin.  He'd fall and cry, he complained often that his feet hurt, it was just a rough go.  But check out the video and be amazed at how well he is skating!  And you can also see him score a goal today. Crazy good day!

After the practice a few of the players went over to the U of M field house where Dance Marathon was taking place. This is where Coach Jackie received the grant to start the hockey program. It was a very neat experience and nothing like I imagined. These kids are out there for 30 straight hours, have no idea what time it is, and dancing in a carnival atmosphere all to raise money for kids with physical disabilities. They would also pay tribute to some kids they had helped and had testimonies and such. One teenager was playing the drums along to Eminem's Lose Yourself. The gist of his story was he was hit by a babysitter in the chest at 4 months old and his heart had stopped for 28 minutes. He had severe cerebral palsy and talked very slowly but was able to beat that drum and cymbal with his rigid arms. It was so incredibly sad yet inspiring and it brings tears to my eyes thinking about it again.

And look who we got to meet?? Ashley freaked right out. She was terrified so we didn't try to track down anymore characters though we really would have liked a picture with the U of M Storm Trooper and a Sand Monster.

I'm glad we got to see what the Dance Marathon was all about. Throughout this whole project we have not had to pay for anything. Never an ice bill and if we hadn't had all hand me down equipment they would have given us all new equipment except skates which kids can rent and bags and they've slowly salvaged enough bags as hand me downs from others. The number of volunteers on the ice each week is also impressive with Austin often having one on one help with these awesome young adults and a few not so young adults.

Every week since mid-January, Austin and either Joe, myself, or our whole family has made the 90 minute trek to and from Ann Arbor. On the way down we always see this billboard. And I always go back to those dreaded days in 2003 when we almost lost him. U of M saved him though he's had a horribly tough go at times. Over 7 years later U of M is still there helping Austin along with many other heroes to be the best that he can be. I know all you State fans are probably rolling your eyes at this but "Hail to my Little Conquering Hero you've come so far my crazy boy!"


Amy said...

This post was wonderful. The whole U of M thing brought tears to my eyes. Reading about the kid who was hurt by the babysitter really got me going. It's good to know that he is getting along though. He sounds like a strong young man.

WOW! What can I say about Austin??? I loved watching him skate and score a goal---fantastic! He looks so sweet in his little hockey gear. I cannot wait to show Emma this one. She LOVES hockey!!!!! Not sure why she and her dad are so into it. We don't really have much hockey in the south.

Please let Austin know that his Kentucky fans think he ROCKS!

Honestly, he looks as good on the ice as any other kids his age. Really! He will just keep getting better and better too! Darn, he already skates better than me.

Sheila said...

Awesome!! Way to go, Austin!

Amy said...

As all children are, a gift from God; Austin is a special gift from God. I'm sure none of us understand the daily struggles you and Joe go through, but you are doing a fantastic job!

Austin is an amazing little boy who is going to defy all odd, with that sneaky little smile on his face!

Dennis says to tell his "smart boy" good job!!

Julie said...

OMG! give me a moment to dry the eyes. What an amazing video of one special little guy (and he did look small compared to others on the ice). Thank you so much for sharing. Austin is truly blessed in many ways - especially having the wonderful parents that he has.

Renee said...

Way to go Austin! Those videos are great!

Jill said...

Ok, this was not a post I should have read at work, now I'm teary eyed. I love that kid! I'm so glad to see him out there doing so well. I would love to make the trip and see him skate.

The U of M is truly at gift!

Dawn said...

Thanks so much everyone for the love and sorry if I put a bit too much sap in this one. He makes me crazy but I do love him and I know how he's made my life richer. He slows me down that is for sure and that isn't always a bad thing.

Amy - Who do you root for in Kentucky? Nashville Predators?? That's so sweet to hear that Emma Loves Hockey!!

Amy said...

Yeah, we like the Predators. Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Maple Leafs are favorites too. We used to have a minor league in Lexington, The Thoroughbreds, but they didn't last. Guess it didn't catch on in basketball country. We have been to a few games in Nashville. I will try to post a picture of Emma in her team jersey for Vancouver. She would love to be able to really play and skate. Not likely to happen, but she will always be a big fan.

Dawn said...

Ah Amy - you like the Canadian teams eh? I would love to see a pic of Emma in her Canucks jersey. And you know there are a lot of people that don't ice skate. When I got Austin into this whole ordeal I really questioned it later. I'm still glad we did it though.

Kiera said...

This whole post brought tears to my eyes also! First of all, Austin is looking AMAZING! He is doing so well on the skates! That is so impressive! GO AUSTIN!!

The U of M event sounded so emotional also. I cannot imagine what that drummer and his family have been through and how strong he is. I love seeing the amazing things that all of our kiddos can do.

The Star Wars characters were pretty cool too! You did get a couple of great pictures.

Thanks for sharing these special moments with all of us in cyber-land so we could celebrate with you!