Last week I attended one of my all-time favorite book events. It was at Gibson's Bookstore in Concord, New Hampshire. The bookseller was gracious, the crowd was huge, standing room only, and the Q&A part of the event was lively and fun. But the best part of this event for me, and the reason why I'm sure I'll tell my grandchildren about it someday, were the people who came from New England Handicapped Sports Association (NEHSA).
For those of you who've already read LEFT NEGLECTED, you know a little about NEHSA. You know that this is an organization of mostly volunteers, people who make it their mission to "bear witness to the triumph of the human spirit by helping people with disabilities and their families enrich their lives through adaptive sports." They help people who have traumatic brain injuries (like Sarah), who have amputations or MS or autism learn to ski or snowboard. They give people a sense of freedom, independence, confidence, and joy that transcends the experience on the mountain.
When I was doing research for LEFT NEGLECTED, I visited NEHSA at Mount Sunapee in NH. I met with Tom Kersey, the executive director there, and within a few minutes of talking with him, I knew I wanted to include NEHSA in my book. I knew I wanted them to help Sarah get back on the mountain and that NEHSA would help her imagine a new dream for her life. A new normal. And because of all the positive, life-changing gifts they give to people, I hoped my book would give them some great exposure---some readers would be people or know people who might benefit from the NEHSA experience. And maybe it would create opportunities for donations and raising funds.
Never did I imagine that NEHSA would be giving anything to me. So imagine my surprise when Tom Kersey and the volunteers and members of NEHSA presented me with an official NEHSA jacket and a snowboard! Sarah's snowboard--signed by everyone at NEHSA. I was so truly moved!
I now wear my jacket with great pride (and with great appreciation given all the snow we've been getting this winter!)--I'm so honored to be an official member of the NEHSA team.
Now to see if I'll ever get up the nerve to snowboard!