Weighty Matters

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Defeating Challenges

on January 12, 2013

Yesterday I watched wounded combat veterans play and swim with dolphins.  They came to the Keys for the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride, an adaptive cycling event that goes from Key Biscayne in Miami to Key West.  These men and women, while in service to our nation, incurred horrific injuries.  Some are obvious as they arrive in wheel chairs or with prosthetics taking the place of amputated limbs.  Traumatic brain injuries aren’t so visible.  Neither is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Whatever the injury, their challenges are far greater than most of us will ever experience.   It is amazing to watch these heroes forget about their injuries for a while, get  into the moment, and simply smile and laugh as they interact with the dolphins.

By comparison, my challenges seem small indeed.  In fact, there is no comparison.   Yes, I have an eating disorder but, in reality, the years I spent in relapse with the full blown eating associated with the disease, were a choice.

I’ve abused my body by making it carry so much excess weight.   Yet, right now the only daily result of that abuse is a knee that aches and is weaker than the other.   I’m so incredibly lucky.

I need to remember these men and women every day for so many reasons.  I want to think of them, and the warriors who are still in active duty deployed around the world.  I want to think of them and remember that they need my support with energy, with sharing what I’ve seen, with money when I can donate.  I pray that those who are hurt will recover and those who are serving will come home alive and unharmed.

I will take inspiration from those who face their physical challenges and live their lives in spite of having lost an arm, a leg, both legs, or even worse.  I will be grateful for every step I can take, each mile I walk or every hour that I dance in Zumba.

Thank you to all who serve.

For more information about the Wounded Warrior Project, please visit www.woundedwarriorproject.org.

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3 responses to “Defeating Challenges

  1. Cathy M says:

    It sounds like the event was a resounding success for everyone involved. There’s nothing like mentally stepping outside one’s own concerns and situation to put things in perspective. I’m glad that the vets were able to experience such a special moment with the dolphins.

    I’m curious as to whether the dolphins interact differently with people who have a disability as opposed to people without. Do they adjust their behavior if they perceive a difference in the person swimming with them as some other animals do?

    • Mary Stella says:

      Cathy, the dolphins don’t have a negative reaction to people with disabilities. However, we have seen them adjust their behavior to accommodate someone who has a physical challenge. They’re also usually very patient, giving extra time to someone who might need it.

  2. Skye says:

    How wonderful that these veterans were able to play and swim with the dolphins! I’m glad you were able to witness it and share. All who serve and have served deserve our thanks and our support.

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