There have been times when I thought God made a mistake when He gave Noah me and me Noah. There are days I think He overestimated what strength I have and my abilities to do, function, be effective and cope. And then I step back, reflect and realize that He provides everything that we need and I have to and want to Give Thanks. I really struggled with writing this post knowing the loss and the struggles that several friends are enduring at this time. Yet I know just as I sit or grieve with them they celebrate with me. It’s a part of doing life together, near and far. We’ve been on a journey to get a wheelchair-accessible van dubbed the Noah Mobile, to ensure Noah remains an active member in our community. I’m always looking for grants and alternate means to offset the costs of his adapted equipment. I find one grant, apply and get denied. I find another grant, apply but have to wait until later. I find others and learn you don’t have the right diagnosis, or learn we don’t live in the right county, city, state, or region. The list goes on and on, BUT I didn’t give up. On a long shot I applied for the Jake Vinson Family Grant through The Kyle Pease Foundation. I asked for an obscene (in my mind) amount of money; all which would go towards the Noah Mobile. Months went by and I heard nothing. “Oh well, I guess we weren’t selected. Let me see what other options we have” was my thought. I received a phone call early Fall from one of the board members and it ended up being an interview, part of the grant selection process. More time went by and nothing. Again, “Oh well, I guess we weren’t selected. Let me see what other options we have” was my thought.
Turning dreams into reality. On November 20, 2016 Noah was awarded The Jake Vinson Family Grant from The Kyle Pease Foundation, along with one other athlete, Sherry. I’m beyond grateful and thankful that Noah was selected this year. We’ve been working feverishly to get him the right wheelchair accessible van and although he wasn’t awarded the obscene amount that I requested the award amount puts us on the home stretch to getting the Noah Mobile– we can see the Finish Line! As thankful as I am for the award I’m more thankful for the relationships-friendships that have been born from this connection. Jake Vinson and his mom, Amy, hold a special place in my heart (and I finally met his dad and brother, Noah).
In 2013 I had the pleasure of meeting half of the Vinson family, Amy and Jake, during the Lucky 5k a race part of the Publix Marathon in Atlanta, Ga. For those who’ve never had the privilege (or desire) to run in or around the Atlanta area, just know it is VERY hilly. For those who know me know I LOATHE hills. Noah and I met Jake and Amy on one of those Atlanta hills…me yelling all the way up it. Yes, I make quite the first impression! We finished our respective races, formerly introduced ourselves and hoped to meet again in the near future. Our kids never said a word, yet there was an instant connection for me because here was a mom, like me, exposing her son to this big beautiful world, sharing her love of running and the outdoors and most importantly creating memories. October 2, 2014 Jake Vinson gained his wings. I’ve shared with Amy there are many of runs and races that Jake helps me get up hills – when I’m struggling, I think of him and won’t quit!
Life is hard. Life is messy. Add a disability to it and the difficulty and mess is magnified. YET I wouldn’t trade them for the world because we have met the most amazing people and made an awesome support/cheerleading/do life together team! So no matter where you are or what is happening in your life Give Thanks (for what you had, have, will have).
Now get ready as the Noah Mobile will be rolling to a city near you soon, debuting 2017!