Nevertheless, this was the task that Shriners asked of me. Write the blurb for the announcer to read at the rodeo this Friday. I did:
Brody is 3 ½ years old. He was born with a rare condition called radial hypoplasia, which means he does not have radius bones in his forearms and he was born without thumbs. Brody’s arms are a little shorter than most, and his hands tend to grow at 90 degree angles instead of straight. Without thumbs, Brody’s hand function was decreased by 50%.
In January 2008, Brody began a series of surgeries at Shriners. Shriners surgeons straightened Brody’s wrists and his hands, which increased his ability to reach for toys and utensils. Then, in 2009, Shriners moved Brody’s index fingers into thumb position on each hand, increasing his hand function by 50%!
Thanks to Shriners, Brody can play lacrosse, tennis, and baseball, and he can even shoot webs like his favorite superhero, Spiderman.
Tonight, we are going to Richard's house. Richard, President of the El Jebel Shriners Medical Staff, and with whom I have spoken telephonically many, many times since January 2008, who paid for and made all the arrangements with Frontier Airlines to fly us to Salt Lake and back and forth and back approximately 12 times. Richard who cannot be at the Stock Show because he is flying to Juarez, Mexico to do the quarterly Shriners clinic there.
I spoke with Richard last week and thanked him profusely for choosing Brody to be the Shrine child at the Stock Show rodeo. I explained that with the unpaid furlough days we've had recently, this is really the only way Brody would get to see a rodeo, at least this year.
He then immediately asked if we wanted to be the Shrine's guests at the Shrine Circus that comes to town in April. I told him I work with 500 people and I'd like to sell some tickets, too.
It's an odd position I'm in, someone like me, who was raised to be independent and self-sufficient, to be given so much with barely a please out of my mouth. It feels. . . humbling, confusing, exhilarating, and embarrassing.
But I'll take it.
Richard also sent a photograph of a prior year's Shrine child in the carriage at the rodeo:
I can't wait to see the look on his face.
Unless he has another tantrum.