2012 Articles and Pages

 
                           
We all have challenges
So, what is yours?

 

Chapter 1:  Is the Glass Half Empty or Half Full

We often understand a challenge only when a physical challenge is presented.  As long as we can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell, we feel normal.  Take away one sense and you take away a critical part of the being; at least we are often mislead to believe that .

We perceive our world as we see it.  We seldom stop to think that we must listen, smell, touch, and taste to perceive our world; this is because sometimes we only believe what we see

My goal is to paddle 65 miles (104 Kilometers) down the Peace River to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  My story is unique as many are.  At age 10, I was diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa; a progressive eye disorder that causes vision loss over time.  Of course, I had no idea how this particular condition would affect me because I was too young to understand it at the time.  For many years, I helped my grandfather who had the same condition and I never knew I was preparing to understand my own.  I arrived in the United States in 1980 at age 10 and shortly thereafter began experiencing night vision loss.    I was not aware that that this would start happening but my parents knew that something had been happening with me.  Doctors at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute told my parents that I had Retinitis Pigmentosa.  My parents had no idea what this condition was or what challenges it would create for me.  Due to their lack of knowledge, I had a very fruitful and productive life.  Sometimes parents knowing too much do more harm than good.  My parents allowed me to live a normal life even though I would eventually lose my sight. Again, never did I realize that life was preparing me to face even more challenges with my own daughter and Cystic Fibrosis.  Now I know that I must help her prepare for her challenges as I have prepared for mine.

 

Chapter 2: Doing what is necessary to find a cure

At age 33, I stopped driving.  I also began a new chapter of challenges which I never imagined.  My daughter was already a little over two years and we had been told she had Cystic Fibrosis.  I knew that I had to continue living and show her that life was filled with challenges and that we must face those challenges head on no matter what happens.  We were somewhat devastated and many thoughts came to our minds.  We wondered why this had happened but I knew it was the time to move on rather than dwell on the past.  I decided that finding a cure to Cystic Fibrosis would be one of my goals in life.  Since then, I have fought to try to help find a cure but I am not yet satisfied.  My goal is to continue fighting for my life and my daughter’s life as well.  The only way I can continue the fight is to let others know about the condition and to ask for as much help as possible in funding to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as long as I can. My daughter must live a full life of joy and happiness because there is no other way to live.   This is why I ask you to continue reading so that I can tell you what I am doing as a blind father with a desire to live and show others that life is only made difficult by our very thoughts.

 

Chapter 3:  We must try to accept all challenges

Just as I learned to face the challenges of life, my daughter is learning to do the same.  We face life with a big smile every day.  We continue living even though it seems as life has dealt us a blow.  We find ourselves very fortunate to have all that we have.  Best of all, we know that there is a wonderful community around us providing support and encouragement.  When we face life head on, we make a tremendous difference in those around us.

 

Chapter 4: What are we doing ?

In my efforts to raise more funds to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, I am planning a paddling trip which will take me 65 miles (104 Kilometers) to complete.  The 65 miles will take me about 5 days to complete.  I am looking for sponsors to help me get the many facets of this event completed. The uniqueness of this trip is one which I have pondered for some time; I am a blind man and father paddling down a river for a cause.

 

The goal is to start off 65 miles north of Arcadia, Florida; on the Peace River.  I will be paddling with my partner who will be my eyes.  I am considering paddling the first 28 miles alone with my partner and at least two others that have joined my group. 

 

Days 1 and 2:  Start off at Fort Mead US 98 Bridge – At Ft. Meade Recreational Park, one mile east of US 17 off of US 98;, 67 miles north of arcadia--Paddle about 5 hours starting in the early morning.  The reason for paddling five hours is because I want to ensure that I paddle the 67 miles I need for my goal since the bridge is 67 miles from my destination.  This will take me about 15 miles South of Fort Mead; leaving about 10 miles for Day 2. On day 2, we will paddle until we have paddled the remaining 10 miles (about four to five hours).  This will take us to Night 2, which will be the second night sleeping alone.

