Featured Young Athlete: Adventures with Henry by Beth Wisniewski

October 15, 2014

When Henry was born in April 2012, little did I realize the kind of adventures he would get me into!  We could tell early on that Henry would be a rough-housing, playing in the dirt, kind of boy.  

When we pick him up from day care, he is covered head to toe in dirt from playing outside.  A day is not complete if he doesn’t wrestle with Daddy. When he plays his drums (a real ¼ size kit) he plays them loud. Henry should be having all these adventures. But me? There is no chance I’m going to do something crazy like rappelling down the side of a building! I can’t even stand on a balcony without my legs feeling like Jell-O!  But when the opportunity came to rappel down Miller Park as a fundraiser for Special Olympics, I knew I had to try…I would do anything for Henry and for all the other children who benefit from Special Olympics Young Athletes.

I’ll share a little secret with you.  My husband, who I adore, wasn’t quite sure I’d have the courage to do the rappel (he knows how afraid I am of heights). He also wasn’t sure we’d be able to raise enough money. That was all the encouragement I needed.  I rappelled Over the Edge of Miller Park on July 19, 2014. What a fun experience! The instructors did a great job of walking me through the steps and making me feel comfortable and safe. Not only did I get to conquer my fear of heights, but I was able to raise a lot of money for Special Olympics. A local news channel featured Henry and I and as a result, I received more donations. Enough, in fact, to qualify for the rappel in August at Lambeau Field!  I already knew that rappel would be 40% higher than Miller Park, so when I qualified, my boots were shaking!  But, everyone in Green Bay was wonderful and I saw many familiar faces.   

We know how beneficial Young Athletes is. Our son was born with Down syndrome. Thankfully, everything I thought I knew about Down syndrome before Henry’s prenatal diagnosis was wrong. I feared people would shy away from him, because he is “different”. Young Athletes brings children with and without intellectual disabilities together. It does not matter that the kids are different ages with varying abilities, everyone learns new skills and helps each other. I feared people wouldn’t love him. Well, Henry gives and receives more love than anyone else I know, and there are no strangers when he is around. Along with his new friends, Henry works on physical things such as kicking, throwing and crawling as well as social skills such as listening and sharing. Young Athletes is a big reason why Henry is walking and climbing so well. 

Please consider donating time or money and make sure we can provide this program for years to come. Consider taking the Polar Plunge this winter! I will certainly be raising money next year to do the rappel again, but this time around I’m going to challenge my husband to participate with me!

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Inspire!

Join our mailing list to receive regular updates!