Saturday, October 1, 2011

Elijah at Mini-Laps - THE PHANTOM

It's that time of year again, and all our friends and family made this the most special Mini-Laps event so far. We met and exceeded our fund-raising goal, and the Little Light House raised the largest amount in school history for this event. Every year, the students of TLLH dress up in costumes and walk around a small track behind the school, as hundreds cheer them on and hear their stories. This year's theme was "The Big Apple," and we dressed Elijah up as The Phantom Of The Opera, one of the classic Broadway icons. We turned his walker into a pipe organ, and he really hammed it up. 

Watch as he takes his lap for the first time on his own two legs! This accomplishment is the culmination of years of work on the part of Eli's parents (that's me), his teachers and therapists both at school and at home, and most of all Elijah himself. His first year, you may recall, he was pulled around the track in a toy car made up to look like Lightning McQueen, and at the end he scooted over the finish line on his bottom. The next year, he went around in a wagon with some farm animals attached, then he actually walked about ten steps over the line in his walker. This took place ONE DAY after returning from the Shriners Hospital in Shreveport where he received his very first pair of prosthetic legs. There were tears that year, but he made it through with flying colors.

No tears in 2011, just willpower and an adoring crowd. You'll see him take a tumble before he makes the turn, but it's no surprise that he stood up again and kept going, eventually walking the entire track on his own. He loved seeing his mom and sister waiting for him, and he's looking forward to seeing YOU there next year!

BONUS VIDEO: The day before the event, we got a call from Linda, the PT at Eli's school, suggesting we make sure he could navigate in his blue Kid Walk, which he uses all the time at our house but never before at school. This was also my only chance to see him walk his lap, since I went to Boston on Saturday and had to miss the actual event (FROWN). I took Elijah and his nurse Melody to the school, and although he got tired a few times, he never gave up.

Sophia at Mini-Laps... SUPERSTAR!

Are you prepared to behold Sophia singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at Mini-Laps 2011? NO YOU ARE NOT. It's simply too awesome. This 9-year-old diva-in-the-making worked for weeks and weeks on her phrasing, her breathing, her notes and her diction, and even I was speechless at the utter magnificence of the final result. If you missed it (like I did - I was in Boston!), be sure to come to Laps for Little Ones on Oct. 15 at Cascia Hall, another great opportunity to donate to Elijah's favorite school, The Little Light House.

Ramirez Kids In T-Town

Here are some pics of the kids at the new Route 66 park in west Tulsa. They have the biggest oil derrick (non-working) in North America, and a decommissioned train with the biggest wheels I've ever seen! The main engine barreled down the tracks toward Super-Sophia, but she was just too fast for it. Look at her go!


The gentleman who acted as our Make A Wish volunteer, Wade, is also the fire chief at Station 32 on 91st St. (near Hunter Park). He invited Elijah and Sophia to tour the facility, and they had a great time! Thanks to everyone for making our morning so special, and for your service to the City of Tulsa.


Eli absolutely loves to spend time at Therapy Works, on 91st Street near Memorial. We see Suzette on Wednesdays at 5:15 for occupational therapy, and on Friday we see Kara for speech pathology and Kathy for feeding therapy. All three of them are highly knowledgeable, exceptional with their applications, and very patient and kind with my little boy. When we tell him we're going to Therapy Works, he sings and laughs the whole way there. Watch as he works with Kara at blowing bubbles in a bowl, a very difficult task for a boy with a deviated septum, weak pallet and under-used jaw and tongue muscles. He's getting stronger every day! Before this video was taking, Elijah spent most of his time blowing bubbles with a soft rubber clip holding his nostrils closed, to make it easier to direct air through his lips. This also makes it easier to pronounce consonants like B and P, which he is ALSO successfully doing without the clip. We're amazed by his progress and grateful to Therapy Works!