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3 – 2 – 1 – Ice Cream!

The count down starts on March 1st and continues until the grand re-opening. Tomorrow (April 1st) is an unofficial town holiday as our local favorite ice cream place opens for the season. Regardless of the weather, getting some ice cream at Swirls & Scoops on April Fool’s Day is a tradition for many locals. Yup, we will see you there:-)

Grafton Community Ice Skating Party

Lake Ripple is one of Eric’s favorite places in Grafton.  For years I’ve been meaning to get him out onto the frozen lake, but I never seemed to get around to it.  Part of the reason is because I’m paranoid about water.  Not for myself, but for Eric.  Putting a kid in a wheelchair on water is like attaching an anchor around his waist.  If anything bad happens it would be just about impossible to save him.  We took him out on a schooner last summer.  He loved it, but I was just glad to get him back on land!

Yesterday was the annual Grafton Community Ice skating Party on the lake.  Since it has been extremely cold recently, I thought this would be a good and safe time to take Eric out on the ice.  The biggest challenge was the rather big, steep hill we had to climb down to get onto the lake.  Aaron and I made it down OK, but halfway down I was thinking, this is really dumb, how will I ever get him back to the van!  But there was no turning back at that point… Luckily, there where plenty of people around and when I was ready to leave, I asked three strong guys who were hanging around the bonfire if they would help me out and they did.  I had Eric in his jogger, which made it easier.   Each one took a wheel and dragged him up the hill.  It was worth it though as Eric was so excited to go “on” Lake Ripple and he will be talking about this for days.

Here is a photo of the twins. Aaron calls that hat his “Fargo” hat!  Of course, Aaron has his video camera with him in order to get some “stock footage”.

Eric could not believe that he was out in the middle of the lake!

A nice bonfire provided by the Grafton Recreation Department.  OK, this fire did make me nervous.  Why doesn’t it burn through the ice?  I went over and asked one of the guys tending the fire and he said, “I have no idea!”  That was not very reassuring.  However, I knew that they did this bonfire thing every year, so I could only assume that we were safe… I tried googling it when we got home, but couldn’t find an answer. If anyone knows why it’s OK to light a fire on ice, please leave a comment.

Getting dark and cold!  Aaron warming up by the fire.

When you Wish Upon A Star

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Through the cooperation and generous donations of ThermoSpas, Priority Electric and the Starlight Children’s Foundation of New England, Eric — an 8 year-old second grader from Grafton, MA who suffers from cerebral palsy (CP) — had his wish granted just in time for summer.

The Starlight Children’s Foundation of New England is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for seriously ill children and their families. The Foundation grants wishes to children with chronic health problems and wanted to offer Eric, who has suffered from CP since he was born prematurely, the chance to make his dream come true.

When Starlight approached Eric and his family about granting his once-in-a- lifetime wish, Eric had a big decision to make. A huge Disney fan, Eric first mentioned that he would love the chance to hang out watching movies at the Disney Store for hours. Another wish idea he tossed around was to ride in an elevator in a tall building for a day. Yet, much to his parent’s relief, Eric — who is confined to a wheelchair – decided he really wanted the freedom and relaxation he got from a hotel hot tub, but in his own backyard.

bubblingover2After being contacted by the Starlight Children’s Foundation of New England about this bright, fun kid, ThermoSpas quickly decided to donate and install an Avalon Spa, which is big enough to fit the whole family, yet still fit in their backyard. It comes with 22 jets for therapy and an ice bucket and shelf for drinks. Priority Electric stepped in and donated the electrical hookup.

Eric calls his hot tub, appropriately enough, a “Cinderella Pool.” The name comes from his great fondness for the “stepsister-turned-princess.” Yet, the selection also shows the uncanny similarity between Eric and the fairy tale character who, through the kind granting of a wish, is able to see her dreams come true and her life change for the better.

Not only does a hot tub provide Eric with a chance to move and play freely on his own, but it also offers proven therapy. Eric’s doctor, Christopher Stille, MD of UMASS Memorial Health Care, says the benefits of hydrotherapy (water therapy) include:

  • Muscle relaxation, which can reduce muscle spasms in children with spastic CP
  • Decreased gravity, which increases breath control
  • Improved trunk control, balance and coordination
  • Increased mobility and range of motion for children who are wheelchair-bound
  • Increased strength and endurance

Eric lives with his parents, Cynthia and Richard, his twin brother Aaron, and his adopted brother Anthony. Aaron, like Eric, was born prematurely and has had some severe health problems including a now-removed tracheostomy. Eric’s brother Anthony also has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair.

Eric’s wish-come-true attracted quite a bit of local media coverage and was featured on The WB56 News and on the New England Cable News and in The Worcester Telegram & Gazette and The Grafton News.

bubblingover3Michelle Connolly Roberts

When You Wish Upon A Star

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ThermoSpas Helps Starlight Make A Sick Child’s Wish Come True

ericbandwThrough the cooperation and generous donations of ThermoSpas, Priority Electric and the Starlight Children’s Foundation of New England, Eric — an 8 year-old second grader from Grafton, MA who suffers from cerebral palsy (CP) — had his wish granted just in time for summer.

The Starlight Children’s Foundation of New England is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for seriously ill children and their families. The Foundation grants wishes to children with chronic health problems and wanted to offer Eric, who has suffered from CP since he was born prematurely, the chance to make his dream come true.

When Starlight approached Eric and his family about granting his once-in-a- lifetime wish, Eric had a big decision to make. A huge Disney fan, Eric first mentioned that he would love the chance to hang out watching movies at the Disney Store for hours. Another wish idea he tossed around was to ride in an elevator in a tall building for a day. Yet, much to his parent’s relief, Eric — who is confined to a wheelchair – decided he really wanted the freedom and relaxation he got from a hotel hot tub, but in his own backyard.

After being contacted by the Starlight Children’s Foundation of New England about this bright, fun kid, ThermoSpas quickly decided to donate and install an Avalon Spa, which is big enough to fit the whole family, yet still fit in their backyard. It comes with 22 jets for therapy and an ice bucket and shelf for drinks. Priority Electric stepped in and donated the electrical hookup.

Eric calls his hot tub, appropriately enough, a “Cinderella Pool.” The name comes from his great fondness for the “stepsister-turned-princess.” Yet, the selection also& shows the uncanny similarity between Eric and the fairy tale character who, through& the kind granting of a wish, is able to see her dreams come true and her life change for the better.

Not only does a hot tub provide Eric with a chance to move and play freely on his own, but it also offers proven therapy. Eric’s doctor, Christopher Stille, MD of UMASS Memorial Health Care, says the benefits of hydrotherapy (water therapy) include Muscle relaxation, which can reduce muscle spasms in children with spastic CP, Decreased gravity, which increases breath control, Improved trunk control, balance and coordination, Increased mobility and range of motion for children who are wheelchair-bound, Increased strength and endurance.

Eric lives with his parents, Cynthia and Richard, his twin brother Aaron, and his adopted brother Anthony. Aaron, like Eric, was born prematurely and has had some severe health problems including a now-removed tracheostomy. Eric’s brother Anthony also has cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair.