Shay's Heart-Rending Account
It has been a joy for Will and Guy to read these heart-warming stories, and
it was a labour of love to publish them here with the hope that they will
motivate you to achieve fine deeds.
- Shay's Heart-rending Account
- Dancing in the Rain
A True Inspirational Story of Jeff Guidry
- Daddy's Poem
- Sisterly Love
At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves learning-disabled children, the father of one of the students
delivered a speech that would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and its dedicated staff, he offered a question: 'When not interfered with by outside influences,
everything nature does is done with perfection. Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot understand things as other children do. Where is the natural order of things
in my son?'
The audience was stilled by the query.
The father continued. 'I believe, that when a child like Shay, physically and mentally handicapped comes into the world, an
opportunity to realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other people treat that child.'
Then he told the following story:
Shay and his father had walked past a
park where some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, 'Do you think they'll let me play?'
Shay's father knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay on their team,
but the father also understood that if his son were allowed to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.
Shay's father approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, 'We're losing by six runs and the game
is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our team and we'll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.'
Shay struggled over to the team's bench and, with a broad smile, put on a
team shirt. His Father watched with a small tear in his eye and warmth in his heart. The boys saw the father's joy at his son being accepted. In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay's team scored a
few runs but was still behind by three.
In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right field. Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just
to be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as his father waved to him from the stands. In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay's team scored again. Now, with two outs and the
bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay was scheduled to be next at bat.
At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the game? Surprisingly,
Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was all but impossible because Shay didn't even know how to hold the bat properly, much less connect with the ball.
However, as Shay
stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing that the other team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay's life, moved in a few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at
least make contact. The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay. As the pitch came in, Shay swung at
the ball and hit a slow ground ball right back to the pitcher.
The game would now be over. The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman.
Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.
Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman's head, out of reach of all team mates. Everyone
from the stands and both teams started yelling, 'Shay, run to first! Run to first!' Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made it to first base. He scampered down the baseline,
wide-eyed and startled.
Everyone yelled, 'Run to second, run to second!' Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and struggling to make it to the base. By the time
Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball ... the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero for his team. He could have thrown the ball to
the second-baseman for the tag, but he understood the pitcher's intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball high and far over the third-baseman's head. Shay ran toward third base
deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled the bases toward home.
All were screaming, 'Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way Shay'
Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to
help him by turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, 'Run to third! Shay, run to third!'
As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were
on their feet screaming, 'Shay, run home! Run home!' Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit the grand slam and won the game for his team.
'That day', said
the father softly with tears now rolling down his face, 'the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity into this world'.
Shay didn't make it to another summer. He
died that winter, having never forgotten being the hero and making his father so happy, and coming home and seeing his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!
man once said every society is judged by how it treats it's least fortunate amongst them.
See our collection of
motivational thoughts of the day.
It was a normal, busy morning, about 8:30 when, George, an elderly
gentleman, well into his 80's, arrived at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham,
England, to have stitches removed from his thumb.
George told me that he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:15
am. I weighed him and took his blood pressure and invited him take a seat in
the waiting area, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would be
able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not
busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On examination, it
was well healed, so I talked to one of the Doctors, got the needed supplies
to remove his sutures and redress his wound.
While taking care of his wound, I asked George if he had another doctor's
appointment this morning, as he was in such a hurry.
George told me no, but that he needed to go to St Christopher's Nursing Home
to eat breakfast with his wife. I inquired as to her health. He told me that
she had been there for a while and that she suffered from Alzheimer's
As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a little late.
George replied that she no longer knew who he was and that she had not
recognized him in five years.
I was surprised, and asked him, 'And you still go every morning, even
though she doesn't know who you are?'
He smiled as he patted my hand and said, 'She doesn't know me, but I
still know who she is.'
I had to hold back tears as George left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and
thought, 'That is the kind of love I want in my life.'
True love is neither physical, nor romantic.
True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be,
And will not be.
With all the jokes and fun that is in e-mails and web sites sometimes
there is one that comes along that has an important message. This one Will
and Guy thought we could share with you.
The happiest people don't necessarily
have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they
'Life isn't about how to survive the
storm but how to Dance in the Rain.'
As told by Jeff
Freedom and I have been together 11 years this summer. She came in as a
baby in 1998 with two broken wings. Her left wing doesn't open all the way
even after surgery, it was broken in 4 places.
She's my baby.
When Freedom came in she could not stand and both wings were broken. She
was emaciated and covered in lice. We made the
decision to give her a chance at life, so I took her to the vet's office.
From then on, I was always around her. We had her in a huge dog carrier with
the top off, and it was loaded up with shredded newspaper for her to lay in.
I used to sit and talk to her, urging her to live, to fight; and she would
lay there looking at me with those big brown eyes.
We also had to tube feed her for weeks.This went on for 4-6 weeks, and by
then she still couldn't stand. It got to the point where the decision was
made to euthanize her if she couldn't stand in a week. You know you don't
want to cross that line between torture and rehab, and it looked like death
She was going to be put down that Friday, and I was supposed to come in
on that Thursday afternoon. I didn't want to go to the center that Thursday,
because I couldn't bear the thought of her being euthanized; but I went
anyway, and when I walked in everyone was grinning from ear to ear. I went
immediately back to her cage; and there she was, standing on her own, a big
beautiful eagle. She was ready to live. I was just about in tears by then.
That was a very good day. We knew she could never fly, so the director
asked me to glove train her. I got her used to the glove, and then to
jesses, and we started doing education programs for schools in western
Washington . We wound up in the newspapers, radio (believe it or not) and
some TV. Miracle Pets even did a show about us.
