Panthers game SD-AV

On a crisp autumn morning, one of our team members Shelly and I got into the car before daybreak and headed east out of the mountains and into the Piedmont of North Carolina. The sun rose and the light illuminated the changing leaves, promising a perfect day for football.  A few weeks before, an Elder Law attorney had contacted me requesting that we put together and Assisted Vacation for one of his clients.

Danny, he noted, is a middle-aged gentleman who is affected by a life-long chronic illness. He is unable to walk, has limited use of his upper-body, and uses a tracheostomy ventilator to breath. He resides in a group-home and as his health is fading, he often talks about pursuing his dream of attending a professional football game of his favorite team, the Carolina Panthers.

We spent a few weeks working out the logistics of the trip, securing tickets and learning about what we needed to do to make Danny’s trip to the game safe and enjoyable. When Shelly and I arrived at the facility, the staff had Danny ready to go and he was wearing a Panthers sweatshirt and his geri-chair was draped in a teal blue Panthers blanket.

The drive down to Charlotte was roughly and hour and Danny was excited about the day. The wheelchair transport van that we had arraigned held all the supplies that we needed to keep Danny safe and we made a few stops to adjust his oxygen levels and to suction his tracheostomy. The handicap entrance to the stadium was not particularly accessible and our van had to stop a good quarter mile from the entrance. While it took a bit of doing to get Danny to the entrance gate, the Panthers stadium staff was very helpful in ushering us in and directing us to our seats.

Panthers game TD- AV

From our seats in one of the end zones, we had a perfect vantage point to see all the action of the game and Danny was perhaps the loudest fan as his Panthers slugged it out with the Chicago Bears. The game came down to the wire with numerous touchdowns. A late Panthers interception and score sealed the deal and they came through victorious. We attributed the win to Danny’s presence and he agreed!

On the ride home, Danny was beaming and recounting the excitement of the day. He let us know that the day had been one of the major highlights of his life and he couldn’t wait to tell the staff and his friends at his facility about every detail of the game and of the day. His attorney had met us at the game and gave Danny a jersey of his favorite player, Cam Newton, and Danny proudly donned the jersey as we made a grand entrance into his home.

After getting Danny settled in his room, Shelly and I headed back up the mountain towards the last rays of light in the west. While our day had been stressful at times ensuring that Danny was safe and challenging as most athletic stadiums are not set up for changing disabled adults, we were thrilled to have been able to help Danny in fulfilling one of his dreams.

My best,

Thomas


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