 

Day 3:  Paddle until we arrive at Zolfo Springs (Pioneer Park / Boat Ramp – From Wauchula, head south on US 17 to SR 64 in Zolfo Springs. Turn right (west) on SR 64 and look for park and boat ramp).) .  This ramp is located 37 miles north of Arcadia.  We will be met by a group of paddlers that will join us to continue our journey.  Hopefully, there will be a larger group to encourage us onward.

 

The paddling on this day will be for about five or six hours until we arrive at the bridge following the Zolfo Springs Bridge.  We will find a suitable camp site and remain there over night.

 

Day 4:   Pick up camp and move toward Gardner Boat Ramp (Gardner Boat Ramp – Take US 17 thirteen miles south of Zolfo Springs. Turn right on River Road, go 1.5 miles to boat ramp.).  At the Gardner ramp, we will pick up supplies, if needed, and spend about 1.5 hours there.  Hopefully, there will be a group to continue to encourage us onward.

 

We continue paddling for about another 2 hours until we reach the Brownville Park bridge (Brownville Park -- From Arcadia, take US 17 north approximately four miles to Brownville Street. Take a left (west) and proceed 1.5 miles to entrance.).  We camp out overnight right before the bridge.

 

Day 5:  There are about three more hours before we reach our destination; Canoe Safari located in Arcadia, Florida.  This is where we end our journey. 

 

It is my desire to make this trip a story of two parallels: (1) a father that wants to find a cure for his daughter; and (2) A man with no sight paddling a river filled with many species of wildlife. I have never had fear of the unknown nor have I ever had fear to face life head on.  MY friends and family know that I always do what I set my mind to and I accomplish my goals without hurting anyone. I humbly ask for sponsorship throughout my trip. The contributions will go directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The foundation has pledged to use at least 90 cents out of each dollar to fund research for a cure to Cystic Fibrosis.  I have pledged to raise as much awareness and funding for such research.   My hope is that you will consider that my plans are to show that anything is possible.  I also want to let our community know that becoming discouraged is completely normal since we are human beings.  Getting up and moving forward is what becomes the hardest to do.  Allow me to show you that life is full of beuty even when one can’t see the beauty.  Having no sight does not mean that there is no vision. Vision comes from deep within oneself when one has realized there is so much beauty in the world.  Having a condition is difficult and challenging.  Don’t we all have some type of challenge which we must battle with every day?

 
 
 
 
So, why will I paddle 65 miles (104 Kilometers)
The story of 65 Roses goes way back to 1965 when a desperate mother decided it was time to do something to raise awareness and funding for the foundation fighting for a cure.  The following story was placed here with permission from  the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and is the reason I will be paddling 65 miles on the Peace River.

 

The Story of 65 Roses®

65 Roses® is what some children with CF call their disease because the words are much easier for them to pronounce. Mary G. Weiss became a volunteer for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in 1965 after learning that her three little boys had CF. Her duty was to call every civic club, social and service organization seeking financial support for CF research. Mary's 4-year old son, Richard, listened closely to his mother as she made each call. After several calls, Richard came into the room and told his Mom, "I know what you are working for." Mary was dumbstruck because Richard did not know what she was doing, nor did he know that he had cystic fibrosis. With some trepidation, Mary posed the question, "What am I working for, Richard?" "You are working for 65 Roses," he answered so sweetly. Mary was speechless. She went over to him and tenderly pressed his body to hers. He could not see the tears running down Mary's cheeks as she stammered, "Yes Richard, I'm working for 65 Roses."

Since 1965, the term "65 Roses" has been used by children of all ages to describe their disease. But, making it easier to say, does not make CF any easier to live with. The "65 Roses" story has captured the hearts and emotions of all who have heard it. The rose, appropriately the ancient symbol of love, has become a symbol of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

"65 Roses® " is a registered trademark of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

 

 
 

 If you want to follow my journey, here are places you can visit:
Facebook:  www.facebook.com/PaddleForCF
Twitter: @paddleforcf
email: paddleforcf@gmail.com
 
Please make a domation of any amount.  The following button allows you to do just this and all the money goes directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation:
 
[ The Great Strides Button will be placed here]
In the meantime, please visit my page directly to make a donation of any amount.  You will be making a difference in the lives of many children with CF by supporting the foundation.
 
    http://www.cff.org/Great_Strides/MelisRoses2013
 
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