Corona Virus Quarantine Day #131: People Paying it Forward for Scooter: July 30, 2020:
I hate to quote Hamilton becauseI know it seems like I’m a little obsessed (and I am) but there is a song called “Who Lives, Who Dies” and since I’ve seen this film it’s been on my mind and in my heart.
The lyrics say the following:
“You have no control, who lives, who dies, who tells your story.
And when you are gone who remembers your name?
Who keeps your flame?
Who tells your story?”
This song always makes me cry.
Maybe I’m crazy…but I think about these kind of things. Bryan and I are always telling our own children and our bigger, slightly more grown, not biological children that in life you have to leave your mark. Maybe that’s why the Hamilton story appeals to me so much. Hamilton was a man trying to leave his mark on his country and those around him. His mark was left in a very permanent way, one that can be studied in history books and later made into a very successful Broadway musical.
We can’t all leave a mark like that one I suppose!
However, we should all try so that someone wants to tell our story.
It’s safe to say that the one encounter we may have with any given person could change their life (or vice versa)…and that’s pretty special!
This is why I try to do everything that I do with purpose. I believe I was created to be a mom, a wife, a daughter, sister, aunt, teacher and coach, mentor and friend. I don’t think there is anything else I was designed to do. These things are all engrained in all that I do. I’m not perfect in any of these roles, but it is in these roles that I hope that I am leaving my mark, on all those I interact with.
Last night I came across a post from a Facebook friend that also happened to be an athlete at KU. She posted about a man that was an academic advisor at the University while we both played our prospective sports there. Scott “Scooter” Ward (not sure I ever knew his actual first name until I saw this post) is a real life miracle. He’s a real life super hero. He is the kind of person who leaves his mark with everyone he encounters. This is a man that has had many challenges in life. A former athlete who was paralyzed from the waist down in a freak accident while in college. When he was first injured the doctors treating him gave him a very small chance of ever leading a full and active life…he beat those odds. He relearned how to do all the things and graduated from college and went on to get a masters and a doctorate. This accident wasn’t going to hold him back…from anything.
When I was a college athlete I can still remember the first time I met him. I think anytime you meet someone who is paralyzed or has suffered some catastrophic injury of this nature you want to know what happened. He was always pretty forthcoming with his story and when he spoke to our team about overcoming obstacles, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. How could we complain? We were able bodied, healthy young women with the entire world at our feet. I remember feeling incredibly empowered by him, but also incredibly sad; so sad that he was in a wheelchair.
But the more time I spent with him or encountered him the more I realized that he wasn’t sad. He didn’t complain…ever. He was always smiling. He was always happy. It was a beautiful lesson to all the young people he encountered on a daily basis that we should find joy in all that we do. Scooter has always been so good at that.
Again…inspiring. This is a man who knows how to leave his mark.
In October of 2016 Scooter had another pretty major setback. He had a major heart attack which required an emergency surgery that gave him a 30% chance of survival. Then while recovering from surgery he had another heart attack. Yet again, this man persevered against insane odds and recovered.
His latest obstacle requires a trip to Mayo Clinic, surgery and complicated care at a complicated time (hence the Go Fund Me). His doctors marvel at the fact that he may be the only person they know that leads a full and active life with a serious spinal cord injury, a heart that functions at about 15% capacity and a kidney disorder.
Why tell you all of this? You don’t know him…
But I’d argue, that not knowing him or ever meeting him doesn’t matter at all, his story can leave its mark on you regardless. This is a man that has every reason in the world to be mad, upset or grouchy and would be well with in his rights to want to give up.
For those of us that know him…there is NO WAY is that ever happening. He is a super star fighter, the most positive guy you may ever meet, selfless, kind, intelligent and funny.
Every student athlete that walked the hallways in Allen Fieldhouse and the surrounding buildings was touched by Scooter in some way. We didn’t all have the pleasure of having him as our academic advisor but we all had the pleasure of being in his presence.
His presence leaves a mark.
Last night, I found this post and a Go Fund Me page for Scooter set up by one of his friends. As you can imagine with all the issues Scooter has had his medical bills are incredible. The final piece to his medical issues involve him traveling to the Mayo Clinic where he will stay for an extended period of time away from his family and with limited visitors because of…you know…COVID.
He needs our prayers. He needs our help. This Go Fund Me page was at just over $1,000 when I saw it at 11 o’clock last night. Tonight as I write this, not even 24 hours later it’s at $76,333.
I cannot even type that and not cry. That’s incredible. You have to be a special person who leaves their mark everywhere they go to get that kind of response in less than 24 hours.
I know a lot of people that I know donated, many former KU athletes. I know people that have never met him, that just know me (you know who you are) and saw my post who donated. I can’t even tell you how much that means. Those are the people you know will show up whenever you need them. You are my people and I love you. Showing generosity to someone you have never met is pretty incredible and I wanted you to know I appreciate you…immensely.
I think it’s pretty clear that Scooter is a pretty special human being. As his friend says in his Go Fund Me post… “He is Superman. He literally changes people’s lives for the better every day with a body full of organs that have tried to quit on him. He is a selfless Superman.”
So that brings me to my original thought…Who is going to tell your story? What is that story going to look like?
I think we can all agree it’d be awesome if our story is an inspiring to others as Scooter’s is to everyone who reads it or knows him.
I think our world needs more Scooter’s, and more stories like this one right now. Less hate, less anger, less uncertainty…let’s just talk about an awesome person that motivates others to do an awesome thing and try to help in the way they can.
That’s the kind of awesome I want to celebrate.
A few highlights from our day…
This dog drives me insane…but she is cute.
Tennis lessons and the chance to collect the most balls in our shirt.
Tried to snag a picture of Fletcher (without him knowing) doing his karate kid move in the rain…all alone! Pretty awesome!
Fishing in the rain.