My BIG Little Brother is Cooler Than Yours

While I was in the hospital from my car accident I had no appetite. At least not for the food the hospital was serving up. I wouldn't eat and lost so much weight. Richard called me from home and said whatever you want to eat I will bring to you. I thought about it for a second. I wanted a grilled cheese sandwich. He laughed thinking I was joking. He said that it would be cold by the time he got to the hospital. But he said he would make it work. Within the hour he came walking through my hospital room door with a camper stove, a propane tank, a lighter, a frying pan, a spatula, bread, cheese and butter. He said if you want a grilled cheese sandwich then you're going to have a grilled cheese sandwich. It was the best grilled cheese sandwich I have ever had. He could have blown up the hospital but that was a risk he was willing to take just to get me to eat something.

I realized then how amazing my BIG little brother is and what he is willing to do for me and with me.  For example...

Richard and I share a birthday month and for our birthday we decided to go skydiving.  We didn't tell our parents for fear of their opinion, which actuality would be a guilt trip for putting our lives at risk.  It didn't go over well when they eventually found out, but their freak out was well worth the experience we had.  

Richard and I share a birthday month and for our birthday we decided to go skydiving.  We didn't tell our parents for fear of their opinion, which actuality would be a guilt trip for putting our lives at risk.  It didn't go over well when they eventually found out, but their freak out was well worth the experience we had.  

Richard and I did a triathlon together as a relay team. I did the run portion in my wheelchair and he did the bike with a hand cycle and then ended it with the swim. Anyone of you that have read my book know the story. Richard is in great shape so he thought he could do this with flying colors. Well, riding a hand cycle for 9 miles (most of it being uphill) when you have never done it before to only follow it up with a mile swim is pretty tough. The challenged athletes get to ride their hand cycles straight to the pool so they can transfer from the bike to the ground and into the pool. People were cheering like crazy for him as he approached the water. He parked the bike, stood up and dove into the pool. All of a sudden the crowds cheers faded away. I looked around to see a shocked look on faces of the spectators. It was then I realized that they thought he was handicapped. I started laughing and then cheered for him even more. He crossed the finish line, got his medal and ran over to me. He scooped me up in his arms and gave me the biggest hug while twirling me around and around. He said that never had he felt more positive energy than he did today. Every person that competed along side him was encouraging him and empowering him as he struggled riding the hand cycle. Then he asked what happened when he jumped into the pool. He noticed that it went rather quiet. I told him that the crowd thought they just witnessed a miracle.

Richard and I did a triathlon together as a relay team. I did the run portion in my wheelchair and he did the bike with a hand cycle and then ended it with the swim. Anyone of you that have read my book know the story. Richard is in great shape so he thought he could do this with flying colors. Well, riding a hand cycle for 9 miles (most of it being uphill) when you have never done it before to only follow it up with a mile swim is pretty tough. The challenged athletes get to ride their hand cycles straight to the pool so they can transfer from the bike to the ground and into the pool. People were cheering like crazy for him as he approached the water. He parked the bike, stood up and dove into the pool. All of a sudden the crowds cheers faded away. I looked around to see a shocked look on faces of the spectators. It was then I realized that they thought he was handicapped. I started laughing and then cheered for him even more. He crossed the finish line, got his medal and ran over to me. He scooped me up in his arms and gave me the biggest hug while twirling me around and around. He said that never had he felt more positive energy than he did today. Every person that competed along side him was encouraging him and empowering him as he struggled riding the hand cycle. Then he asked what happened when he jumped into the pool. He noticed that it went rather quiet. I told him that the crowd thought they just witnessed a miracle.

Richard takes me to play in the dirt with him.  Him on the dirt bike and me in the pilot or on a quad with my feet bungee corded to the foot pegs.  One of my favorite memories from all these trips is on Thanksgiving morning one year.  While riding the quad I over compensated on my turn and I rolled the quad.  Having my feet bungee corded to the foot pegs I was unable to push myself out of the way of quad, which ended up rolling on top of me.  My brothers saw the cloud of dust from the crash and rushed over to my aid.  In the mean time another rider not in our party rushed over too.  As both my brothers assessed the situation this other rider approached us.  He asked if all was alright.  My brother always one to crack a joke said in a panicked tone, "SHE CAN'T FEEL HER LEGS!!!  SHE CAN'T FEEL HER LEGS!!!"  This poor guy freaked out and quickly pulled out his phone to call 911.  My other brother said through his laugh, "Nah, she couldn't feel them when we got here.  I'm sure she is fine."

