iWalk for Ryan

We met our friends Greg and Kelly in 1999, (maybe late 1998). Over the course of the next few years we spent a lot of time with them, watched them get married, helped them move into an apartment together, and did all the things that fast friends do.

But unfortunately, in this world where we are all too busy and time progresses so rapidly eventually we just didn’t spend as much time together. They were moving into a new home and beginning to raise a family, Netter was closing down her day care business and rejoining the work force because our girls were much older and always involved with school activities. You know how it goes...

We made sure we got to see Kelly and Greg as often as possible, meeting for the occasional dinner, drinks, night out and such, but as they began to have a family we were all just always busy.

Fortunately, we would still try and reconnect on occasion, but Netter and I never really got to know their kids - at least not then.

As Kelly and Greg’s kids have gotten older we have all tried to make sure we still spend some time together with our girls babysitting their boys. Still, we didn’t really know the boys. We always kept up with what they were doing, activities they were involved in, Facebook pics and the like, but we didn’t know them.  

We knew that Kelly and Greg’s younger son Ryan had been diagnosed with Autism so we started to ask a few questions, not prying, not getting in their business, but you know these are our friends, younger friends, don’t see them as often as we’d like to friends, but friends and we are concerned.

When we would get together and the girls would babysit at their house we always said hi to Greg and Kelly’s boys, but they were flirting with the girls, bargaining for bedtimes with their Mom - typical kid stuff. One evening their oldest son was being particularly flirty, so much so that I didn’t even notice that Ryan was not involved until a little tug came at my knee.

I looked down to see the brightest smile and a little boy with his arms outstretched for a hug.

“Wow!” I thought, and I kneeled down to give him a hug and ask him how he was, and what he was up to. Was he going to have fun that night with the girls, stuff like that.

… and I didn’t think anything of it - until...

The next time we all got together the whole scene repeated itself, and the next time, and again.

This little boy was making time for me, time to say hello, and give me a hug and heck I admit it I was hooked.

Ryan has my heart big time. I would do anything for him.

Autism has always been one of my hot button conditions. Why on earth God, (or whoever you believe in) could screw around with children with something like that is just beyond any comprehension. I’m not going to get up on my soapbox, but suffice to say finding a cure for Autism is a cause I fully support.

Remember, I run The MJB Foundation. We’re all about making sure kids experience the Joy of childhood, the Joy that all kids should experience. Anything that gets in the way of that is not alright with me.

So yesterday, on behalf of The MJB Foundation and our family we all attended Walk Now for Autism Speaks at The Ohio State University here in Columbus. Joining Ryan and his family and friends to support this cause was the very least we could do for this magical little boy.

I shot a video for The MJB Foundation blog. I thought I might share it here too. Here I will also confess that this is take 2. I got a little emotional in the first take. If you notice the gaps in this take, that’s me “controlling” the emotion.

If you can’t see the video click here.

If you’d like to join Ryan’s team please click here.



Kelly Syferd said...

Words are failing me at the moment as I have tears welling up in my eyes. Thank you for reminding me at incredibly lucky we are to have the support of family and friends around us.