- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Parallel Lines Meeting At Infinity: Extraordinary People Helping the Special Needs Community
A Story of Personal Healing For Alex and I
Geometry...remember when they told us parallel lines met at infinity? I hated that theorem. I felt like I was being told we were all parallel lines. It was as if to tell all of us we are on the journey of life by ourselves and are limited to who we can meet. I remember thinking how lonely that was and I wanted control over who I met. I wanted to make the choices of friends I made. Then it occurred to me one day in class, "How could anyone prove parallel lines were actually parallel unless they had been to infinity and if they had they weren't sending any messages back?". Therefore I always argued there were not parallel lines as we have no proof they meet at infinity or do not meet before then which would make them something else. I got an "F" in Geometry which I am quite proud of for sticking to my guns on that one. No one knows the future and if we are not careful we can miss the really awesome stuff right here and now. Life is secular and we are here together for a reason; intersection, colliding, and connecting. We just have to see those points of convergence and all the parallel lines fade away. We are not alone. No matter how awful things seem we are just a hands reach away from someone who understands us and who we understand. It just takes opening our hearts and minds to see it.
This is a true story about two families who converge in two encounters.
Captain Randy and Alex
This Story Begins with an Ending of a New Beginning.
This story begins with an ending of a new beginning.
My son, Alex,was born premature and has two very rare diseases one of which is know as mitochondrial cytopathy . The other is Landua Kleffner Syndrome (LKS) that is a form of autism which approximately 201 people have been diagnosed with since 1950. In order for Alex to get treatment we have to travel. The closest hospital that can help Alex is 200 miles North of us. This ends up being an eight hour drive round trip. It makes for a very long day. Luckily we heard about the Angel Flight program which gives free flights to low income medically complex children who need treatment far away. While I could write an article on every single one of these fantastic pilots as they are all extraordinary people volunteering their time and energies to make certain children get medical treatment, I had an extraordinary experience on one of our flights with Captain Randy.
United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation
- Home-The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation
The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation
Angel Flight South East
An Explanation of Parallel Lines
And in the Middle is When All the Parallel Lines Faded Away
The Middle Where the Parallel Lines Disappeared
Angel Flight pilots are such professionals I am in awe of them. Their love of the children they transport, their love of aviation and their professionalism is extraordinary. I believe it was our fifth and sixth flight when we were contacted by our pilot, Mr. Randy Blackwood. He must have made straight A's in school because he was super organized which gave me a great deal of confidence in flying with him. Honestly, I have had a great deal of confidence in all of the Angel Flight Pilots. We exchanged numbers, emails and had our communications squared away. We flew out of the fixed operating base and Mr. Blackwood, was extraordinarily kind to Alex and explained everything. We had a beautiful take off. I believe we were up about 8,000ft and that is when Mr. Blackwood told me that his daughter, Delaney. Delaney was prematurely born at the same hospital 10 days apart from Alex. Until that moment I thought I had always been alone with Alex in that NICU never knowing if he would survive for certain.
It hit me at 8,000 feet. The entire time I was living in another town with my son as a single Mom caring for her son in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I thought I was alone. I wasn't. Randy and his wife, Marci, were in the exact same unit with Delaney who had been born at 29 weeks and 2lbs 8oz. Mr. Blackwood became Randy in that moment as all NICU parents share a special bond. Randy explained that Delaney was expected to have significant health issues but he and his wife Marci were at peace with it because Delaney was their miracle as my son Alex was my mine. Being a NICU parent is another article that I will publish later but please know that there is not a parent who sees their child as anything but a beautiful blessing in a NICU unit. My son Alex was born at 33 weeks and was 4lbs and 12oz which was a line backer compared to Delaney. To think two families were standing in the same room caring for their NICU babies and yet not meeting. It is not uncommon because you are so focused on caring for your child. You do not want to get to know the other families because unfortunately, not all babies survive the NICU. But I wish I had raised my head while I was there and looked around to see Randy, Marci and Delaney. Every night I prayed for Alex but I also prayed for all the babies, parents, nurses and doctors who worked there. Little did I realize that I had families like Randy and Marci saying prayers for us too. It is a very humbling experience to realize you are not alone in anything you experience or feel. But this was an example of parallel lines meeting at infinity as I did not meet Randy, Marci or Delaney at the NICU. Alex was released after 28 days and had an excellent prognosis. No one in the state of Florida knew of his rare diseases as a matter of fact there was not even a billing code for Mitochondrial Disease therefore he was discharged without being diagnosed.
