Family Collage

Family Collage
Lots of Love in this Bunch!
*The compositions herein are not to be copied, reproduced, printed, published, posted, displayed, incorporated, stored in or scanned into a retrieval system or database, transmitted, broadcast, bartered or sold, in whole or in part without the prior express written permissions of the sole author Tory Williams. Unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited and is an infringement of National and International Copyright Laws.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Hardest Part Is Saying Goodbye!

Here in this world, there are many beautiful, wonderful, and sometimes terrible things that happen. Some experience more or less of each, but for TJ Atchison, he has witnessed more life changing events in his twenty-two years than most people will see in a lifetime.

His car accident last September was a walloping blow - leaving him paralyzed from the waist down and a feeling of uncertainty for what the future would hold (*chapter snippet from THC below).

Then in October, becoming the first participant in Geron's stem cell clinical trial made him hopeful that life would not be as difficult as he once thought. This trial had become a huge part of his life, but it was not going to consume him. TJ quickly realized that God had a bigger plan for his future, and he was not going to question another minute of another day.

The children and I were able to spend some time with TJ and his family this morning before he headed back to college. It was heartwarming to witness the love and support shown from his family and friends - his roomate, Kyle Dees carried box after box to the car and reassured TJ's parents that he would take the very best care of their son.

As you can see in the photo above, TJ is not allowing his circumstances to keep him from reaching his goals. He is more determined than ever to return to the University of South Alabama Nursing School in Mobile, Ala. and complete his nursing degree. And his mother, Anita could not be happier for her oldest son. For months, she has devoted every hour of each day to TJ, waiting on his every need and making sure his spirits remained high. Certainly this is a difficult time for her to let go, but she sees the excitement in his face and knows this transition of returning to college is exactly what her son needs.

For those of you who know TJ Atchison well, I'm sure you will agree that he is one of those kids who knocks it out of the park each time he's up to bat. He never gets down or frustrated with being young and disabled. Instead, he has turned this negative experience into something astounding - a true testament of TJ's faith in God!

It is his goal to be an inspiration to young and old, which as you can tell by the smiling faces above, my little ones think TJ Atchison hung the moon! For thousands of other young and disabled, TJ hopes to show it is possible to live a normal, productive life, and that their dreams can be fulfilled with a little patience and determination. He believes that it's how you react to life's surprises that determine if you can hit the ball out of the park or simply strike out.

I must admit that when I gave TJ that final hug and said goodbye, my heart sank and eyes filled with warm tears. Just as his mother feels, I too am overwhelmed with happiness and joy for this young man, but the selfish part of me hates the afternoon visits and weekend get togethers will be very hard to come by.

Although the toughest part is saying goodbye to those you care for, it gives me great comfort to know that TJ will be much happier in school with his friends and moving closer to earning his nursing degree. And because I want nothing but the best for this young man, I was able to give him a warm hug and say the words, "Goodbye, TJ!"

When we left, my son Conner tapped me on the shoulder and informed me that when he grew up, he wanted to be just like TJ. I smiled and said, "That would make me very proud, Conner!"

In closing, TJ and I would like to announce that the book proposal for The Human Candidate is currently on submission with editors from across the country. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers that in the coming weeks/months, we find the perfect match for his story and move closer to putting The Human Candidate on bookshelves across the world. Until next time, have a great one! Love, Tory