When Cieran Kelso was 13 months old, he contracted meningitis, which resulted in having to have both of his legs amputated. But that didn’t stop him from swimming. To help Cieran swim, his father made Cieran prosthetic swim flippers. When he first watched the movie “Dolphin’s Tale,” he identified with Winter, a dolphin who lost her tail in a crab trap and was fitted with a prosthetic tail. It was his dream to one day swim with Winter.
On August 16, Cieran’s dream came true. He smiled as Winter performed tricks and frolicked around the large pool. In a recent interview, Cieran said he could have swam with her “for a million hours” if allowed, and “it was greater than great.” Besides her trainers and the actors from the film, Cieran is only the second person to have swum with her.
A quote from Dolphin’s Tale accurately describes how amazing they both are. “In this changing world, it’s harder than ever to find something extraordinary, but every once in a while a symbol of hope breaks through.” This Thoughtful Thursday is dedicated to both Cieran and Winter.
Kanye Ortiz, a nine-year-old who loves watching and playing football, did an unthinkable act of kindness for a stranger in early August. Kanye was given the opportunity to get a football signed by his favorite player of the Houston Texans, J.J Watt. Although he was excited to get the signature, Kanye saw a boy in a wheel chair that was having trouble getting to the field to get his ball signed. This boy was 15-year-old, Zuriel Sanchez, who suffers from spina bifida.
Kanye decided to do the right thing by giving his newly signed football to Zuriel. The 15-year-old boy was shocked by Kanye’s generosity. “If you do something nice for someone, it will help you later on, and it will help you later on in life,” said Kanye. This Thoughful Thursday, we applaud Kanye being a giving individual with a big heart.
Kyle Byrd, a five-year-old boy with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), had his wish granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of America to play baseball with the Arizona Diamondbacks. During Kyle’s visit to Phoenix Chase Field, he received a personalized baseball practice with some of the Diamondback players, a tour of the clubhouse and partook in a team picture before their batting practice. To top off this special day, he threw out the first pitch for the Diamondbacks against the Colorado Rockies!
Both Kyle and his sister Laura have SMA Type II. They are bound to their motorized wheelchairs, but are able to move with a range of upper-body motions and breathe on their own. Despite having SMA Type II, their eager and positive attitudes have helped keep them strong and enjoy each and every day.
Photo Credit: ESPN
This Thoughtful Thursday is dedicated to the Arizona Diamondback’s newest player, Kyle. American author H. Jackson Brown, Jr. once said, “Never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you were meant to do.” Kyle has proven that he will never let the odds keep him down. He is always ready to make his dreams come true.
Two weeks ago on Family Night at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, five-year-old Ryan Encinas ran down the football field to score the winning touchdown for the Cleveland Browns. When Ryan was just two years old, a tumor was discovered on his left lung. He spent six weeks in the hospital undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Thankfully, Ryan beat the cancer through the treatments and celebrated his cancer being in remission for two years on August 2nd.
The non-profit organization Littlest Heroes selected Ryan to be a Browns player that Saturday night. The football players and crowd of 24,131 people cheered him on as he ran 40 yards to complete the touchdown.
This Thoughtful Thursday, we honor Ryan for his bravery and showing us that no matter the situation, anyone can be a winner.
Jordan and Harper are two 11-year-old girls from Southlake, Texas who believe in giving back to their community. They may not be old enough to babysit, but that didn’t stop them from becoming “mother’s helpers.” They help watch children while the moms are home so that they can get household activities done while the kids are busy playing.
To these girls, payback is worth more than a paycheck. Rather than keeping the money earned, they donated the money to the Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
“It makes us feel really good inside,” said Jordan. “We’ve touched so many lives of children, and we know that we are making them happier and helping them heal.”
When their parents found out what the girls wanted to do with the money, they matched the amount the girls wanted to donate. The girls were able to present Cook Children’s Medical Center with a $500 donation.
This Thoughtful Thursday, we admire the efforts of Jordan and Harper for giving back to children in need. Thank you for being so generous at such a young age.
Prom, a night filled with bright lights, loud music and close friends, is an experience that many teens look forward to during the end of their high school journey. After Fred Scarf lost his friend Shiri to cancer when he was 15 years old, he decided to make sure he could help teens with life-threatening illnesses attend prom. It started out with 20 patients in 2006 and grew to annual proms in five cities. The growth of this special event in teens’ lives has been transformed into a nonprofit organization called No Worries Now. Since 2006, over 3,000 teenagers have attended these proms. The executive director of No Worries Now, Marta Belcher, talks about the experience that their unforgettable prom provides. “For teens who have been in and out of the hospital the opportunity to let go and dance and celebrate life is a really meaningful experience,” she said.
One teen that felt rejuvenated after attending one of these unforgettable proms was Cecilia “Cecy” Saravia. When Cecy was 14 years old, she was diagnosed with leukemia. When Cecy’s strength was wearing thin, her mother, Estella, found out about No Worries Now through the children’s hospital where Cecy was undergoing treatments. Once Cecy heard about the program, she felt energized, especially when there was a dress giveaway and she was able to choose from hundreds of donated designer dressers.
Cecy is now 18 years old and her cancer has been in remission for over a year. So far, she has attended three unforgettable proms. Each year she is motivated to attend because she can share her story and inspire others to beat their illnesses. Cecy is the definition of a survivor, as she recently graduated from high school this past June. This Thoughtful Thursday, we commend Fred and those teens fighting life-threatening illnesses as they pursue their dreams of attending an unforgettable prom.