Richard takes me to play in the dirt with him.  Him on the dirt bike and me in the pilot or on a quad with my feet bungee corded to the foot pegs.  One of my favorite memories from all these trips is on Thanksgiving morning one year.  While riding the quad I over compensated on my turn and I rolled the quad.  Having my feet bungee corded to the foot pegs I was unable to push myself out of the way of quad, which ended up rolling on top of me.  My brothers saw the cloud of dust from the crash and rushed over to my aid.  In the mean time another rider not in our party rushed over too.  As both my brothers assessed the situation this other rider approached us.  He asked if all was alright.  My brother always one to crack a joke said in a panicked tone, "SHE CAN'T FEEL HER LEGS!!!  SHE CAN'T FEEL HER LEGS!!!"  This poor guy freaked out and quickly pulled out his phone to call 911.  My other brother said through his laugh, "Nah, she couldn't feel them when we got here.  I'm sure she is fine."

Richard came with me to the Life Rolls On TWSA (They Will Surf Again) at Bolsa Chica beach. This event gets injured athletes from around the country to gather together for a day of surfing! Some have not surfed since their injury, some have never surfed, some surf all the time despite their varying mobility. TWSA connects dozens of volunteers, with a handful of injured surfers, together for a day of excitement, joy, and best of all, surf! There were over 100 volunteers at today’s event. Some provided a pancake breakfast before we got started, some provided lunch, some pushed the surfers to the water in the beach wheelchair, some helped the surfers change into their wetsuits and all others were in the water making sure of the safety for each surfer. Richard and I were on the Blue Surf Team. The team leader was my good friend Dave King and his son Austin. I would be the surfer and Richard would be the volunteers out in the water. I was the last of 6 participants on the list for the Blue Team to surf. Richard was out in the water helping each surfer for the Blue Team. Richard took the reigns as the person to call out where to position the surfer and what wave to catch. Some of the time the surf board will pearl (nose dive into the water) so Richard would sometimes ride on the back of the board through the wave putting weight on the tail of the surfboard to guarantee that didn't happen. Each time Richard would come in after a surfers session was over to rehydrate they would be smiling from ear to ear. It would bring tears to my eyes as I would listen to him tell me how much fun he was having and how grateful he felt to be a part of this event. Richard is an avid surfer so I thought he would be itching to surf himself that day. He told me later that there is nothing else he would rather be doing than helping out at this event. He said it was so rewarding watching the faces of each surfer when they would catch a wave. Especially when it was this boy about 8 years old that was on the Blue Team. His face would light up and would be screaming with excitement will a grin that lit up the entire beach.   Finally it was my turn and I was so excited. I had been waiting all morning for this moment. I have surfed plenty of times before this day but today was very special to me because it was the first time I had my brother along.   As I got down to the water the Blue Team cheered so we could all get pumped up before heading out into the water. I got on the board and we all started to paddle out.   With the sun beating down on us the water felt so refreshing. We battled the waves again and again as we continued to paddle out. When we got into position my brother called out which wave to go for. It was a good right so we quickly readjusted the board. I was pushed into the wave but not fast enough and I ended up pulling out of it. The swarm of volunteers got to me quickly to reposition me for the next wave. This time I got the wave and road all the way in with my brother on the back of my surfboard. I can't wait to see the picture of my brother and I surfing a wave together on the same board. I told him that if he wanted to go tandem that next time he should pick me up over his head and I will do a back bend like the real tandem surfers do. We paddled out again. Battling the waves breaking on us. Sometimes the waves would break right on top of us that it would knock me off the board slightly. Thank goodness for the volunteers to catch me just in time and put me back on the board again.   I caught about 6 or 7 waves and I pearled the board twice. That wipeout is never fun. I put my hands over my head to make sure the board doesn’t hit me. Before I even surface there is a volunteer scooping me up out of the water and putting me back on the board. I surfed for about 30 minutes and then it was time for lunch. Richard picked me up off the board after I road it all the way in with my last wave. Instead of putting me in the beach wheelchair Richard told the volunteers that he had this and he carried me all the way up the beach. People thought it was adorable to see a brother sister team so they took pictures.  It was a sweet moment for Richard and I to have.   After lunch I decided to go body surfing. I haven't done that since I got hurt 6 years ago so I was anxious to do it. It was so fun and a little difficult at the same time. My wetsuit kept my legs so buoyant that I had a hard time swimming. Richard decided that I should lie on his back and he would do all the work. That worked for about 2 seconds. I felt like King Triton riding the dolphins. Well, for 2 seconds at least. I love the feeling of being weightless in the water. I have dead body weight pulling on me all the time so this was a nice break from all of that. When the big waves would come and we needed to go under them Richard would grab me from around the waist and we would dive under the wave. It was so much fun.  

Richard came with me to the Life Rolls On TWSA (They Will Surf Again) at Bolsa Chica beach. This event gets injured athletes from around the country to gather together for a day of surfing! Some have not surfed since their injury, some have never surfed, some surf all the time despite their varying mobility. TWSA connects dozens of volunteers, with a handful of injured surfers, together for a day of excitement, joy, and best of all, surf! There were over 100 volunteers at today’s event. Some provided a pancake breakfast before we got started, some provided lunch, some pushed the surfers to the water in the beach wheelchair, some helped the surfers change into their wetsuits and all others were in the water making sure of the safety for each surfer.

