My husband and I achieved one of our biggest and most difficult goals last month, all thanks to Teachers Pay Teachers (TpT).
You see we have been moving towards this day for just over two years. Andy and I applied for a grant to have our van converted to transport Andy’s power wheelchair. The grant saw us afford 60% of the conversions, yippee. The funny thing was we had to have a van in the first place to be eligible for the grant. This is where TpT saved the day and made our dreams come true.
I had been saving like a crazy woman for over 18 months to put funds towards our second-hand van which we purchased back in December. With the help of TpT and my wonderful customers, we did it! Then when our grant was approved, I was able to come up with the remaining 40% of money needed to convert the van. Converting a van doesn’t come cheaply. It’s a five figure sum! I set myself a goal and have achieved it.
For the nine weeks, our car was magically converted to a fully functioning disabled van. We have had no car for this period of time but this is of no consequence to us, we were very happy to wait. You see, for the past three years my husband hasn’t been able to get in any car and subsequently has been ‘stuck’ at home and in our local community.
Don’t get me wrong, we live in a beautiful place near the beach but when your daily events are limited over a long period of time, you kind of go crazy. Andy is such a positive person but as you can imagine, he became very frustrated. Not any more though. From today, we are free to visit family, go out to dinner, go to the movies, see friends, go to see the football and the list goes on. Basically, we both have a new sense of freedom.
Andy had a water ski racing accident back in May of 2000. He had been racing behind boats since he was ten in long distance races (this one was about 70 miles long) and on this day, he was invited to a special one-up (one skier behind the boat) event. Andy was two-thirds through the race and coming second when he fell. The boat was going more than 100 miles per hour (160km p/h) when he fell and somersaulted several times and fell still in the water. Andy didn’t know it then but he had dislocated his head from his neck (hang-man’s noose injury), cracked his skull, ripped all tendons and muscles from his right arm away from the spine and dislocated five vertebrae. His body stopped working for twenty minutes whilst the boat driver, observer and a paramedic holidaying on the river just where he fell resuscitated him. His lungs were full of water and his brain swelled.
You see, Andy was so very lucky that day, not only was there a paramedic nearby but a Careflight helicopter would get to him within half-an-hour of his fall. Unfortunately, one of Andy’s friends fell further back in the race and broke her pelvis. The helicopter was literally about to land when they got the call to despatch immediately to Andy down river. They were able to get his pulse back and put him on a machine to breathe. Andy was in an induced coma for two weeks but on the first night, we were told to say goodbye. The priest gave him his last rights and we all sat numb to the possibility of losing him. Andy survived that night and a further six months in hospital learning how to walk, talk eat and breathe again. The priest that gave Andy his last rights married us five years later. Andy left hospital walking slowly with a stick and moved on to lead a very normal life.
The past two years have been difficult for Andy. He has had several major operations in the past 13 years with three major stints in hospital. However this last one (May-June 2011) has been very challenging.
Andy’s spine is deteriorating further down and now his legs are ceasing to move. The muscles in Andy’s left hand and forearm are wasting and leave him with about 15% function of his once ‘good’ hand. He has been in his power wheelchair for almost two years now and each and every day is an achievement.
We all take the little things like putting jeans on, brushing our teeth, holding a cup or writing for granted. Many of these things Andy is challenged by and some he cannot do. Both Andy I see that we are actually fortunate in so many ways and we love life. We have this perspective because of the road we have been down. We are grateful for all the blessings that appear each and every day.
I am eternally grateful for TpT and the teachers who purchase my creations. We achieved our dream. I make my resources in hopes of helping others save time and energy. I understand what it means to be a busy teacher. However, the monetary reward has been a huge bonus for us and I am extremely thankful for all the good things that have come our way.
We dared to dream and our dreams have come true.
How has TpT helped you as a buyer or seller? TpT changes the life of children, teachers and parents from all around the world. I would love to read about how it has helped you.
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Emma, what a beautiful post! Thank you for sharing your story with us. You and Andy are just amazing and I wish you guys all the best.
Darlene Anne says
Emma, thank you so much for sharing your touching story. You and Andy will be in my prayers, and I hope you both enjoy every second of your new-found freedom.
Kathy Griffin says
Thank you for sharing your story with us. I'm so happy that you have achieved your dream. May you both continue to have many more together.
Wow, what a truly inspiring post. I love the positiveness that is spread throughout this post. How wonderful that in all of that you are so grateful for what you both have together today. Thanks for sharing with all of us.
Mrs Poultney says
Emma, you had me in tears, I am so happy for you and Andy to have your van. I love seeing photos of both of you out and about and I am so glad we got to meet up. I know that you and Andy have great things in your future and you deserve all the good things coming your way! Such a great achievement for you.
Best wishes always
Mrs Poultney's Ponderings
Alison Hislop says
Oh Emma, you had me in tears too – I love your positive outlook on this. I am so glad TpT was formed, you were able to benefit from it and use all your teaching knowledge in a different way. Blessings and prayers to you both. Alison x
Stefanie Galvin says
What a wonderful and positive post, Emma! Stories like yours remind me that people are capable of such wonderful outlooks on life. I'm so glad that TpT has helped you and Andy reach your goals – you both deserve all your achievements and dreams!
Miss Galvin Learns
monica schroeder says
Emma~ Thanks so much for sharing with us. TPT is more than just a store. Sometimes it is a life saver for so many. Not only do we help and inspire other teachers but we can make a positive impact on our lives and others because of TPT. Blessings to your beautiful family and all that work so hard to support the education community through our little virtual blog world!
The Schroeder Page
Emma, Thanks for the reminder about the important things in life! So glad your creativity & encouragement could help your family! Good luck to all! wendy firstname.lastname@example.org 1stgradefireworks
Aretha Edwards says
Emma, thank you for sharing you and Andy's story. It reminds us how important life is and how we should not take the little things or blessings for granted. May God continue to shine his blessings on you two.
Heather W says
Emma, I have tears in my eyes after reading your post! I knew you were working toward this van, but I didn't realize the full extent of Andy's condition and all that had happened. I'm so happy that you have met the goal you set! You are an amazing blogger, and one that I enjoy calling a friend. You are incredibly positive, and I'm so glad you and Andy can now enjoy more than just your local area. Thank you for sharing this inspirational story, and thank you for all of the time you have saved so many teachers through TpT! 🙂
Jennifer Reck says
Thank you for sharing your story. It touched me and helped me see the blessings I experience every day! I pray God continues to shower you with the love you have for each other!
Kourtney Payton says
Oh wow. What an amazing story!!
Just seeing this now through the TPT blog. What an incredible story. I'm so glad you were able to purchase the van. I'm sure your family is enjoying the freedom it brings!
First Grade Kate
oh goodness… Emma… not sure why that took my 'cut and paste' from an earlier post on my facebook and put it on my post here..LOL (above)… Anyway, I was trying to tell you what a wonderful story that was and how I had to remind myself to breathe as I got to the middle… You are a strong lady, and wow… your hubby has been through a lot. Thank you for sharing that. I hope TpT continues to bless your family. You deserve it. ~Molly
Mrs. Wathen says
God was watching over your husband that day and continues to hold you all up. Thank you for sharing your amazing story and for reminding us to be thankful for the little things we are able to do.
The Resourceful Apple
gwen jones says
Wow! Thank you for sharing. Your love and dedication is truly beautiful. Gwen