Starting a new nonprofit, going off to college, facing the fact that your child has hearing loss, facing the fact that your child needs hearing aids, going for cochlear implant surgery,learning sign language...so many choices in life. They all take courage. Franklin the turtle says in one of his books, "Being brave does not mean not being scared. It means you stand up and face your fears."
If ever someone lived up to this it was my hero Andy Neibler. He is the 12 year old pictured here in the black skull cap. He is walking with his dad; my two kids are right behind them. We are at the Brigg's and Al's run for Children's Hospital,wearing Andy's A Team shirts. Andy was diagnosed with brain cancer and had gone through much treatment. There he was, walking the 5K with all of us. In the end, he did get pushed in a makeshift chair/stroller,but he crossed that finish line.
Andy's cancer got a bit better,then much worse. There was only one treatment left at the end and he was going to go to Chicago to give it a shot. Two days prior,however, his body gave up. His heart and spirit never did. Even at the end, he was laughing and smiling up at us all. He is a hero to the end!
We all have fears and new challenges. I believe they are all as important-whether it is getting a new job, helping your child with hearing loss,starting a new company,or facing cancer. They all require you to dig deep and find strength you never knew you had. I challenge you today, at the one year anniversary of Andy's death, to dig deep. Find your inner strength and go make a difference in the world today!
Allison Schley has been in the field of deaf and hard of hearing education for 20 years. She founded a nonprofit for families with hearing loss. She most recently wrote a children's book, entitled Forever Friends. This book shows the how a deaf dog and deaf boy teach the world that all kids are good and being deaf is okay.