“A Day I Will Always Remember”
Our family was together today to share in Jackie’s first outing in 8.5 months. The only other time Jackie has been out of the hospital was for CAT scans and doctors visits. Today was a huge day for Jackie and we were so glad Lindsay was able to join us.
It all started with visits from a former Flyer and club ambassador, Todd Fedoruk. Jackie really enjoyed his visits and a connection between the two began. Todd was able to set up an outing for Jackie to watch a practice and meet some of the team. This sounded like a dream come true as not only Jackie but Jim and Lindsay are hard core Flyers fans. Jim’s Philly upbringing and love for the sport got the kids hooked. The question was, could it be arranged. With help from Magee staff, we were able to make it happen. Paula, Jackie’s Occupational Therapist would travel with us to not only help us but also to turn the outing into an extremely beneficial therapy session.
Before we left Magee Paula stopped by the room for an ADL session to help Jackie work though his morning routine of getting dressed and eating breakfast. Then Jackie headed to the gym and had his cast removed. This should be the last cast he needs. PTL Not long after he got back to his room, we packed up and arrived at the Flyers SkateZone in Voorhees, NJ a little before noon. We caught the last half hour of practice. We were able to stand right beside the ice on the opposite side of where the public was viewing the practice. Paula helped Jackie stand several times so he could really see the action on the ice. At one point a puck slammed the wall right where he was standing. I wasn’t sure how he would handle the noise and stimulation, but he was a champ and did great. Once the practice was over he was invited into the locker room. A rare occurrence and one that created memories to last a lifetime.
One by one many of the players came up to Jackie and spoke with him. Jackie did not say many words in response, but soaked in every word of encouragement that came his way. His favorite player, Wayne Simmonds spoke with Jackie for a while, then left the locker room and came back with a signed stick with a personalized note for Jackie. Steve Mason signed his practice stick and handed it over during his time with Jackie. Even Coach Berube and Assistant Coach Laperriere came in to say hi. I was moved by the sincerity and honest interest everyone had in making Jackie feel comfortable and good about the progress he has made so far.
I can honestly say I have now joined the ranks of the rest of the family and absolutely am one of the Flyers biggest fans. As for Jackie, the impact the trip had on him was immense. Not only was the trip good from a physically therapeutic perspective, but mentally it has lifted him to a positive place where he hasn’t been since the beginning of February. PTL When I asked him what he thought of the day he said it was, “a day I’ll always remember.”
When we got back to Magee Jackie had a late lunch and then we helped him get in bed for a much needed rest. Lindsay said her goodbyes and headed back to DC. The rest of the day went quickly with dinner, a shower and then bed.
For Jackie, I would equate today like a desperately needed water stop when running a marathon. It gave Jackie the boost he needed to push through more assisted stands than I have ever seen him do. Overall the outing fueled not only his body but his spirit with positive energy. PTL
A special thanks goes out to Magee for helping us make this happen and for the Philadelphia Flyers organization for creating a once in a lifetime opportunity for happiness and healing.
“You wouldn’t train for a marathon & then give up a mile before the finish line. Same goes with your life & dreams.”
Read more about our day: http://www.philly.com/philly/sports/flyers/20141112_Flyers_embrace_Bloomsburg_assault_victim_Jackie_Lithgow.html#WRR49HeJ7IsepXJF.99