Friday, February 26, 2016

Team Fredbird

Every so often on our Grace-Filled Journey, we have the chance to meet a celebrity. This time around, we got to meet one of Grace's favorite celebrities, Fredbird himself.

Grace LOVED getting to meet the St. Louis Cardinals mascot, Fredbird.
Thanks to a generous invitation from Raymond Grade School Principal Aaron Hopper, Kyle, Grace and I stopped at the school on our way home from physical therapy in Springfield last Friday. Former Major League Baseball player Al Hrabosky and the St. Louis Cardinals' mascot, Fredbird, would be at the school for a presentation called "Doin' It Right," about making good decisions like staying in school and not doing drugs.

We were honored they thought to invite Grace, and glad to be part of the festivities. To help her see a little better, we brought Grace in sitting in her Stingray medical stroller.  Sometimes, it helps her to sit up a little better than if she's sitting on one of our laps.

Grace and I snuggling during the presentation.
As Kyle and I were driving home from Springfield, he said to me, "you know, there's a chance the kids are going to be just as excited to see Grace as to meet Fredbird." And he was spot on.  Earlier this year, the elementary school students were part of a penny wars fundraiser for INAD research, so the kids already knew Grace and her story.  We found a seat close to the edge of the gym, and watched as the students filed in the gym. When Principal Hopper told them about Grace as their special guest, the gym just burst into cheers.  It was truly humbling to see how many lives that Grace continues to touch, and we are so grateful to be part of such an amazing community.

Grace really enjoyed the program with Fredbird.
It was soon time to start the program, and Hrabosky, who is one of the Cardinals' on-air broadcasters does a really great job getting the kids excited and involved in the program. Fredbird adds his own special touches and humor to the show, which really makes a big impact on the kids.  Grace definitely enjoyed all the music and just watching the kids.

One special student came over to us after the program and asked if he could meet Grace. His name was Jensen Masten, and for his birthday this year, instead of asking for presents for himself, he asked his friends to bring donations to the INAD study for Grace. It was his goal to raise $200, and he ended up with $344, which we sent directly to Washington University. I can't remember a single one of my birthdays when I ever did something so selfless, and Jensen is still in elementary school!  He and his family are such an inspiration to us.

Grace really enjoyed getting to meet Jensen Masten at the assembly.
After all the students filed out of the gym, we had a chance to meet Fredbird and Al Hrabosky.  Fredbird came over and really paid a lot of attention to Grace. He put his beak on her head and also played peek-a-boo with her. She was a little on the tired side since she had physical therapy that morning, but she still had enough smiles.  Kyle even shared our story with Mr. Hrabosky, who invited us to the media room the next time we visit Busch Stadium to see the Cardinals play. We had a chance to give him a gracelet, and can't wait to take Grace to visit him again this summer.

It was a lot of fun to meet Al Hrabosky too.
In addition to raising funding for INAD research, it's one of our goals to raise awareness for INAD all over the country. This presentation was a perfect chance to help raise more awareness, and a really fun opportunity for Grace to enjoy as well.  

Cheesin' for Fredbird.
Family photo op with Fredbird.
As lifelong Cardinals fans, we can't wait to "take Grace out to the ballgame" this summer and spend some time with our new friends.


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