In the spring of 2000, I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. I had
stage 3, which is not good (one major organ plus everywhere), so I wound up
doing 8 months of chemo. Lost the hair - the whole bit. I missed a lot of
work. When I felt good enough, I would go to Sarvey and take Freedom out for
walks. Freedom would also come to me in my dreams and help me fight the
cancer. This happened time and time again.
Fast forward to November 2000
The day after Thanksgiving, I went in for my last check-up. I was told
that if the cancer was not all gone after 8 rounds of chemo, then my last
option was a stem cell transplant. Anyway, they did the tests; and I had to
come back Monday for
the results. I went in Monday, and I was told that
all the cancer was gone.
So the first thing I did was get up to Sarvey and take the big girl out
for a walk. It was misty and cold. I went to her flight and jessed her up,
and we went out front to the top of the hill. I hadn't said a word to
Freedom, but somehow she knew. She looked at me and wrapped bother wings
around me to where I could feel them pressing in on my back (I was engulfed
in eagle wings), and she touched my nose with her beak and stared into my
eyes, and we just stood there like that for I don't know how long .
That was a magic moment. We have been soul mates ever since she came in.
This is a very special bird.
On a side note: I have had people who were sick come up to us when we are
out, and Freedom has some kind of hold on them. I once had a guy who was
terminal come up to us and let him hold her. His knees just about buckled
and he swore he could feel her power course through his body. I have so many
stories like that.
I never forget the honour I have of being so close to such a magnificent
spirit as Freedom.
Hope you enjoyed this!
Her hair was up in a pony tail,
Her favourite dress tied with a bow.
Today was Daddy's Day at school,
And she couldn't wait to go.
But her mommy tried to tell her,
That she probably should stay home.
Why the kids might not understand,
If she went to school alone.
But she was not afraid;
She knew just what to say.
What to tell her
Of why he wasn't there today.
But still her mother worried,
For her to face this day alone.
that was why once again,
She tried to keep her daughter home.
But the little girl went to school
Eager to tell them all.
dad she never sees
A dad who never calls.
There were daddies along the wall in back, For everyone to meet.
Children squirming impatiently, Anxious in their seats
One by one the teacher called
A student from the class.
introduce their daddy,
As seconds slowly passed.
At last the teacher called her name,
Every child turned to stare.
Each of them was searching,
For a man who wasn't there.
'Where's her daddy ?'
She heard a boy call out
doesn't have one,'
Another student dared to shout.
And from somewhere near the back,
She heard a daddy say,
like another deadbeat dad,
Too busy to waste his day.'
The words did not offend her,
As she smiled up at her Mom.
looked back at her teacher,
Who told her to go on
And with hands
behind her back,
Slowly she began to speak.
And out from the mouth of
Came words incredibly unique.
'My Daddy couldn't be here,
Because he lives so far away.
know he wishes he could be,
Since this is such a special day.
And though you cannot meet him,
I wanted you to know.
All about my
And how much he loves me so .
He loved to tell me stories
taught me to ride my bike.
He surprised me with pink roses,
me to fly a kite.
We used to share fudge sundaes,
And ice cream in a cone.
you cannot see him.
I'm not standing here alone..'
'Cause my daddy's always with me,
Even though we are apart
because he told me,
He'll forever be in my heart'
With that, her
little hand reached up,
And lay across her chest.
Feeling her own
And from somewhere here in the crowd of dads, Her mother stood in tears.
Proudly watching her daughter, Who was wise beyond her years.
For she stood up for the love
Of a man not in her life.
was best for her,
Doing what was right.
And when she dropped her hand back down, Staring straight into the
crowd. She finished with a voice so soft, But its message clear and
'I love my daddy very much,
he's my shining star.
And if he could,
he'd be here,
But heaven's, just too far.
You see he is a soldier
And died just this past year
roadside bomb hit his convoy
And taught everyone to fear.
sometimes when I close my eyes,
it 's like he never went away.'
then she closed her eyes,
And saw him there that day.
And to her mothers amazement,
She witnessed with surprise.
full of daddies and children,
All starting to close their eyes.
Who knows what they saw before them,
Who knows what they felt inside.
Perhaps for merely a second,
They saw him at her side.
'I know you're with me Daddy,'
To the silence she called out.
what happened next made believers,
Of those once filled with doubt.
Not one in that room could explain it,
For each of their eyes had been
But there on the desk beside her,
Was a fragrant long-stemmed
And a child was blessed, if only for a moment, By the love of her
shining star. And given the gift of believing, That heaven is never too
They say it takes a minute to find a special Person, an hour to
appreciate them, A day to love them, but then an entire Life to forget
By the poems true author, Cheryl Costello-Forshey:
"Daddy's Day" wasn't a factual account of a child's presentation at
school; it was an inspirational fictionalized expression of what that loss meant to that
one particular little girl and by extension what similar losses mean to all
children who lose parents. The classmates who didn't know the girl's father
had died were an author's device to help express how often each of us walks
by sorrow without recognizing it as such because we cannot see into the
hearts of others.
Poems like this one help us to grasp the depth of tragedy by putting a
human face upon the plain recitation of statistics and figures about
casualty counts and injuries. In the story above, the little girl tells her
class not just that her father passed away but also what he'd meant to her,
making her loss understandable on a more significant, personal level. He
becomes not just the deceased father of a classmate, but a caring and loving
man who took his daughter for ice cream and brought her roses.
Alex Lewis was only 17 when he was diagnosed with bone cancer.
While he underwent intensive treatment, he understood the need to cram as
much life as possible into the time he had left.
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