I heard that it was a beautiful sunny day in Columbus, Ohio on Sunday June 22nd 2008. I envision that people were outside enjoying the rays of sun. The local pool, you could hear laughter and splashing.
On this particular day, 3 teenage friends decided to leave the pool and go across the highway to their favorite sub shop. This is something they did all the time. I can see it now, they were probably laughing and talking about skateboarding and letting the sun dry them off after a dip in the pool. Good times were being had.
The two teenagers made it across the highway first and another following not too far behind. The first two teenagers made it to the other side. The third teenager was struck by a car going anywhere from 45-55 miles per hour. The man tried to swerve the boy, but, he couldn't.
That third teenager is named Harrison. Harrison was immediately taken to the hospital with multiple injuries. Some are too graphic to even know how to comprehend. What was once a sunny day, turned into a Hurricane of massive proportions.
I received an email from my prayer warrior friend Michelle. She put out a plea for Harrison's survival. Soon a website was dedicated just for him so that his amazing mother could update everyone. I fully believe that before Harrison even made it to the hospital, hundreds of people were on their knees praying for him. Soon, it would become thousands, and then, it would become hundreds of thousands.
Those first 72 hours in the hospital for Harrison were the most critical, and he suffered such a blow to the head and many broken parts of his body. I never stopped checking for an update. Somehow, this cutie-patootie skateboarder teenager and his mother entered my life and that of our families and I have never even met them. I have never been quite the same since that day. How strange that someone can affect you that much and you don't even know them. Maybe, it is because they show us hope. Colleen, his mother was on the same adoption boards that I was on. So, you kind of find out about people through there. Now we are cyber friends.
Word spread throughout the town like wildfire. An impromptu vigil was held for him at the hospital chapel. Harrison had to have part of his skull removed due to massive swelling. (did you know that they put that part of his skull in like a kangaroo pouch in his stomach, so that the skull would stay alive. The wonders of science). Harrison was in a coma for a long time....He suffered through pneumonia, through blood clots, through just about everything under the sun you could imagine.
Harrison has an amazing mother named Colleen. She taught me so much about finding the positive in the tragic. Here was a woman who didn't know day to day if her son would live or not. But, yet, she blogged everyday with updates. She had the gift of humor in her words. I was amazed and touched how she could be so strong to write like she does. God, I believe, was helping her write. She found something positive everyday.
The Hurricane has raged on and on for months. But, to God be His Glory, it has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm, to now Heavy Winds and the rate H is going, it will be total sunshine before you know it.
Harrison was transferred to Chicago where he is currently in rehab. This is the same boy, who could not move, nor talk, nor eat, may never walk, may never do lots of things. But as I sit here and read the latest journal entry...November 7th tears of absolute joy flow down my face. Colleen has again managed to find the Laughter through this Storm. I am inspired to be a better person because of this young man and because of his mother.
My father got so involved in reading about him everyday that we talked about him as if he was one of our relatives. My dad would write to encourage him. My dad is an amputee, cancer survivor, insulin dependent diabetic and heart trouble. He knew how to encourage Harrison. Even though Harrison can't read what has been written. His mother reads the entries from others every day to him. Colleen, will you read this to Harrison?
"Harrison, my dad is going to open heart surgery tomorrow and you know who has inspired him? You. That is how he knows he is going to make it. Because you are making it."
Just when you think you have it bad, someone is suffering somewhere else and so much worse. If they can find the laughter, so can you...
You are my hero Harrison and my children look at your picture every week. I am little concerned that my 5 and 8 year old girls have a huge crush on him :) But, I am happy he is their hero too.