As I continue work to get up and running my dream -- MO Better Foundation, a nonprofit that honors the life and memories of some very important people in my life who are living with (or, sadly, those who lived with but have since passed away) physical disabilities -- I often leave my home office/spare bedroom and walk down the hall to and set up shop on my kitchen table.The table is one I built myself and has special meaning to me. It is my happy place and represents many great memories.
Fifteen years ago, I bought my house to give more space so my friends with Muscular Dystrophy -- my adopted family -- and I could hang out and watch TV, play video games, eat junk food, belch, cuss and just be guys. While my house is a ranch, we still needed a ramp to get in and out. I am not particularly "handy," but I was able to put together a pretty sturdy ramp that served us well for many years. Numerous trips were made up that ramp and into my house opening up the door to many great times.
As our world slowly started to change and with the passing of our buddy Benji in 2005, so did our group. We got bigger and smaller all at the same time. Over the next 12 years, we would welcome many more to the group, but sadly, we would lose 9 more of the guys -- they considered themselves brothers -- to this horrible disease called Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
Earlier this year, I reluctantly decided I would take down the ramp -- eight feet and 300+ pounds of solid lumber. I didn't take it down because I wanted to. I took it down because we just didn't need it. Where once the visits were every weekend, over time they have became less frequent as our group got smaller. Today, when anyone does come over, we use a portable ramp to get in the front door.
I kept the ramp. I couldn't find it in my heart to throw it away. Too many memories. So, I decided I would do something special and used it created a massive 8-foot table to remind us all of the great times we had. As part of the design, I added tire tracks, each representing all though who come to my home in chairs AND all of those we have lost over the years. I added my foot print to unite us all.
When I bought the home and built the ramp some 15 years ago, I had no idea what the future would bring. I had no idea the joy we would have sitting in the living room just hanging out. When I get stressed or when a wave of grief overcomes me, I sit down at the and them I look down at the wheelchair tire tracks and I can't help but smile.
The MO Better Foundation is inspired by all those who come up and down that ramp and those that currently sit around the new table. Our mantra has been "He Happy. Have Fun." With MO Better, we hope to do that by making grants to help purchase equipment -- a communication device, robotic arm or even a ramp -- to make the lives of kids and adults in Missouri a little more better.
If you are in a position to help, we can certainly use our a donation https://tinyurl.com/MOBETTER-DONATIONS .