Building John’s Independence

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Read this…all of this. I promise you, it will inspire you, and touch you.

If there was ever a story about how God brings everyone together, in HIS perfect way, with HIS perfect timing, to bless, celebrate and love someone….here it is.  He truly works things for our good.

Because of Julia Grace.

Because of Alex.

Because of John.

Julia brought us to Alex, Alex brought us to John, and let me just tell you, God has big plans for this little guy named John. To bless him, encourage him, and to give him a life full of independence.  Our Raindancer Alex met John during an extended hospital stay, and John’s parents share that Alex truly changed John’s life. (I asked John’s dad to share about Alex and John’s friendship, and I was going to share a few lines from it. BUT I can’t pull anything out, you need to read the whole thing… I promise you….you will be inspired).

When John’s family reached out to me (with the encouragement of Alex’s family) in their first email they said that just recently, in conversation, John asked his mom and dad, “Are there handicapped accessible bathrooms in college?”

When his parents told him, “Yes there are,” John was so excited at the possibility of one day being able to go away to college like his older siblings. When his parents reached out to SJGF, they shared this with us and said, “This question helped us to realize that we needed to try to improve his living situation in our own home.”

Because of the amazing support of our village: our partners, John’s family and friends, and this amazing community we live in, SJGF was able to dream with the McGraws for a home that allowed John to learn independence so that when the day comes to go off to college he will be ready!

When we met John, his family had recently turned their first level dining room into his bedroom. We closed up the open walls, to turn this “temporary” room into a REAL boys room, where he and his brother can have all the privacy “roomates” need! We then cut a HOLE in the wall of his new room, into his garage where a brand NEW, built-from-the-ground-up, handicapped accessible, customized JUST-FOR-JOHN, bathroom was created.  Just simply amazing.

This LIFE-CHANGING gift was followed by the following GRATEFUL messages:

From John: “This is the greatest room ever! I can’t believe we finally have our own room. I took a shower tonight and mom showed me how I can wash my own hair, and I DID IT.”

From John’s mom: “John says he goes in to use the bathroom even when he doesn’t need to go….because he loves it so much. It is so easy for him to navigate around his room and bathroom now-and he is getting so independent.”

Because of Julia, because of Alex, because of YOU….all because of John,

because God is good.

In honor and memory of our inspiring, very very missed Raindancer Alex Green, by John’s dad:

John first met Alex Green in the Spring of 2012 at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington DC (John was six and Alex was about eight). The two boys stayed at NRH overnight for several weeks, and it was not long before Alex was showing his young protégé the ropes of living at NRH. Most of this involved showing John various sports that could be played in the hallways and rooms in the hospital. That fall, John learned that he could play on Alex’s sled hockey team, the DC Sled Sharks. The two had become friends in the hospital, and now they would also be teammates. John looked up to Alex in every way. He admired his incredible skills as a hockey player and his competitive greatness as an athlete. He knew Alex was in pain at times, and that he played through the pain. John would get very nervous before his games, but when he would see that Alex was at the game he would say in his mega excited voice: “ALEX IS HERE!” And just having Alex present was enough to calm John down a bit. John was very upset one game when Alex was pushed hard to the ice by an opposing player, and he needed to come off the ice for the rest of the game. But Alex was back and competing as fiercely as ever the next game. Alex set the bar high for himself, and continuously over achieved. He showed John how to approach the sport of sled hockey, and life itself, and had a huge impact on John’s life. It is not surprising that it was through Alex that John would meet the Sweet Julia Grace Foundation. The renovation that SJGF built for John in his own home has already fostered a great spirit of independence within John–the same independent spirit that actually began to be cultivated in John by fellow Raindancer Alex Green, in the spring of 2012 in the hallways of NRH.

~Thank you to My Plumber, Mosaic Tile, and Design Pro. What amazing partners you’ve been.

~Thank you to Tranquility Day Spa for mom’s spa day!

~Thank you to the donors who gave to BRING JOHN his NEW INDEPENDENCE! We could not have done this without your financial gifts.

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