Richard and I were on the Blue Surf Team. The team leader was my good friend Dave King and his son Austin. I would be the surfer and Richard would be the volunteers out in the water. I was the last of 6 participants on the list for the Blue Team to surf. Richard was out in the water helping each surfer for the Blue Team. Richard took the reigns as the person to call out where to position the surfer and what wave to catch. Some of the time the surf board will pearl (nose dive into the water) so Richard would sometimes ride on the back of the board through the wave putting weight on the tail of the surfboard to guarantee that didn't happen. Each time Richard would come in after a surfers session was over to rehydrate they would be smiling from ear to ear. It would bring tears to my eyes as I would listen to him tell me how much fun he was having and how grateful he felt to be a part of this event. Richard is an avid surfer so I thought he would be itching to surf himself that day. He told me later that there is nothing else he would rather be doing than helping out at this event. He said it was so rewarding watching the faces of each surfer when they would catch a wave. Especially when it was this boy about 8 years old that was on the Blue Team. His face would light up and would be screaming with excitement will a grin that lit up the entire beach.  

Finally it was my turn and I was so excited. I had been waiting all morning for this moment. I have surfed plenty of times before this day but today was very special to me because it was the first time I had my brother along.  

As I got down to the water the Blue Team cheered so we could all get pumped up before heading out into the water. I got on the board and we all started to paddle out.  

With the sun beating down on us the water felt so refreshing. We battled the waves again and again as we continued to paddle out. When we got into position my brother called out which wave to go for. It was a good right so we quickly readjusted the board. I was pushed into the wave but not fast enough and I ended up pulling out of it. The swarm of volunteers got to me quickly to reposition me for the next wave. This time I got the wave and road all the way in with my brother on the back of my surfboard. I can't wait to see the picture of my brother and I surfing a wave together on the same board. I told him that if he wanted to go tandem that next time he should pick me up over his head and I will do a back bend like the real tandem surfers do. We paddled out again. Battling the waves breaking on us. Sometimes the waves would break right on top of us that it would knock me off the board slightly. Thank goodness for the volunteers to catch me just in time and put me back on the board again.  

I caught about 6 or 7 waves and I pearled the board twice. That wipeout is never fun. I put my hands over my head to make sure the board doesn’t hit me. Before I even surface there is a volunteer scooping me up out of the water and putting me back on the board. I surfed for about 30 minutes and then it was time for lunch. Richard picked me up off the board after I road it all the way in with my last wave. Instead of putting me in the beach wheelchair Richard told the volunteers that he had this and he carried me all the way up the beach. People thought it was adorable to see a brother sister team so they took pictures.  It was a sweet moment for Richard and I to have.  

After lunch I decided to go body surfing. I haven't done that since I got hurt 6 years ago so I was anxious to do it. It was so fun and a little difficult at the same time. My wetsuit kept my legs so buoyant that I had a hard time swimming. Richard decided that I should lie on his back and he would do all the work. That worked for about 2 seconds. I felt like King Triton riding the dolphins. Well, for 2 seconds at least. I love the feeling of being weightless in the water. I have dead body weight pulling on me all the time so this was a nice break from all of that. When the big waves would come and we needed to go under them Richard would grab me from around the waist and we would dive under the wave. It was so much fun.  

I was chosen to take part in a climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa with a group of people as a means of raising money for a non-profit.  When given the opportunity to bring a climbing partner there was only one person I would feel comfortable having by my side through such a challenge - my BIG little brother Richard.  We trained hard and were getting very excited for the trip when sadly it came to our attention that the organizers of this event were not very ethical and were using the money we raised to get a free trip and climbing adventure, and then whatever amount was left over, if any, would go to the non-profit.  We were very disappointed and decided we didn't want any part of their deception and taking advantage of generous donators.

I was chosen to take part in a climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa with a group of people as a means of raising money for a non-profit.  When given the opportunity to bring a climbing partner there was only one person I would feel comfortable having by my side through such a challenge - my BIG little brother Richard.  We trained hard and were getting very excited for the trip when sadly it came to our attention that the organizers of this event were not very ethical and were using the money we raised to get a free trip and climbing adventure, and then whatever amount was left over, if any, would go to the non-profit.  We were very disappointed and decided we didn't want any part of their deception and taking advantage of generous donators.

Richard has always been a sport acting as my last minute date to special events.  It works out for both of us really because he is great arm candy and looks good in a suit, and these events are a lot of fun to attend.  Not to mention all the celebrity schmoozing he gets to do.

Life Rolls On "Night By The Ocean"

Life Rolls On "Night By The Ocean"

PossAbilities Award Dinner and Fundraiser

PossAbilities Award Dinner and Fundraiser

Slightly Stoopid Concert

Slightly Stoopid Concert