Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Paralympics Chaplain on Radio 2

It still being the school holidays, I was listening to the Chris Evans Breakfast show on BBC Radio 2 this morning. At about 9.15 am, the programme includes a "Pause for Thought". At the time of the main Olympic Games, I observed that these slots had been given by chaplains accompanying Olympic athletes to the Games.

This morning, "Pause for Thought" was given by a London 2012 volunteer Paralympic chaplain, Stacy James. The full text is on the programme website here (you will need to scroll down) and below (as I expect that the text will not stay on the site.)  Do listen rather than read - go to the i-player here, find the programme for 29th August and move to 2:54:00 to catch Chris's introduction of Stacy and the brief, but very moving exchange at the end. I expect that it will only be available to listen for the next 7 days.
Helen (my mom) was uneasy all day. “Something’s wrong,” she said at dinner. When she got home at 8:30 pm, the phone rang. It was my college roommate. “Helen, Stacy was in a diving accident. She broke her neck.”

She arrived in the ER , I had tubes down my nose and throat, paralyzed from the neck down. She looked down at me, and all I could say was, “I’m sorry mom, please don’t be mad.”

“I’m not mad at you, honey; we’ll get through this,” she said, touching my face.

I spent the night in the ICU; my mom spent the night outside my door. The next day the doctors told my mom I would never walk again. She never told me.

“Imagine yourself running along the beach,” she said, sticking with me for a month in the hospital and three months in rehab. She learned to give me shots, medicine, and stretch my legs. She helped me re-enroll in college and accompanied me to class, taking notes, because my fingers were still paralyzed, and typed my papers at work. Two years later, I walked on crutches to graduate, my mom by my side. “We both shared a faith in God and, as time went by, in the belief that I would find a way to live a full life, a good life, a life full of purpose…”

In 1999, my mom walked with me as I wheeled to complete the New York City Marathon in 11 ½ hours. Today I am grateful to be a wheelchair athlete, Ms. Wheelchair Ohio 2002, a motivational speaker and an author. In 2004, I was accepted to be a volunteer chaplain for the Paralympics. Over the years, this role has taken us to Greece, Italy, and Canada, and we’ve looked forward to London. For every dream, I could count on my mom to be cheering. She never let my broken neck break my spirit.
As Stacy finished:

Chris Evans: Thank you so much. What a lovely testament to your mum.

Stacy: Oh, she's, she's wonderful, the greatest gift to me that God could have given.

Chris Evans: And you to her.

Stacy (rather hesitantly, if you listen): Oh, thanks.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

yes, heard this this morning and was moved to tears. will be attending 2 paralympic events on Sat 1st and am expecting to be humbled again... EC, Harrow