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Waypoint Adventure

Updated: Jun 2, 2023


 

Thursday night, April 27th, I gave a speech at a fundraising event for Waypoint Adventure, an organization that runs adventure programs for the Disabled. I know: for those who have heard my voice recently, you are probably thinking, "Wait-- they asked you to speak?!" I mean, I thought the same thing, since I can't understand myself half the time. My new voice slurs every word. Full sentences often come out as nothing but varied and garbled, connected sounds, especially if I am fatigued, which is usually the case. The energy required for me to speak is exhausting.


After giving it some thought, and actually communicating via voice with Waypoint, they gave me the green light if I so chose. I decided to go for it. But I had other concerns. My disease has hyper-sensitized my body's reflexes and reaction to adrenaline; how would my body react? How would my arms and legs react, to say nothing of my voice?! And it would be difficult to rehearse how my "new" body would respond that night-- with a full audience and in the spotlight...


I was asked to speak about why making adventures accessible to everyone is important. Within a day or two of making the commitment, I had written my speech. I knew the message I wanted to convey, so it quickly became a matter of managing my delivery. Mostly, my fear was letting people down, including myself. About a week before the event, I gave it a run-through...


Well. I couldn't even get through the opening without breaking down in tears. I had some work to do.

 

To conserve my voice, I arrived shortly before 8:00, my scheduled time to speak. And I made sure I had plenty of support; my entourage consisted of family and several close friends from various stages of my life. When we pulled in, my entourage magically appeared to walk me in. (They walked. I drove my new portable electric wheelchair from CCALS!) We made our way up to the gymnasium at The Cotting School, a remarkable school for children with special needs.


A few minutes later, my good friend, Kevin Clark, introduced me, and I moved the joystick on my wheelchair to take center stage.



 

Thank you, Waypoint Adventure, for giving me this opportunity to be heard, the opportunity to "rise up" as my dear friend, Harry Clark, used to say. And thank you to all those, near and far, who were with me that night-- in person or in spirit: you give me the courage to show up, whether I feel like it or not-- that quiet beauty, the unseen magic that you all give to me. Every day. I am forever grateful.

 

STOP ASIAN HATE

BLACK LIVES MATTER



 

And Kevin Clark's gracious introduction of yours truly...




 

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6 comentarios


gplender
16 may 2023

How can we have any words after you have eloquently said them all...…..you are a gift that keeps on giving...…and we can only dream to be as strong as you Pete...…..thank you for sharing your truth and soul with us all...…..your journey is yours but you continue to invite us to ride with you...…for that and you , we are forever grateful. With much love, Gretchen

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din
11 may 2023

Gotta thank you for sharing how tough things often are. Sometimes we just hear the inspirational side of things, how folks with disabilities or illness are "fighting" and "beating" the illness. But we also need to hear about the loneliness--and will perhaps be inspired to pick up the phone, pick up the pen to write, tap out a text, or even come visit you in person (always the best!) Meantime, keep letting us know how you are. The good AND the bad. Love you.

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Martha Dutton
Martha Dutton
10 may 2023

I was so moved and proud of your perseverance! I KNOW how challenging this was for you, on many levels. I shared with friends, family and colleagues, of course. Honestly, you were a rock star! And super raw and honest and inspiring. I also know how much energy that took (again, on many levels). Cheers to you and to Waypoint! ~Martha D (CCALS)

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outspokin.olaf
09 may 2023

Pete, so sorry I didn't get back to you sooner...like you, no excuses. It is ALWAYS a treat to hear from but especially wonderful to HEAR from you. You have not changed a whit which makes you more majestic and powerful than ever! I sometimes think I'm having "problems" in life but I stop and remember you and your attitude and I quit bitchin' and get on with whatever I was doin'. DO NOT behave yourself; be you, my friend. Earl


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Kurt Begemann
Kurt Begemann
09 may 2023

Pete, You are a legend. I can tell you that you give me perspective, when I need it most. A reality check when I am lacking gratitude. I reason to be humble when I have taken the bait of a selfish world. Your attitude and smile are simply "truth", that life itself has value. Peace my friend. Always. Kurt.

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