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Impressed by Phillip
Posted On 03/20/2013 04:18:02 by oppsgal
I was sitting here today thinking of all the people I have met in my lifetime, who have left a strong impression on me.  One such person was Phillip.  I first met Philip and his mother when I was the Aquatic Director for our local YMCA.  Phillip used to come in with is mother, she would sit down on the bleachers pool side as he would be doing laps in  the 25 meter swimming pool.  Phil was 22 years old and I was 37.  He a very bright,  happy and friendly man.  We would share some great conversations when he would visit.  He was a student at Ohio State University, after he had graduated from his High School with honors.  The most remarkable thing about Phillip was his attitude about life, his God, and his aspirations for greatness. Phillip wanted to be an attorney and eventually after 10 years his dream came true.  
So you may wonder why I would pick him as the most inspiring person I have ever met in my life.  Our contact with each other was limited to a few hours a day for 3 days a week, in the summertime lasting 4 years. not that long when you think that I am 65 years old and have met many interesting people.
I also admired his mom a lady of around 60 years old, Phil was a late in life baby, her 10th out of 10 children.
Her husband had passed away when Philip was 2 years old, His oldest sibling was 42 years old. That is a large family to raise for a single parent, she told me 8 of her children had college degrees, Phil would be number 9 only one daughter had not gotten her college education but was in the process along with Phillip at Ohio State
Phillip was born with Cerebral Palsy. His injury came when the man delivering him had been drinking and mishandled the delivery. Phil's physical condition was impaired.  She related  his story to me.  She told me of her family and his siblings not giving up on Phil.  Social workers and medical people had urged her to put Phil in to a nursing facility right after his birth.  But she and her husband had agreed they should bring Phil home and some how see to his care  His brothers and sisters pitched in right from the start, Philip at first needed around the clock care, and he had a nurse for a few hours each day.  The other children played a big part in his care. they would exercise his arm and legs, and take turns talking to him as he laid in bed.  As he got older they found ways to develop or change toys so Philip could have fun.  They took him for rides in his wagon, and strapped his feet on to their tricycle,  they taught him to hold a bat for a ball game by making a shield that they would put over him in his chair and when they threw the ball he would push the arm button on his chair and move forward and the ball would bounce off of the shield and another one of them  would run the bases with him.
You see Phil did not have any use of his legs, or his arms,they would spasm and wildly move around when he got excited,  his head jerked to the right in random movements, his facial muscles were contracted in a way that made his jaw jerk in sudden spasms, and his speech was so garbled it was difficult to understand him as he spoke ,   But after  few try's with words you could get the gist of what he was saying and then repeating it until he would laugh and say ess and ooo for yes and no. we laughed together cause I would tell him when he got to be a fancy wealthy attorney he would have to take me out to dinner just as friends as we could not get into a relationship because he was too young for me.  He was a cub scout, he was in the therapeutic riding program from the time he was 5 years old, had his own horse, which his siblings took care of for him by cleaning the barn and grooming.  but once more they did not allow him to just sit and watch he had his chores to do too.  They never let him get away with faking that he could not do certain tasks, and like all kids now and then he would try but they were wise to him.  Philip was home schooled by his mom who was a school teacher when he was born.  He also attended regular public school and with help from classmates he experienced being in the class room and some after school activities.  It took him a few years extra to graduate but he did so with honors grades.  He went off to college at OSU in Columbus Ohio, with special permission to live off campus with a full time aid who lived with him 24 hours a day. 
About 15 years after he went to school.  I was attending a seminar  and luncheon event in Columbus.  As I was walking down a long hall way coming in the opposite direction was a well dressed man in a wheel chair.  as I got closer it was Phil with a companion following closely behind him carrying a brief case.  I stopped him and said Phillip, and he looked up at me and said Yes?  I said I don't think you remember me. I told him my name and our connection.  His eyes lit up and he laughed his special laugh.  And with help from his aid we had a short conversation.  He was now a successful attorney in the city,  He had gotten through college not with honors but did graduate and go to law school.  He had done all the work himself in his classes a he had gained enough control of his hand and with two fingers he could type and use his computer. As time was pressing we only talked a few moments, but as we were saying our good byes his eyes twinkled and he said.  I still owe you a dinner.  That was Phillip, and I learned many things from him during those 3 summers.  

Tags: Swimming Collegecourage Bravery Parenting Success Admiration Familys


Viewing 1 - 5 out of 5 Comments

03/21/2013 15:07:39

What a touching story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. It does my heart good...

03/21/2013 08:29:48

I makes me wonder & cringe, to think of all the other people who had similar afflictions, what they could have accomplished in the world... what diseases they could have cured... If only the Doctors hadn't convinced (scare tacticted) the parents into giving up on the child and putting them away, out of sight & out of mind.

And, what a great school to teach the other children to learn compassion to join in with & learn from the disabled, instead of taunting & bullying.

I learned that lesson when I was a child and would go out of my way to be with kids who were shy & taunted by other kids, all through school and through high school. So I never understood why nor how people could be cruel to (to punish) someone who was struggling through life to start with. As a kid I felt... 'life is hard enough for that person, they need fun & they need it now & they need it more than the rest of do'. All through school I was a geek... a dreeb. I was invited to be with the cool kids, but I didn't like when they picked on kids because they didn't dress, wear their hair, choose activities, that were on the cool kids's list, and had disabilities (physical & scholastically). Someone sitting alone was the kid I sat with pulling my friends to do the same, so eventually there was a group of us nerds & dweebs, and power is in numbers. We had sooo much fun!!! To this day I miss high school.

Everybody, no matter what the affliction, needs & deserves the chance to fulfill their potential.

Even animals... I have rescued way tooo many animals that were literally "thrown away" to die... & they were the most extraordinary little personalities... Those people have no idea what they threw away. 

Everybody, no matter what the affliction, needs & deserves the chance to fulfill their potential. Hugs T P

03/21/2013 02:00:52

What a wonderful story, something to make us realise that sometimes our limitations to do certain things may not be all that great and if we really want something, we should go for it.

03/20/2013 14:04:48

What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful young; one who never gave in or gave up!

And "Ditto" on the former comment.

03/20/2013 09:55:59

......... Those who cant , do and some of those who can , dont ........

............... Go figure ...........

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