Why? First Punch for Kids with Challenges

The past seven years for me has been an incredible journey. I have been to a place that I never dreamed I would go. I have experienced a world right in front of me that struggles to fit in, keep up, and is often on the sidelines of life. My journey has been a spinal tumor, spinal cyst, and finally a Parkinson’s diagnosis through which I have discovered a whole new world of pain, struggle, fear, healing, acceptance, beauty, and joy. It is the world of the disabled or those with special needs.

From 2010 – 2015 I lived in that world as I watched and experienced my body succumb to the attacks of Parkinson’s. Slowly, my body began to stiffen and fail. I was losing my balance, my movement, my strength, and my smile. On July 28, 2015 I visited a doctor who prescribed for me a new medication. Miraculously, in one hour after being on that medication, I came back from my journey and the experience of being disabled. Although, I still have the same diagnosis, I am back to my almost fully functional self. There is no cure for Parkinson’s. I will most likely regress someday. I write this to you today because I sit here with the gift of my health back for an undetermined amount of time. Praise God.

For a while I have stepped out of the world of disability, but I cannot leave my friends behind. My friends are the little ones with challenges who I would see in the halls of the schools where I have worked for 24 years as a school counselor. I now have an amazing window into their world, our world in reality.

Our purpose for the First Punch Boxing for Kids with Challenges is to bridge that gap and bring strength and hope and to give kids the courage to step up and battle the challenges they face in their world.

I am a funny, fun, in love with life person. Parkinson’s tried to steal that from me. Parkinson’s lost. Hope won. The fear is gone. I want to share this hope with kids experiencing challenges in their lives.

I have so many people for whom I am thankful and so many more to whom I need to reach out and help.

Will you partner with us to fund this pilot program for the summer of 2017?

Let’s make it happen!

FIRST PUNCH – Noncontact Boxing for Kids with Challenges https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/147552517/first-punch-noncontact-boxing-for-kids-with-challe

And We Smile On

I was with a friend yesterday. I picked her up and we went together to buy a gift for wedding that we are both attending. We stood at the registry of a local store for about 15 minutes deciding what to buy. Then it took about 20 minutes for the cashier to figure out how to split our bill, order, and ship the item in between waiting on other customers. It is amazing how you can connect with someone through a song.

I only know his name because of his name tag. David started singing to the radio playing in the background Versace on the Floor by Bruno Mars while he waited on us. I have a funny story about that song. You can read it in an earlier blog post of mine called “Sachie on the Floor!” I told him that story, and we shared a laugh. He then proceeded to tell me that he is a writer, too. One thing led to another, and then My friend was telling him about First Punch, the song by Heather Richardson that I cowrote. I thought he would be bored with it, but I played a little of it.  It is far from being Versace on the Floor. But when this young, African American kid got tears in his eyes and said he needed to hear that because of the hard time he is going through right now in his life, I thought, “yes, this is why we wrote it.”

This kid and I have nothing in common, but I got a glimpse of his pain and his struggle through a few seconds of a shared song. I may never see David again, but I will never forget this honest moment when the wall of “put on a smile” came down for just a moment to remind me– we all are struggling with something behind our smiles.

Be kind always because there is pain behind our smiles — and we smile on.

First Punch – Single by Heather Richardson https://itun.es/us/8suEib