Jarrod's Soccer Dream
Organized by: Naoi Celeste
Jarrod is my 30 year old younger brother and he has cerebral palsy. He is my lifeline, my blood, my favorite person ever, and one of the most amazing people you will ever meet. Jarrod is unable to walk, and is confined to a motorized wheelchair. He also has some trouble with fine motor skills in his hands/arms, a slight speech impediment, and requires a lot of assistance with daily activities. Jarrod is also absolutely brilliant, and has a photographic memory that would make Kodak jealous. He's funny, witty, smart, positive, loving, caring, and truly inspiring. Jarrod is also a MASSIVE sports fan. I say sports fan, because he is extraordinarily knowledgeable in so many sports - his knowledge is too vast to call him a fan of one or two. He will watch any sport, though he obviously has his favorites and favorite teams and a wealth of knowledge that would make ESPN broadcasters jealous. I asked him awhile ago why he thought his passion for sports ran so deep. He said because I live through them - I imagine it's me scoring the goal, doing the touchdown dance, passing the ball - makes me feel like everyone else and I feel amazing. I replay those moments over and over in my mind.
Jarrod lives in Illinois with my parents, and visits me twice a year in Arizona. This is to give my wonderful parents a break, and to allow he and I to do things together and travel. He gets spoiled, as we go to as many games as we possibly can, and we do anything he wants to do within my power. He comes down to Arizona with his manual wheelchair. A manual wheelchair is a regular chair you push that folds, as I do not have an accessible van for his power wheelchair. The manual chair is not ideal, as it is very uncomfortable for him, but we make do and he never complains. I mention this, because I realized last visit that it would be necessary for me to buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle to allow him to bring down his power wheelchair from now on.
Getting to the point of this fundraiser... one of Jarrod's dreams has always been to play power soccer. Power soccer, is soccer played in power wheelchairs. It's pretty serious, there are national leagues, they even have a world cup. It's widely acknowledged as a very competitive sport. He views it as being a legitimate sport for people in power wheelchairs, and one that he is fully capable of not only playing, but being great at. He's quite the competitor and is a true athlete at heart. So, I found him a wonderful (and more importantly to him, a 'real') team here in Arizona to play on. We went, met with them, and he used a loaner chair to go to a couple of practices when he was here last Spring. They agreed to allow him to play with them during his visits and he could not be more elated. His fall season starts on September 3rd.
This fundraiser is to raise the funds for his power soccer wheelchair. There were two choices, get a guard for his existing wheelchair, or a special power soccer wheelchair. I bought the guard, but I've chosen to fundraise for this special chair instead of him using his 'everyday' power wheelchair. His daily power chair could get damaged and that expense would fall to my parents who could not afford to repair it. It would also increase wear and tear on his daily chair, and if it were broken (even temporarily) would drastically alter his way of life. I believe it's safer for him, and way more awesome by the way, for him to have a proper power soccer chair. He is fully committed to this sport, and I believe it's an amazing gift. Since I do not have a vehicle that can transport my brother in a power chair, I will need to buy one on my own - and it is extremely expensive, that is why I'm fundraising for this chair. The specific power soccer chair I want to get him is called a Strike Force Power Wheelchair (with soccer guard) and it starts at 7700 dollars (www.powersoccershop.com).
The other reason I'm fundraising is so that people hear just how awesome my little brother is - how proud I am of him, and can follow his joy as he gets to play a legitimate sport for the first time in his life - whether they can donate or not.
If you're able to help, please do, and if you are not, please just pass the word. :)
Thank you for taking the time to read his story.
** We are hoping to raise the funds and purchase his chair for the winter season, as he will be limited to practices only in the Fall.
*** Any overage of funds raised will go the purchasing of a vehicle with wheelchair lift.