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Monday, October 24, 2011

“The Spirit of America” If hands could only heal

Perhaps our countrymen and women have always been at their best when facing adversity. Sunday afternoon in downtown Conroe, Texas was a poignant example of this truth, where I had the privilege to witness much of the ten hour plus fundraiser organized for the International Rett Syndrome Foundation. This powerful event was called "SPENDING TIME ENDING RETT" and it’s amazing how many blogs this one day inspired, and I hope you will read along and experience this special time with me. I'll try to serve it in small bites!

It is a story about a father’s love, a town’s compassion, a terrible disease, and a mountain of American generosity. This is the first installment of sharing this heartwarming tradition, and a hearty salute to the Black family music legacy as well.

I think it is best to tell it as a blog, not as a journalist or public relations writer, and that way I can make a few confessions and observations, and just be real. Because this disease is very real, and the children suffering from it deserve real attention and real responses. And yet what I took away was so positive, to see this beautiful event, masterfully planned and executed, in the heart of Conroe’s historic downtown district, and it was a real encouragement to me; Visions of what we might attempt to do someday here in Navasota.

I came to this golden moment upon the invitation of a friend who had a “gig’ at this event, and like others involved, he was there to donate his time and talents to the victims of a rare disease called Retts. Like you I had never heard much about it, and probably would have assumed wrongly it was an abbreviation for Turrets Syndrome. Rett is a genetic disease that affects seemingly normal young girls, and cripples and kills them in a fairly short time, and the disease is barely understood and has no known cure. So I came totally unprepared for the lessons to be learned. Maybe that will make it easier for you, as you learn right along with me. Certainly what the people in Conroe have done is make fighting this disease easier for the families involved. Americans at their best.

The photo at the top is musician Kevin Black, one of the organizers of the event, and Santa cheering on one of the many young particiapents in this brave rally. Kevin lost his own daughter to this disease, and it is hard to look upon this photo without fighting back my emotions... wondering what he must be going through in his mind.

I came to help the leader of the Rett awareness stroll to record a parade around downtown, and that was an old friend of mine, Santa Claus himself, who brought instant smiles and joy throughout the event. Santa had many helpers, including Congressman Kevin Brady, hundreds of Conroe volunteers, and songwriters who entertained all afternoon. The photos here are a study of the children and the love a community has for them, as channeled through the warm touch of their friend from the North. Thank you Santa for a memorable time, and thank you for introducing me to so many of your stellar helpers.

There is much more; serendipity with singer songwriters, a community art project that raised thousands of dollars, and a Texas music family that refused to accept tragedy, and instead turned it into a multiple victory…

Soon. On the Navasota Current.

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