IVE GOT A GOLDEN TICKET!
BOSTON- I’m coming for ya! I am SO EXCITED to announce I have been OFFICIALLY accepted to run the 126th Boston Marathon for Cardinal Cushing Centers, a school that is VERY close to my heart.
Cardinal Cushing Centers is a place where people of all ages and abilities find possibility, opportunity, and hope. It is a caring intergenerational community where Individuals with intellectual disabilities are an integral part of our community and are provided support to achieve independence, and fulfilling relationships.
My senior year of college, I met Drew, tall, blonde hair, blue-eyes, speaking a million words a minute. This was the first time I was introduced to the wonderful world of Autism. He was getting ready for swim practice, pacing the pool deck talking endlessly about “pigs and villagers” (I had no clue what he was talking about). Drew would hop into the water and proceed to bob-up-and-down (repeatedly). I tried numerous times to get him to follow directions, look me in the eye, or just hear my voice and he wouldn’t respond. I started to question my ability, “I thought I was good with kids! Why can’t I get him to respond to me? He won’t even look at me! Am I good at this?” On the car ride home, that night I kept thinking that I wanted to know what made Drew tick, better yet, I was going to “get Drew.”
I went home and did some research on Autism, wondering how I could make a connection with him. There is a quote that interested me, “If you have met one person with Autism, you have met one person with Autism,” so my answers weren’t going to be published. I decided that I was going to accept Drew (and the pigs and villagers), I was going to use the cues he gave to me and grow our relationship from there. I started to learn his trigger words, such as “link in,” his learning strategies, and ways of thinking. He thinks in numbers so I used those techniques to get into his world. It is hard for our typical brain to catch up to his, because everything is moving so fast for him. I saw his challenges and how much effort it can be to finish certain tasks. Drew has a hard time communicating but if you take the time to listen he has a lot to say. So, I took the time and fast-forwarding three years Drew is excelling in school and is competing in USA travel swim meets. His passion and strength through his challenges inspires me. He inspires me to break boundaries, instead of having the dream of becoming a pediatric nurse, why not go further?
One-day Drew’s mom told me about their experience taking Drew to the hospital when he broke both of his arms. He didn’t understand what was going on, why he hurt, why so many people were coming in to look at him, touch him, and x-ray him. Children with special needs struggle with daily tasks that typical people take for granted but can you imagine a trip to the emergency room! The strange doctors, nurses, assistants all wearing masks, the bright lights, loud noises, machines humming and beeping; I can’t begin to imagine what going to the hospital was like for Drew or anyone with special needs! Drew taught me to persevere and I admire his courage. Currently, I work per-diem as a Registered Nurse at Cardinal Cushing Centers and Full-Time as a Registered Nurse at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
I have read endless articles about what the experience is like for kids with special needs when they go to the hospital and it is unfathomable! There are too many terrible stories of tantrums and restraints used on special needs children because they cannot express themselves. I want to make a difference, make their transition and experience in the hospital easier for both them and their family. Working towards being a Developmental Disabilities Nurse, I will be able to work with children for a living, caring for the patient first and the patient’s family.
Every gift has an incredible impact on Cardinal Cushing Centers and helps me get closer to my personal goal of raising $7,500. Here is the link to my personal fundraising page:https://www.givengain.com/ap/samantha-taylor-raising-funds-for-cardinal-cushing-centers/ Donations can also be sent in via check, payable to Cardinal Cushing Centers and mailed to: Cardinal Cushing Centers, Attn: Development, 405 Washington Street, Hanover, MA 02339. Thank you all in advance for all of your support and generous donations!
SEE YOU ALL AT THE FINISH LINE! :)