Happy Thanksgiving! We are so very grateful and so very lucky. We are grateful for the kindness shown to us by so many individuals and groups in our community and beyond, we are grateful for our supportive family and friends, we are grateful for all of the opportunities for recovery we have had, we are grateful for the amazing medical teams that have done all the right things at the right moments, we are grateful for Ryan’s progress in recovery, we are grateful for the crews and donors working on our house, we are grateful for too many things to even count! Thank you for being part of our journey to recovery.
Our family is all together in Denver for the holiday week after being apart since August for the start of school for Ryan’s sister at College Park. We hope that this Thanksgiving you are as lucky as we are and have your family close by to celebrate with. We are watching the news of the fires from here in Colorado and hope your family is safe, or if they have been affected by the fire, that they are on the road to recovery – stay strong!
We wanted to post a short update on Ryan’s progress for all of our amazing supporters. I have links to some of the videos because I have not quite figured out how to post them yet!
The past few weeks, Ryan has been working more on walking without a walker. He still needs to get much stronger to walk solo, but he has been walking with a person in front for light support, and a person behind to catch him if he falls. In the words of our dear friend Jack Simonitch, Ryan enjoys being “vertical and self propelled”. It is hard work for sure – lots of muscles and signals having to cooperate all in sync.
We have had a little snow in the past week, but Ryan continues to wear shorts and t-shirts. He may live in Colorado for now, but is definitely still a Californian! He is trying to convince his occupational therapists that he does not need to be able to put his own shoes on because he will be walking in flip flops pretty soon! (they are not buying that and still make him practice!)
Other fun news, Ryan received some power assist wheels for his wheelchair this week. The new power assist wheels are battery powered and amplify Ryan’s own push 6x’s. The new wheels were generously funded by the Contra Costa Association of REALTORS® Helping Hands Fund. We are so grateful for this incredibly generous gift. The wheels allow him yet another level of independence. The manual chair with the regular wheels that he was using was limiting because he did not have the strength in his shoulders to push on any surface that was not flat, so he had to take his power chair everywhere or have someone push him in his manual chair (he said he felt like a shopping cart). His therapists were reluctant to encourage him to use a manual chair because his shoulder blades were “winging” out and still not very strong, and they did not want him to ruin his shoulders at such a young age. The power assist wheels allow him to push and the motor in the wheels amplifies his push, so he gets a lot of power without straining his shoulders. Here are a few links of him using the wheels “right out of the box”!
Another group that is generously including Ryan in their fundraising is the Moraga Orinda Fire District. They participate in “Movember” - each November, for the entire month, they grow out their biggest, nastiest moustaches in an effort to raise funds and awareness for a cause they select. This year they chose Ryan. Ryan got a head start on his mustache! We know that our friends in the Department are either involved in the recent firefighting efforts or supporting the effort – we hope they are safe and that the fires are extinguished soon with the help of the upcoming rains. We are supporting you from afar!