Monday, March 29, 2010

The Possible

Thanks to Jim Dunlevy, Raymond Felton, Rufus and the Charlotte Bobcats for bringing smiles to Taylor's face last Friday night. Taylor and my 10-year-old nephew, Joey, had a memorable night at the arena - one that included access to the pre-game shootaround, dinner in the Back Court, high fives to the players as they ran through the tunnel from the locker room to the court and lower level seats for the team's win over the Wizards. It was Joey's first NBA basketball game and possibly T's first since her world went completely dark. It didn't matter. She still cheered and clapped when the Bobcats did well. She still smiled from ear to ear when Raymond Felton walked over to our seats at the shootaround and said her name. And she still had a big hug for Rufus as soon as she felt the team mascot's big, furry arm draped over her shoulders.

T knows that Raymond Felton was my favorite player during my years at Carolina. And despite all of the obstacles standing in her way, she still believes that someday, she will walk the same campus that her older sister and the Bobcats' starting point guard once did.

To me, that's what dreams are all about. Believing makes the improbable possible. Having faith AND working hard can make the possible come true.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


We had a wet winter here in Charlotte. My grass is already a rich, vibrant green, my roses are already coming to life and the weeping willow we planted in the backyard two summers ago is already stretching its limbs toward the skies after its months-long slumber. Yesterday, we were graced with clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid-70s here in North Carolina. Not even March Madness could keep me, a self-described college basketball nut, indoors.

More than just a physical renewal, spring inspires a spiritual sort of rebirth. As I ran laps around the pond in our neighborhood yesterday morning, my sense of 'believe' was stronger than it has been in a long, long time.

Mom, Dad and Taylor escaped to Charleston for a quick renewal of their own during the middle of T's spring break this past week. On Friday, what was supposed to be an afternoon departure turned into a walk along the city's waterfront park and famous Battery that stretched into the early evening hours. There, an 11-year-old girl going through an unimaginable illness and two parents going through an unimaginable pain found solace in the sunshine, the breeze and the sound of gentle waves as they lapped up against the walls of the Battery.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

3.1 for Garrett's Wings

Runners: if you're looking for a race to run next Saturday, March 20, please consider running in the Run the Creek 5K to support Garrett's Wings, a charity founded by a Charlotte-area couple who lost their young son, Garrett, to infantile Batten disease in December 2007. The race course features beautiful rolling hills and is appropriate for runners of all skill levels. To register, click here.

Garrett's Wings provides comfort and non-medical care for terminally ill children and their families as well as support for infantile Batten disease research. To learn more, visit their Web site at

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Dancing in the Stars

Taylor went to her first school dance on Friday night. Decked out in a sparkly pink and purple top adorned with dream catchers over a denim skirt, chocolate tights and Ugg boots, my sister spent two hours on the arm of her date, Scott. And since parents were strictly forbidden from the school grounds during the dance by the sixth graders, I was the lucky girl who got to spend a Friday evening as a fly on the wall (the only fly in the world that can operate a digital camera and camcorder), there only if Taylor needed help (she didn't).

Having never attended a dance with a date until my junior prom when I was 17, I got to bear witness, via my much younger sister, the best parts of 'crushing' on a boy pre-high school (and all of the attending drama). The smiles on Taylor's face said everything. There were no teen-charged mixed signals to analyze: she was having the time of her life. And there, in the Fletcher School cafeteria with '80s music playing in the background and neon deejay lights painting the air, the fly on the wall was having the time of its life, too - holding assorted cell phones for pre-teens, catching the scenery on camera and bottling up the dream catcher girl's courage and her date's kindness for the days to come.

Eat Pizza, Watch Basketball, Help Find a Cure for Batten Disease

Join us at The Pizza Peel on Saturday, March 13 at 1 p.m. for a special ACC men's basketball tournament party, or eat at The Pizza Peel anytime between March 12 and March 14. Both are great ways to help support the search for a cure for Batten disease, as The Pizza Peel will donate a portion of its weekend proceeds to Taylor's Tale.

The viewing party on Saturday, March 13 at 1 p.m. will include a beer bracket tournament! We especially hope to see you that afternoon, but no matter what day you choose, you'll be supporting Taylor's Tale. And, you'll have access to great daily specials regardless of when you decide to drop in that weekend:
  • $1.50 Bud Light and PBR all weekend
  • 1/2 price bottles of wine on Friday and Saturday
  • $3 mimosas on Sunday
The Pizza Peel is located across from Cotswold Shopping Center in Charlotte. To view a menu, visit the restaurant's Web site here.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Today Was a Fairytale

Thank you to the following people for organizing a magical afternoon this past Sunday at Ruggero Piano in Raleigh: Polly Greene, Susan Burnette, Cree Russell, Dottie Buster, Pamela Tsai, Chris Dobson, Deborah and Richard Ruggero, all of the students who spent a beautiful weekend afternoon making music for Taylor's Tale and all of the family and friends who attended.

Thank you also to the piano student and his friend, a cellist, who played a beautiful, impromptu rendition of Taylor Swift's "You Belong to Me" after learning that it is one of Taylor's favorite songs. My sister was in the room when this happened. I knew it was coming and made a point to watch her face as the song began.

Often, T will get very quiet and appear to gaze off into empty space, and sometimes, the people around her assume that she's zoning out. I think that many people forget (or never realize in the first place) that she is blind - which perfectly explains the daydreamy look she gets. Her eyes are beautiful and still have the power to betray the way she feels at any given moment, but mechanically speaking, they have nowhere to look. And when she grows silent, it's usually because she's listening. In the absence of visual stimuli, T has mastered the art of picking up even the most minute auditory cues. So when others think she's 'zoning out,' she's actually 100% invested in the moment and is likely more wholly aware of all of its nuances than the sighted people around her.

As the notes of "You Belong to Me" danced from the piano and cello on the stage to where T was sitting in the crowd, it was as if someone had suddenly switched on a light inside of her. Rarely overtly emotional, T instead allowed herself only the slightest smile - but a smile that illuminated her face just the same.

I regret not getting the names of the musicians who brought real happiness to my sister on Sunday. In case either of them happen to stumble across these words, though, I want them to know that if I had been thinking clearly when I thanked them in person on Sunday, I would have said - to borrow from the title of another Taylor Swift song - Today Was a Fairytale.