Dear Today Show,
This is my last and I promise my final letter to your show, you see I have been writing you since November of 2011 with the hopes that my story would be shared live. In my mind I visioned that after my first letter you would have been so excited to contact me and after my story was shared the world would help me build a $150k wheelchair accessible playground (the Blue Slide Project) at my son’s school. I knew the odds were not in my favor, unemployment was at its highest and we were in the heart of a recession. I still held onto hope and continued to write, at first weekly, then monthly, after no response my vision didn’t seem so realistic. I am not going to lie, I was a little upset mostly because I never received a response. Not even one of those automatic replies to let me know the information was seen or thank you but not thank you. So my story was out there and like so many stories it could sit there with the stack of others and be unnoticed, or the story could be heard and only the people who really mattered can take part in it.
I realized, if I was just given the $150k to build the only wheelchair accessible playground in Grants Pass and only ALL-INCLUSIVE playground in Southern Oregon I would have learned nothing. Since November 2011 our PTA, local Foundations, and community raised over $150k and we plan to start the construction of Phase 2 on June 23rd 2014. I wanted to thank you for never replying because had I not experienced that rejection I would have never found the fight to keep going. I met some of my greatest friends and had the opportunity to have my project chosen for the Community Spirit Award. An award that only 4 people have received in 90 years of the Chamber of Commerce history. I watched a great man walk 47 miles with Parkinson’s disease to raise money because he wanted to do something my son couldn’t, he wanted to walk. 6 PTA moms walked 35 miles to bridge the gap between the only two wheelchair accessible playgrounds in Southern Oregon, in 17 hours!!! I lost 113 pounds during the Blue Slide Project weight loss challenge raising $1500, others decided to make the change for health as well. I attended a car wash at Roe Motors that raised over $3000 in just a few hours, a month long Blue Slide Challenge at Lithia of Grants Pass raising $10k for our project. Perfect strangers are now friends, a community united because we all believed that no child should be excluded from a playground just because they were born different or because when they were 4 months old a tumor paralyzed them.
If I had the opportunity to have my child walk I would take it in a heart beat, if I could trade places I would. No one will ever understand why I have fought so hard for this project. Not to have my name in the “lime light” (can you believe someone really told me this???) but to see my son play on a playground with no boundaries. A dream for me to see Isaac play with freedom, nothing stopping him from being a normal child. Giving my son and others like him the opportunity to play tag and not have a pile of rocks remind them that they are disabled. The Blue Slide Project will provide the rare opportunity for children of ALL abilities to play on the same playground, NO BOUNDARIES!!!
In closing, I still really love your show and your recent “Love your Selfie” segment inspired me to post a selfie on my weight loss page hoping to inspire others. Thank you for all you do to help or not help people share their stories, you really do rock!!!!