Delaney, Randy, and Marci had another month in the NICU, after we left, but they have a very strong church family which stepped in to help out with meals and their other children when needed. I am thrilled to report that Delaney is a happy healthy young woman who is entering a school for the performing arts next year. Those medical issues which were predicted never touched Delaney. Randy and Marci would be told another pregnancy would be too high risk so they adopted older children to complete their family of eight. After all that what does Randy with the loving support of his rock, Marci, do? He volunteers his time to fly children to medical facilities. I knew how much that family had been through. I have seen two lb babies born into NICU units. The prognosis is not very good and yet Randy and Marci have the strength and heart to still be charitable to those who have children with complex medical needs and disabilities? I looked at him and marveled because I am not certain I have that much to offer you my reader or the world.
So to all the wonderful people like Randy Blackwood and his family who do not have complex medical needs and disabilities but have the big beautiful gracious hearts to be able to love and accept children with complex medical needs and autism, you are extraordinary.
At 8,000 when Randy told me he, Marci and Delaney were in that NICU Unit it was exceptionally healing because the parallel lines faded and I realized we were all interconnected, connecting and sometimes even colliding. That is the goal for all of us to overcome adversity together. It took Randy Blackwood and the generosity of his family to show me that we are not all leading separate lives like parallel lines only meeting at infinity. We are meeting now; today. We are all connected and that those connections are meaningful and spiritual.
God Remaining Anonymous: Coincidence
Do You Believe our Lives Are All Intersecting or A Coincidence?
Beautiful Marci Blackwood with Her Daughter Delaney
The End A New Beginning
Since meeting Randy and hearing of Delaney, I had asked immediately to write and publish this intersection or coincidence. Not only is it an amazing tribute to The Blackwood Family who are by all measures incredible people but they also donate time to fly sick children who did not make it out of the NICU without significant health issues. That makes them incredible and superheroes to me.
But then there was the coincidence which Randy says it is God's way of remaining anonymous of us not intersecting once but twice. Whatever faith you have the universe is speaking to me and I am now listening. Since meeting them, I have been a little intimidated I would not be able to find the words to write about this incredible encounter and how healing it has been for both Alex and I. I hope the Blackwood's found it healing too but they are so busy giving I doubt they even stop to think of themselves.
As a parent of a child with special needs you can forget how many sensitive, accepting, fantastic people there are in the world who empathize with you because you have a very full schedule and the insensitive people taint you. I know I have become rather jaded and a bit withdrawn because of people being inappropriate towards my son. Meeting Randy Blackwood and hearing about their life in the NICU with Delaney changed all that for me. It started the healing process even though that Roller coaster ride both of families were on in the NICU, Alex and I have still never managed to get off.
None of us are alone, lost or unloved. We simply need to just lift our heads look around and we connect, healing, and have everything we could possibly ever want or need. This is what I am being taught by Shands Children's Hospital, Angel Flight South East, ALL the pilots of Angel Flight and Captain Randy Blackwell. Is it a coincidence, God remaining anonymous or the natural phenomena of parallel lines on a sphere? I will leave this for the reader to decide.
Thank you Shands, Angel Flight and The Blackwood Family foe being able to love and accept those with medical complexities and disabilities.
Four of the Six Children of Randy and Marci Blackwood
- Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week Part 3: Courageous Optimism & Gratitude
One parent's gratitude and optimism for her son who has Mitochondrial Disease.
- Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week 2015 Part 2; It Can't Just Be Autism?
When It Can't Just Be Autism, It Must Be Mitochondrial Disease.
- Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week 2015; Part 1
How You Can Participate in Mitochondrial Awareness Week And Make a Difference!
- Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week
Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week September 14th-21st.