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Those Special People
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I recently read about a 14-year-old Michigan boy carrying his seven-year-old brother for 40 miles to help raise awareness about cerebral palsy. Hunter Gandee endured a two-day trek in heat and rain, carrying his brother, Branden, on his back. Parents and siblings and other family and friends walked with them. Their goal was to raise awareness about cerebral palsy, hoping to inspire new ideas for mobility aides and medical procedures.

Said Hunter of his brother: “I can’t even describe to you how special he is to me…. He’s awesome. He’s always there for me….” (AP)

The story reminded me of Teddy, a man who could walk only on his knees. I met him in a nursing home while visiting a friend. She introduced him as the man who gave her courage to face her disabilities caused by a severe stroke.

Teddy was six weeks old when he contracted infantile paralysis (Polio). He survived, but the muscles in his lower legs failed to develop properly. He learned to walk on his knees. An active lad, He often went through all his knee padding in less than a day. A favorite activity was to push his wagon to the top of the hill by his cousin’s house and ride the wagon down.

When Teddy was five, his mother got a job working one day a week with her sister at the Poor House in Dayton (Ohio). His aunt had an old typewriter in her office that she set on a table for Teddy to play with to keep him out of trouble. He not only learned about reading and writing with that typewriter, he learned to create art by typing certain letters or symbols repeatedly. Animals, birds, flags…. His masterpiece was a picture of his house with walkway and flowers in front.

Seldom Attended School 

Teddy seldom attended school because he could only go during nice weather when he could push his wagon to carry his books. But he did become a Boy Scout. “I am Dayton, Ohio’s oldest Boy Scout,” he said proudly, showing his badges and a photo of himself in uniform, at age 72, receiving a special honor from the Troop leader.

Answering my question about how he achieved his badges in rigorous activities, he said, “It was twice as hard for me to get those badges. Because I couldn’t do the activity, I had to get library books and study about the activities and then type a two-page report.“

“When I came to the nursing home, I got my first wheelchair—and the job of folding all the dinner napkins. I make cards for people with my typewriter art—only I don’t make the pictures any more. They have copy machines now. I just type the messages people want in the cards.

“You see, just because I can’t walk doesn’t mean God hasn’t given me a wonderful life.”

May the Lord always open my eyes and heart to see the beauty in everyone.

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By Lois Pecce. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines

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