Hi - strange request but I could use your help for a friend. She is my best friend from high school (Lori Fogarty). She has a son that was born one week before Tori (yes, we were pregnant at the same time - how fun is that?). Anywho, when Richard was born he was born with Poland's syndrome and without one of his hands and is missing the pectoral muscle on the same side. Richard is the strongest, most amazing child and kids in his class when he was in kindergarten would tuck their arms into their sleeves with only their elbow hanging out so they could "be more like Richard" because he was "so cool".
Richard is now 8 ½ and Neiman Marcus solicited children for their ideas for the Christmas Trees in the downtown Dallas windows of Neiman's. Richards tree was chosen and he got the chance to work with the designers at Neimans to build his tree. His idea was to build a tree of all the gifts that Scottish Rite Hospital has given to children he has met over the years (wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, crutches and the like). They were so impressed in working with him that Home and Garden Television (HGTV) recently did a story on the Neiman's trees and wanted to interview Richard for their story. So now . Neimans chose 6 trees and they were unveiled last week in downtown Dallas. They have opened up voting to the public for our favorite tree and well . here I am shamelessly asking you to go and vote for Richard because I know how deeply winning this would be for him. He has struggled with so many things that other little boys unknowingly take for granted and I have watched he and his family struggle and grow stronger over the years. Just last month Richard was told by one of his teachers that if she were his mother she wouldn't have bought him tie shoes she would buy him Velcro shoes as she watched him struggle to tie his shoes on the playground. He came home in tears. He and Lori worked for literally years to learn to tie his shoes so he could wear tie shoes like his brothers and his friends. I can't imagine how I would have reacted . but not Lori . She just told him that "well, Richard, this is why god gave you to me - because he knew I wouldn't sell you short. You can wear tie shoes and tie them just like all the other boys - and I am raising you to be a man and a man you are already becoming."
I want him to win this one and I want his mom to have this win for him (and for her too). I want her to have the first place award so she can beat that crappy teacher up with it. I want it for Lori because of the challenges she has faced with the schools and our community. I have a hard time writing and talking about him because of how deeply I have experienced this struggle from the outside and how deeply I love my friend and cannot begin to imagine the strength she has had to muster for things I know I have unknowingly taken for granted as a mother. Sorry for the diatribe but if you could help me by voting for Richards tree on the Neimans website (notice the prosthetic hands reaching to the sky he designed at the top ...). I'll keep you posted on the results. Below is a picture of his tree, of him (that Lori sent me), and of the link to vote. Vote Here!
Now, he had me at "hello" and I have already gone and voted. I'm not going to lie, he is kickin' boot-tay and probably doesn't even need your vote to win. But this is just so cool. I don't have children (although I do want them someday), and I could never begin to say that I understand a mother's love or the hopes and dreams of having a happy and healthy child. I am sure every mother wishes for perfection and dreams of a healthy baby with 10 fingers and 10 toes and everything else perfect in-between. And I also do not know this family and have no idea what his parents are like, but I would venture to think that they got much more than they could have ever hoped and dreamed for. I can only imagine that they are immensely proud....heart bursting with joy PROUD at the young man their child has become. What a blessing for us all! Merry Christmas!